Transcendent tragedian Maria Agresta

Mar 21, 2019 282

With a candle in hand, a poor seamstress searching for a light enters the life of a poet in 19th century Paris. They fall in love, they spar, they reconcile, and finally they mourn a shared flame extinguished far too soon. It’s beautiful. It’s heartbreaking. It’s quintessential opera.

Giacomo Puccini’s “La bohème,” which first premiered in 1896, initially received tepid reviews. But the critics didn’t do much to halt the opera’s meteoric rise, and more than a century after its debut, it has emerged as one of the most popular operas of all time worldwide. Featuring a score and story line that pierces the heart and consistently captivates audiences, it’s a grab-the-Kleenex, gut-punch love story whose music permeates pop culture to this day and whose core DNA can be found in countless reincarnations, including the Broadway musical “Rent.”

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