“La Boheme” is the opera for those of us who are terrified of operas.
It’s got the hot buttons of seasonal romance: young lovers, Christmas Eve, Paris. Its endearing plot has kept it among the top five most performed operas in the world. It even spawned a derivative Broadway musical, “Rent” that won four Tonys and a makeover into a 1996 hit film.
“Boheme” also conjures up the charming version of a younger us in our prime as footloose, financially strapped artistes. Remember those years when we played the float on our checks, evaded the landlord and sleuthed out events with free food?
Most important, it has music so rich no hot fudge or caramel sauce are needed. Every soprano alive has “Quando me’n vo’,” the second act show-stopper, in her repertoire. Among the tributes is a 1959 Top Forty hit song (“Don’t You Know,” sung by Della Reese) and a Dave Burrell jazz album that riffs all its motifs.