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By Jasmine Crittenden
April 02, 2018

La Boheme on Sydney Harbour — Handa Opera

It's not just an opera, it's an extravaganza – with fireworks and falling snow.
By Jasmine Crittenden
April 02, 2018

La Boheme, as performed on Sydney Harbour, isn't just an opera — it's a spectacular. Gear up for fireworks, tumbling snowflakes, cartwheeling acrobats, fire carriers and balloon-borne children: all, of course, backdropped by dark, tranquil water and the far-off sails of the Opera House.

Written by Giaocomo Puccini and premiered in 1896 at Teatro Regio (the Theatre Royal) in Turin, Italy, La Boheme is one of the most popular operas ever written. This production transports the characters to 1960s Paris: a time of rebellion and revolution. The magnificent set turns the harbour foreshore into a dreamy streetscape of cobbled stones, lamplight and burning cars.

In the opening scenes, you'll meet Rodolfo, a poet, and his friend, Marcello, a painter. Determined to live for their art — at all costs — they burn their work for warmth during the harsh Parisian winters, rather than submit to 9-to-5 jobs. Complicating their passion-driven lives are their intense, tumultuous romantic relationships: Rodolfo's with Mimi, an idealistic, who spends her time embroidering flowers, and Marcello's with Musetta, a sassy, streetwise performer. If the story sounds familiar, you might recognise it from Rent, the rock musical, which is loosely based on La Boheme.

Should the ticket price scare you, here's a couple of tips: full-time students can score $45 tickets from the Sydney Opera House Box Office at 9am on the day of performance and, if you've never seen an opera before (whether you're a student or not), you can enter a ballot, which might give you a seat for just 20 bucks.

Image: Hamilton Lund

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