IU Opera Jacobs School of Music; directed by Jeffrey Buchman; continues November 18 and 19, 8 p.m.
Breathtaking from every aspect, La Boheme at Indiana University Opera Theater is a microcosm of life, illuminating its minutest details and its overarching implications. The cast at the Nov. 12 performance at the Musical Arts Center at Indiana University vividly portrayed a poet, painter, philosopher, musician, seamstress, courtesan and other personalities in the world of 1850s Paris. Their personalities are seared into our consciousness via Giacomo Puccini's ethereal music and Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica's realistic libretto.
In recreating Tito Capobianco's original 2007 production concept and stage direction, Jeffrey Buchman retained and heightened the relationship between the four men, who live in poverty, yet remain ever optimistic and dedicated towards perfecting their craft. The level of acting goes beyond fine singing to amazing physicality - the cast pulls off seemingly spontaneous pranks, dances perfectly and fences with gusto.
How does one part with an overcoat - the only possession to pawn as an act of kindness? This one aria alone is worth the drive to Bloomington. But go as well to be amazed by C. David Higgins' set and costumes, Patrick Mero's lighting and the live orchestra under David Effron. Continues Nov. 18 and 19 with a different cast at each performance.