Sept. 10, 2007 — The University of Virginia’s McIntire Department of Music is showing a free, live broadcast of Washington National Opera’s edgy new production of Puccini’s "La Bohème" on Sunday, Sept. 23 at 2 p.m. U.Va. is one of 32 schools across the country presenting the live simulcast from the Opera House stage at The Kennedy Center in Washington. This event is anticipated to be the largest-ever simultaneous viewing of an opera in the world, with more than 45,000 expected viewers.
"We're thrilled and grateful that Washington National Opera has given us this opportunity to share its production of 'La Bohème' with U.Va. students and the Charlottesville community," said Bruce Holsinger, music department chairman. "The simulcast is a provocative idea, and I hope the event as a whole sets a precedent for future musical collaborations of this sort."
“What a wonderful way to draw younger audiences to opera with this innovative new production of 'La Bohème' from Polish director Mariusz Treliński,” said Plácido Domingo, general director of Washington National Opera. “We are so happy to present this simulcast free not only to our school partners across the country, but also to anyone in the Washington, D.C. region who wants a taste of top quality opera – for free – at the Washington Monument on the National Mall.”
Prior to the simulcast, WNO will share educational materials with the schools on three topics. One area of discussion is "Bohéme: How It Transcends Medium." This will examine the evolution of the work from book to opera, musical theatre ("Rent" and Baz Lurhman’s recent Broadway production) and film. Special focus will be paid to Trelinski’s approach to his new contemporary production for WNO. Second is “Where are the Bohemians?,” an examination of the social issues that arise in the work and how they remain relevant to audiences over time. This will help make the themes of opera more personal to audiences. Third is the "Opera Forum" with WNO’s young artists, directors and conductors on the practical needs of developing a professional opera career. An online message board gives students around the country a place to pose questions or get information from WNO staff and key educators at participating institutions.
“With this initiative, Washington National Opera dramatically expands our pledge to bring opera to the nation and the next generation,” said Kenneth Feinberg, president of Washington National Opera. “We are excited to use simulcast technology to give the gift of opera to the American public in a way that has never been done before.”
Trelinski’s "La Bohème," from Teatr Wielki National Opera Warsaw, is a fitting modern-day take on the timeless opera. Set in the present day, Rodolfo is a photographer and part of a contemporary group of artists searching for their identity and longing for a deeper and more profound connection with society. The opera is a human drama of loss and love, as the characters struggle with their careers and to truly connect with each other in a world that is increasingly connected technologically. As such, the opera’s theme will resonate with younger audiences.
LOCATION AND TICKET INFORMATION
LIVE BROADCAST OF WASHINGTON NATIONAL OPERA’S LA BOHÈME Sunday, Sept. 23, 2 p.m.
Darden School of Business’ Abbot Center, 120 Darden Blvd
Free tickets available at the door, or may be reserved in advance by calling (434) 924-6492
About Washington National Opera
Washington National Opera was at the forefront of simulcast technology with its broadcasts of "Porgy and Bess" in 2005 and "Madama Butterfly" in November 2006, both on the National Mall. Simulcasts are just one aspect of Washington National Opera’s commitment to make opera available to a wider, more diverse audience. New initiatives include a partnership with XM Radio to broadcast Washington National Opera performances; a “Welcome to Opera” concert of opera highlights on Oct. 5, conducted by Plácido Domingo; the "Family Look-in" on Nov. 10 featuring Mozart’s Don Giovanni, also conducted by Plácido Domingo; and a holiday opera, "Hansel and Gretel," which begins a new partnership with Washington’s historic Lincoln Theatre and features critically acclaimed director David Gately and current and former artists from the prestigious Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program.
Washington National Opera has for years been a leader in presenting programs to new audiences. Its Center for Education and Training provides a wide array of activities to serve audiences locally and nationally. The Education and Community Programs have reached hundreds of thousands of children and their families in nearly 20 years of in-depth school and library partnerships, summer programs and family performances. Some of its acclaimed programs include "Opera Look-In" for elementary schools, the "Student Dress Rehearsal" for high school students and the "Opera Insights" series for all audiences. The Plácido Domingo Intern-Apprentice Program prepares the next generation of opera professionals, from those who work in tech and costumes behind the scenes, to those who work in administrative capacities.
In addition, Washington National Opera’s "Generation O" program targets young audiences aged 18-35, providing affordable ticket prices and programming specifically for the new generation of opera-goers. Generation O members are actively engaged in watching, discussing and participating in Washington National Opera performances and events.
Visit www.dc-opera.org for more ways to get involved in the exciting world of opera.