BU Today

Arts & Entertainment

Backstage at BU: The Popular Puccini

A five-part series on the year in drama

Click on the slide show above to hear about the making of La Bohème.

Boston University loves drama, from the moodiness of Anton Chekhov to the humor of George Bernard Shaw. The GRS Creative Writing Program’s elite playwriting program has produced some of today’s most successful young playwrights, such as Ronan Noone (GRS’01) and Melinda Lopez (GRS’00), and benefited from decades of partnership with BU’s Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, founded by Derek Walcott, Nobel Prize winning poet and a BU professor, and the Huntington Theatre Company, in residence at Boston University. The 25-year relationship between BU and the Huntington has given one of the country’s best professional companies a performance space and offered BU students an opportunity for hands-on experience.

This week BU Today looks at five shows produced at Boston University in 2006 and 2007, ranging from workshops at the College of Fine Arts to full-scale productions by the Huntington. Click here to see “Making Brendan: Ronan Noone on the Process and the Play,” and check back tomorrow for “Into the Cherry Orchard.”

The Popular Puccini: La Bohème — America’s Favorite Opera — at BU Theatre

Struggling artists fall in love, deal with tragedy, and sing their hearts out in the College of Fine Arts production of La Bohème. Set in the Latin Quarter of Paris in 1896, the well-loved opera follows the lives of a group of bohemian friends and their lovers through joys and hard times.

“There’s no moral — things just happen, and if they’re bad, that’s just life,” said Matthew Moore (CFA’07), who played the painter Marcello.

Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème is one of the most-performed operas in the country, second only to his Madame Butterfly. The hard-luck story inspired the award-winning 1996 Broadway musical Rent, and La Bohème ran successfully on Broadway in 2003.

In April, bohemians Mimì, Rodolfo, Musetta, and Marcello were brought to life by two casts of singers from the BU Opera Institute. Students from the school of theatre created and produced the set design, and school of music students formed the chamber orchestra. Each year the Opera Institute produces two operas, giving students the opportunity to perform onstage.

“We’re all young and artists and struggling to make it, so it’s become a very personal show,” said Kirsten Hoiseth (CFA’07), who sang the part of the femme fatale Mimì.

"The Popular Puccini" originally appeared on BU Today in April 2007.