The UCLA Department of Music and the Committee on Fine Arts Productions present
Fridays and Saturdays, May 5, 6, 12 and 13, 1978 - 8:00 P.M.
Sunday, May 7, 1978 - 2:00 P.M.
Royce Hall, UCLA
Based on “La Vie de Bohème” by Henri Mürger
An Opera in Four Acts
Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica
Music by Giacomo Puccini
In their cold Parisian flat, Rodolfo and Marcello poke fun at their penniless existence. They have no money for food, rent, or even heat. Desperate, they decide to scrifice Rodolfo’s latest drama to their lifeless stove. Colline, another Bohemian enters discouraged but the spirits change when the fourth roommate, Schaunard, enters with money, wood and food. He has made some cash playing for an eccentric Englishman’s parrot and they all decide to celebrate by dining out. After a frief encounter with their landlord Benoit, they set off for the Café Momus leaving Rodolfo behind to finish an article he is writing. He is interrupted by a knock on the door. It is Mimi, a neighbor, whose candle has gone out. Before Rodolfo can relight it she faints. When she recovers Rodolfo lights her candle, but, as she is leaving it goes out again and his, too, is extinguished. In the dark room they search for her key which she dropped. Theird hands meet and drawn to each other their shared confidences turn to declarations of love. Together, they leave to join his friends at the Café.
Intermission of 10 minutes
Christmas Eve brings a crowd of merry-makers and hawkers to the Latin Quarter. Rodolfo buys Mimi a pink bonnet. Later she meets his friends in the Café Momus where they all order dinner. Their celebration is interrupted by the arrival of Marcello’s fickle girl friend Musetta, on the arm of her latest sugar-daddy Alcindoro. Seeing Marcello, Musetta manages to get rid of her elderly escort and is reunited with Marcello. They all go off together leaving Alcindoro with the bill.
Intermission of 30 minutes
(Please join us in the Royce Hall Quad for mid-opera refreshment and entertainment featuring desserts from Paris Pastry. Proceeds to go the music fraternities.)
Early one cold February morning near the gates of Paris, Mimi enters looking for Marcello who with Musetta is working in a tavern. When Marcello comes out, Mimi explains that Rodolfo’s intense jealousy is forcing them apart. She asks for Marcello’s help but their conversation is cut short when Rodolfo awakes and comes out. Hiding, Mimi overhears Rodolfo tell Marcello that he is certain Mimi is dying and, frustrated that he cannot provide for her, he feels she would be better off away from him. Mimi’s racking cough reveals her hiding place and she saws goodbye to Rodolfo. The two lovers cannot face a final separation, though, and as Marcello and Musetta quarrel bitterly in the background, Rodolfo and Mimi agree to stay together at least until spring.
Intermission for 10 minutes
Months later in the garrett, Rodolfo and Marcello pretend to work hiding their feelings toward their lost lovers. Schaunard and Colline enter with a meager meal of bread and fish. Dinner turns into chaos as the four joke and sing forgetting their poor existence. They are interrupted by Musetta and Mimi who is critically ill. Rodolfo and his friends try to make Mimi comfortable. Musetta sacrifices her earrings and Colline his winter coat to buy medicine and a muff for their dying friend. Left alone, the two lovers remember their short, bittersweet romance and renew their vows of love. The others return and, as Musetta prays, Mimi quietly dies leaving Rodolfo crying her name in grief. - John Hall
This production made possible through the generosity of Albert J. Cornhall.
Giacomo Puccini, who was termed by George Bernard Shaw in 1894 “more like the heir of Verdi than any of his rivals,” was born in Lucca, Italy on December 22, 1858. As the Puccini family had been filled with professional musicians for four generations, Giacomo was forced to study music, and eventually he became a church organist. At the age of seventeen, he attended his first performance of Aida, and was so impressed that he decided to become an operatic composer. Receiving a scholarship form Queen Margherita, he studied at the Milan Conservatory from 1880 to 1883. It was here that he wrote his first opera, the once-act Le Villi, which he submitted in a competition. Puccini did not win, but in 1884 the opera was produced successfully in Milan.
Puccini’s second opera, Edgar, was produced in 1889 but was not received as well. However, his third attempt, Manon Lescaunt, was a triumphant success when it premiered in 1893, and Puccini now became increasingly well-known. With the exception of La Rondine, the 1917 work which was actually an operetta, every Puccini work produced after 1893 remains popular today.
The libretto of La Bohème was written by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica, and based upon the 1854 novel Scènes de la Bohème by Henri Mürger. It had its premiere at the Teatro San Regio in Turin on February 1, 1896, and was conducted on the occasion by the theatre’s new permanent director, 28-year-old Arturo Toscanini. The opera was at first something of a failure, and its merits were not fully recognized until after its third presentation, which took place in Palermo later in the year.
In 1897 the Del Conti Opera Company, which had been appearing in Mexico City, was brought by L.E. Beyhmer and C. Modini to Los Angeles, and it was here that, on October 14 of that year, La Bohème had its performance in the United States.
In March 1977, La Bohème had the distinction of being the first opera ever to be telecast live from the Metropolitan over the Public Broadcasting System. The cast on that occasion included Luciano Pavarotti, Renatta Scotto, and Maralin Niska.
