Season Grand Finale Opera • “La Bohème”
Saturday, April 27, 2019
7:30 p.m. • Thalia Mara Hall • Jackson, MS
It inspired the Broadway hit “RENT” and brought Cher to tears in “Moonstruck.” Now, the MS Opera is preparing to bring the Thalia Mara Hall audience to its feet in its April 27th presentation of Puccini’s immortal “La Bohème.”
Enter to Win Tickets to “La Bohème” • MS Opera
“For those who may not be experienced opera goers, La Bohème is the perfect opera with which to start. The story is passionate, and the music is some of the most beautiful music you will ever hear. Puccini was a master at writing music that touches the heart, and never gets old, no matter how many times you hear it.”— Jay Dean, Artistic Director
Life is Fragile. Love is Eternal.
First premiering on February 1, 1896, “La Bohème” takes audiences to 1840s Paris’ Latin Quarter, where a painter, a poet, a musician, a philosopher, a singer, and a seamstress try to make their way in the world where both love and tragedy await them. Since its premiere, the opera has become a favorite with audiences and countless opera companies across the world and includes familiar melodies from the arias “Che gelida manina,” “Si, mi chiamano Mimì,” and the famous Musetta’s Waltz “Quando m’en vo.”
With J.J. Hudson as Stage Director and Jay Dean conducting, the show will feature a large ensemble including the Mississippi Opera Chorus, the Mississippi Opera Orchestra, students from the St. Andrews Episcopal School Choral program, and young artists from the University of Mobile’s Opera and Musical Theatre program.
La Bohème features the Carnegie Hall soprano soloist, Ashley Bell as Mimi; Michael Boley’s “vibrant, dramatically alert performance” as Rodolfo; and Michelle Lange, two time winner of the Voices of Mississippi Competition, as Musetta; Travis Sherwood as Marcello; Andre Chiang as Schaunard; and Stefanos Koroneos as Colline. This project is supported in part by funding from the MS Arts Commission, a state agency, and in part from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
The unique set for the production has been designed and built by Wes Hanson, a faculty member in the University of Southern Mississippi Theatre Department, who also designed the striking set for last season’s “Turandot.”
Opera and More!
Join us all year long for magical musical experiences! Our “Cabaret Series” where we celebrate all forms of musical theatre, Broadway and opera leads up to our Season Grand Finale. The Cabaret Series is held on Monday nights at Duling Hall, in the historic Fondren neighborhood of Jackson. The casual club like atmosphere of the shows helps you start your week with a song. In addition, there are special gala events kick off each season.
The Guild expands the Opera Circle.
Operas can’t provide the cultural experience they provide without support. The Guild fills a variety of functions from hosting the annual fall fundraiser event, greeting and distributing programs as performances, and hosting guest and visiting performers in their homes. This year, the guild celebrated the inaugural MS Opera Circle Award of Excellence, awarded to an individual in the community for their outstanding support for the creative and community arts. Our first recipient is Jackson community leader and restaurateur, Jeff Good.
From the Opera Guild’s annual fundraiser event, to pop-up concerts at the market and children’s performances, you can find the MS Opera everywhere.
Educational and Community Outreach, Giving Back, and Inspiring the Future
Bringing the performing and musical arts to a wider audience in the state through education and community outreach programs is a closely held mission of the MS Opera. From our surprise pop-up “Opera-to-go” performances, to children’s shows and summer camps, you never know where you just run across the MS Opera. For example, each dress rehearsal of major productions are open to students from area school groups at no cost!
For professors and music students in colleges and universities that are seeking to achieve professional goals, the Mississippi Opera hosts the annual National John Alexander Vocal Completion, the only nationally advertised music competition in the state. Held every fall for the past five years, the competition is named in memory of internationally known tenor John Alexander, who was born in Meridian, MS, and highlights upcoming vocal talent.
Our programs and performances are supported by our amazing Mississippi Opera Chorus. Auditions are held in the fall of each year. Visit our website at https://www.msopera.org/chorus-auditions.
The MOA embraces its past and celebrates its future. (Clockwise from top left: The winners of the 2018 John Alexander National Vocal Competition at Duling Hall. Famed soprano Renee Fleming from her concert with the MOA orchestra in 2010. Matthews Farrago and Magnolia Collet in a 1946 photo from the a production of “Pagliacci.”
A Storied and Musical Pedigree
A founding member of the National Opera America organization, Mississippi Opera Association is the ninth oldest continuously operating opera company in the United States, and Mississippi’s only professional opera company.
Founded in 1945 as the Jackson Opera Guild, with their first production of “Cavalleria Rusticana” at the Bailey Jr. High Auditorium, the Mississippi Opera has enriched the state with world-class performances and exposing everyday Mississippians to arts and culture they wouldn’t have access to otherwise.
MOA has also brought internationally known opera singers to grace the stage in Jackson, including famed sopranos Beverly Sills, Renee Fleming, and the late Monserrat Caballe, and staged many grand operas and operettas including “Cosi fan tutti,” “The Mikado,” “Carmen,” “The Pirates of Penzance,” “Madama Butterfly,” “Rigoletto,” and “Turandot.”
Why Support the MS Opera?
The Mississippi Opera can have a profound effect on the Mississippi economy. Figures from the Jackson Convention and Visitor’s Bureau show the Opera folds back into the Mississippi economy about $750,000. The arts in Mississippi is a huge economic structure in the state, and corporations recognize it.