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The Opera House is the second-largest theater in the Center, with 2,362 seats. It was designed for ballet, opera, and musical theater. Over the years, the Opera House has welcomed dozens of the world's great dance and opera companies and has hosted some of the most important artistic events of the last quarter century. With its distinctive red and gold chandelier, a gift from Austria, the Opera House makes an elegant setting for the annual Kennedy Center Honors, the nation's highest award for lifetime achievement in the arts.

Coming to the Opera House :

Image for Washington National Opera: <i>La bohème</i>

Washington National Opera: La bohème


La bohème (1896)                             
Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica, after Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger
New WNO production
Puccini's "radiant, supremely expressive musical portraiture [has] helped make La bohème one of the world's most popular operas."--NPR
Deep in the heart of Paris's Latin Quarter--where music and dancing swirl nightly at the Café Momus--Mimì, a lovely seamstress of delicate health, meets handsome poet Rodolfo. Eccentric singer Musetta flirts and feuds with painter Marcello. And Colline, a philosopher, and Schaunard, a musician, do their best to distract the landlord from the rent. Through jealous breakups and rekindled romances, rowdy celebrations and tender tears, these six friends fight to keep their passions burning bright, hoping spring cures a tragic illness looming in their midst.   
Puccini's timeless tale of young bohemians struggling to fulfill their dreams, find love, and stay warm through a harsh Parisian winter returns to the Opera House in a brand-new production. An exciting cast of attractive artists--many of them making their WNO debuts--brings a fresh perspective to all of the opera's expressive arias, moonlit duets, and radiant ensemble passages in performances conducted by WNO Music Director Philippe Auguin.
With gorgeous sets and costumes by Lee Savage and Jennifer Moeller, two young American designers also new to WNO's ranks, the City of Light's snowy streets, drafty tenements, and nightclub diversions come to life in a production certain to linger in the memory long after its final heartrending scene. 
Rodolfo: Saimir Pirgu (Nov. 1, 4, 7, 9m, 12, 15m) / Alexey Dolgov (Nov. 2m, 5, 8, 10, 13, 15e)
Mimì: Corinne Winters* (Nov. 1, 4, 7, 9m, 12, 15m) / Tatiana Monogarova* (Nov. 2m, 5, 8, 10, 13, 15e)
Marcello: John Chest* (Nov. 1, 4, 7, 9m, 12, 15m) / Trevor Scheunemann^ (Nov. 2m, 5, 8, 10, 13, 15e)
Musetta: Alyson Cambridge (Nov. 1, 4, 9m, 12, 15m) / Leah Partridge* (Nov. 2m, 5, 7, 8, 10, 13, 15e)
Colline: Joshua Bloom* (Nov. 1, 4, 7, 9m, 12, 15m) / Musa Ngqungwana* (Nov. 2m, 5, 8, 10, 13, 15e)
Schaunard: Steven LaBrie* (Nov. 1, 4, 7, 9m, 12, 15m) / Christian Bowers** (Nov. 2m, 5, 8, 10, 13, 15e)
Benoit/Alcindoro: Donato DiStefano

Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Performance: Fri., Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. Cast to be announced.

Conductor: Philippe Auguin
New Production by Jo Davies*
Original Stage Direction: Peter Kazaras*
Set Design: Lee Savage*
Costume Design: Jennifer Moeller*
Lighting Design: Bruno Poet*
Choreography: Ben Wright*
* WNO debut
** Current Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist
^ Former Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist

In Italian with projected English titles. Titles may not be visible from the rear of the orchestra.

Performance Timing: Acts I & II - 55 min.; Intermission - 20 min.; Acts III & IV: 54 min. 

Musicologist Saul
Lilienstein leads the Thursday, November 13 Opera Insight, starting 1 hour and 15 minutes before the performance and lasting 35–40 minutes. All other Opera Insights start 1 hour before the performance and last 20–25 minutes. Informative and entertaining, Opera Insights take you inside the composer's mind, behind the scenes of planning a production, and into the history and social context of each opera.
These lectures are free, but patrons must present a ticket from any performance of La bohème.

Following these performances:

Sunday matinees, November 2 & 9
Monday evening, November 10
Join WNO artists for a unique opportunity to ask questions about the production.
All discussions begin immediately after the performance and are free with your ticket.