As its title implies, the opera deals with the “Bohemian” lifestyle. The principal characters are Parisian girls and their Bohemian lovers around 1830; the girls live with them until they leave them for others who can provide more luxurious living. However, La Bohème does not concern itself with questions of morality or social taboos, and the idea of marriage is never even suggested. It is, quite simply, a love story in the truest sense of the term. Unlike most operas, there is no human villain; the only enemies are illness and the poverty which causes it.
Notes by Robert Read
Perry Ross Fredgant
Paul P. Freddolino
Albert Anthony Gonzales
Frank B. Harris III
Cheryl Lynn Lackman
Paul J. Malamphy
Loren Elyse Roberts
Marcello, a painter
Robert Richerson (5, 7, 13)
Peter Atherton (6, 12)
Rodolfo, a poet
Fred Obrycki (5, 7, 13)
Ron Gonzales (6, 12)
Colline, a philosopher
James Harris White
Schaunard, a musician
Bill Mallory (5, 7, 13)
Gaylord Suddeth (6, 12)
Benoit, their landlord
Mimi, a seamstress
Aviva Rosenbloom (5, 7, 13)
Catherine Daggatt (6, 13)
Parpignol, a toy vendor
Alcindoro, a stateman
Musetta, a cabaret singer
Linda Schleg (5, 7, 13)
Linda Sandusky (6, 12)
A customs officer
Members of the California Boys’ Choir,
Doug Neslund, Director
Shirley Marcus *
Alexander Treger *
Sven Reher *
Peter Mercurio *
Darwin Scott, English Horn
Michael DuPree, English Horn
Aubrey Bouck *
Timpani and Percussion
Eric von Essen
* Faculty Member
Pastries served at intermission from:
Frederick Hammond *
Catherine Ypma (5)
Karen Fluvog (6, 7, 12, 13)
* Faculty Member
A special thanks to Susanna Watling and Melinda Leoncini for their help in arranging the intermission entertainment and refreshments.
Born in Kentucky, baritone Peter Atherton left that state for Juilliard School of Music where he received the Valentine Voice Scholarship. Currently a student of U.S.C., Peter was a regional winner in the 1978 San Francisco Opera Auditions and has been invited to the Merola Training Program.
Eugene Brundage was called in to assist our production when a singer cancelled at the last minute. Mr. Brundage has had wide experience in Los Angeles singing with Enterpe Opera, John Ford Opera and the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera.
A native of Long Beach, Cathi Daggett has had a busy year performing in The Student Prince with the Downey Symphony and The Magic Flute with the Los Angeles Guild Opera. This is her first performance at UCLA. this fall Cathi will participate in the San Diego Opera Training Program.
Hailing from Fresno, tenor Ron Gonzalez first studied voice there. Encouraged by his uncle, buffo bass Charlie Gonzales, he moved south and is making his operatic debut as Rodolfo.
Bill Mallory made his UCLA debut in Eugne Zador’s The Scarlet Mill and later performed in the UCLA Bicentennial production of South Pacific. Since that time he has appeared with San Bernardino Civic Light Opera, San Francisco Spring Opera and the Los Angeles Guild Opera.
Raised in San Francisco, Fred Obrycki received a scholarship to Juilliard School of Music where he studied for a year. Returning to the West Coast he graduated from The University of Judaism in Los Angeles. Currently a cantor, Mr. Obrycki won the Regional Finals of the San Francisco Auditions in 1977. This is his first operatic appearance.
Bob Richerson, a native of Oklahoma, has had a busy year in Los Angeles. He sang the title role in the Northridge production of Eugene Onegin, Guglielmo in UCLA’s Così fan tutte and Monostatos in the Los Angeles Guild Opera, The Magic Flute.
Aviva Rosenbloom is just completing her M.M. degree at Cal State Fullerton. A recent regional finalist in the 1978 San Francisco Opera Auditions, she won a prize in that competition. Miss Rosenbloom is making her UCLA Opera Theater debut as Mimi but combines her stage work with a career as cantor for Temple Adat Ari El.
Linda Sandusky received training at the Claremont Schools. Recently she was a member of the Los Angeles Guild Opera, The Magic Flute.
Linda Schleh received musical training at UCLA and Cal Arts in Valencia. She has done many concerts specializing in contemporary music and has toured nationally.
The 1978 Sinatra Award for Popular Vocalist is Gaylord Suddeth. Making a large break from the pop vocal field, Mr. Suddeth debuts as Schaunard in our produciton of La Bohème.
James White has concentrated on oratorio repertoire. He recently sang the role of Jesus in the St. John Passion by J.S. Bach. Colline is his first operatic role.
Scenic and Lighting Design
Allison Gail Bixby
California Boys’ Choir
F. Kelly James
Coaching and Repertoire
French and German Diction
Scenic and Lighting Design
Allison Gail Bixby
Assistant to Mr. Hall
Assistant to Mr. Sharp
Program and Publicity
Press and Publicity
Bette Barr-Glover and Gail Matsui
Group Ticket Sales
Vicki Max Brenner