Behind the Scenes at La Bohème

Uploaded by RockefellerArtsCntr on 09.11.2009

It's just a massive scene of traffic andenjoyment and lots of fun.
It's really quite a production.
It is actually one of my favorite operas. I really enjoy it.
It broadens you intellectually, and it speaks to what a college education is all about.
And why were' going though all the struggles were' going through, to get a degree.
This is Jefferson Westwood and I'm here in the Robert W. Marvel Theatre
during the load in of the Hillman Opera "La Boheme."
That's the name of this year's production.
And by load-in, that means this is the time period in which the technicians get to bring in
all the scenery and lighitng and technical equipment, and get it set up before the actors
and singers and musicians all arrive to start their rehearsals on the stage.
They of course have been rehearsing
duing the last several weeks in rehearsal halls on campus, and in a few minutes we will
be talking with some of the people involved in this year's production.
It's set in Paris, in the Latin Quarter, in 1938 and one of the young men just happens to be writing
in his room all by himself, and a young seamstress comes in the room, her name is Mimi and they instantly
get attracted to each other and fall in love.
And by the end of the first act they're ready to go out on a date. They go out.
It's Christmas Eve, they go out to the Latin Quarter, have a great time, and enjoy themselves.
But it turns out that Mimi has what they called consumption back then,
which is is tuberculosis. In the third act
Mimi comes to break up with Rudolfo. They're going to break up -- but then they decide to
perhaps wait until the spring comes to just give it a little more time.
And then, finally in the fourth act, Mimi, after having lived apart from Rudolfo for while,
comes back to finally visit him one more time,
and she dies -- dies of consumption -- and it's pretty heart-rending.
We're here with David Ramsey the from Tri-Cities Opera. David, where did this set come from?
Tri-Cities Opera is in Binghamton,
and this is our "La Boheme" set.
All the sets that we make have to fit in a 53-three foot truck,
so that we can transport them to our own theater and to other theaters around the country.
And and how many places has this set been, before it came here?
Oh, I couldn't tell you. It's been traveling around the country for about 20 years now.
And it goes somewhere at least once a year.
And I think had this set here once, many years ago, over twenty years ago I think it
was here for a previous show. Several people seem to recognize it and remember it.
But we have 23 sets in our inventory.
And after we do them, we send them out. We make them available for other schools
and opera companies all around the country.
Well, this is a fairly hectic; this is one of the larger productions that we
done here in in years.
"La Boheme" is a huge set to begin with.
And this is actually a rebuilt version
of the set that was done here in 1991.
That set deteriorated and this set
replaced it in about 1998 or so.
So this is, what? A ten year old set?
An 11-year old set? And you can tell that it's been on the road a while.
It's deteriorated in some places.
But the good thing is that all the bolt holes line up.
And it's pretty convenient to put things together.
There's just in awful lot of it though, and as large as this stage is,
even larger than the home theater that this set was built for,
it's going to be a real adventure in logistics
the figure out how to store everything.
O.K. - the show's conductor, Dr. David Rudge,
has just come out of the evening rehearsal.
David, can you tell us a little bit about "La Boheme?"
Well, it's one of our of biggest productions we've done here.
It calls for of not only a full cast of of really mature voices, but a big chorus, a children's chrous,
a marching band on stage and
an extended orchestra. We've made a bigger pit in Marvel Theatre,
to include the College Symphony.
And it's really quite of production, actually.
What are yout liking best about this particular show?
I guess that Pucinni wrote it. I love that music
and the complexity and richness of it, emotionally.
Well, thank you for spending a few minutes with us.
How are you feeling about everything?
I think it's going to be a really good show. The singers and the orchestra are really
getting really ready for this.
Rehearsals have been wonderful. They're fun, but they're very challenging at the same time.
We all work really well together as a team, both the cast and the directors and everybody
works together very well, and it's been a lot of fun.
Everything: the orchestrations and everybody, and the music, and the scenery
is really wonderful.
And I think everyone will really enjoy the second scene with the full chorus
and the children's chorus and I think that will be really fun. And it's a very interesting show becasue
it has so many ups and downs -- With the first act being so wonderful, and the the fourth act
being so tragic and sad.
It's a very good production. I'm really happy with the stage direction.
And the musical direction is really fine as well.
The cast is performing excellently.
So I'm really excited.
On the campus of SUNY Fredonia