Opera San Jose presents Giacomo Puccini’s La Boheme…….a delicious melodic bon bon.
There is no remedy for love but to love more.

Puccini’s La Boheme is a soap opera made sublime. The melodies are unforgettable and the heartbreaking story of consumptive Mimi (Jasmina Halimic) who stumbles into Rudolfo’s (Alexander Boyer) garret flat, loses her key and falls in love will melt the most cynical heart. The voices in this production are so marvelous that you will not dwell on the paper thin plot because all you want to do is hear these talented young stars sing some more. This production was directed by the very talented Timothy Near, former founder and artistic Director of San Jose Repertory Theatre and she does an excellent job of keeping this story real. “La Boheme is an opera for all time, because it tells a youthful tale to which we can all relate. We recognize and love these four crazy young artists and their eccentric girlfriends," says Near. "The recitative is short and energetic and sounds just like people talk; there are great tunes that are loaded with emotional messages and repeated so often we leave the theatre singing. Puccini's music reminds me of the Beatles: they are so emotionally complex you never get tired of them and so catchy you can't escape them. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to remount this beloved Opera San José production, creating the bohemian world of Paris in 1840 with all its colorful eccentricity and youthful passion."

And indeed along with Kim A. Tolman’s imaginative set designs and Kent Dorsey’s lovely lighting effects, Near immerses the audience in the frothy, exciting and artistic world of Gay Paree. But she does a great deal more than most directors to make this a believable drama. She keeps the pace just right and her singers sing to each other, not to the audience. Halimic is the first Mimi I have seen who really looks sick. Alexander Boyer’s Rudolpho is right there as the frustrated lover who knows his beloved Mimi is dying but loves her too much to tell her. His voice is superb and his acting memorable. No one can resist Tolef Borsting as the artistic Marcello and Sandra Bengochea as the feisty , irrepressible Musetta. She is outrageous and adorable as every Musetta must be and has been since the opera was first presented in 1896. The cast is young enough for us to really believe they could love one another but the show stealer was Schaunard (Daniel Cilli) who to combine truly excellent acting (never a priority in an opera) with a thrilling voice. He is a true Bohemian with every gesture and every note he sings. His interaction with the others is just right and his comic timing perfect.

“La Boheme is an opera for all time because it tells a youthful tale to which we can all relate. We adore the characters and want to be friends with them,” says Near.

Indeed, this production will move the most cynical among us. It is a must see if you love opera and are into romance…and who of us is not?

La Boheme CONTINUES THROUGH May 8 in San Jose’s magnificent California Theater. For tickets and information 408 437 4450 or