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Friday, Dec. 26, 2003


Enjoy La Boheme on the cheap

The good news: Opera fans will be treated to the Japan premiere of a rare version of the opera La Boheme in Tokyo in March. The better news: It won't cost you an arm and a leg to see it.

For the Toyota Community Concert on March 13, "La Boheme" of Ruggiero Leoncavallo will be presented in its original language. Japanese subtitles will be used.

Leoncavallo (1858-1919) was a contemporary of Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924), whose version of "La Boheme" is presented much more often.

Leoncavallo's version is truer to the original text -- "Scenes de la vie de Boheme" by Henri Murger (1822-61) -- than Puccini's version and its basic approach is based on realism.

Unlike Puccini's version, Leoncavallo's libretto has the poet Rodolfo and Mimi falling in love with each other from the first, and the painter Marcello and his former lover Musetta in bigger roles.

Takahiro Ito will direct the opera while Masahiro Ozaki will conduct the Philharmonic Ensemble Orchestra.

The key roles are taken by Hiroyuki Tsukada (Marcello), Shigeru Imai (Rodolfo), Yayoi Toriki (Musetta) and Shigeyo Tajima (Mimi).

The chorus will be provided by Ota Kumin Opera Gasshodan.

The Philharmonic Ensemble Orchestra -- an amateur orchestra -- has played at New York's Carnegie Hall, Vienna's Music Society Hall and Berlin Philharmonic Hall.

Tickets are 2,000 yen and 3,000 yen. To order, call (03) 5237-9966 (P code 154-975) or (0570) 02-9990.

The performance starts at 4 p.m. at Yuport Kan-i Hoken Hall, accessible from Kami Osaki Station on the Ikegami Line or JR Gotanda Station.

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