Hipsters to star in Highland Park version of La bohème

Image from Pacific Opera Project

What would Puccini think?  La bohème is coming to Northeast L.A. next month, but the classic opera will be reset in current day Highland Park and neighborhood hipsters will stand  in for bohemians.  The three-night performance at the Highland Park Ebell Club is part of the effort by the Pacific Opera Project to bring opera to non-traditional audiences at a relatively low price, which any 19th Century Parisian bohemian or modern-day Highland Park hipster would appreciate.

Artistic director Josh Shaw, who moved to Highland Park about a year ago, said he has long wanted to stage a performance in the area. Said Shaw in an email:

It seemed like a natural fit to set the show here.  Puccini’s characters match up so well with current characters I see every day at the coffee shops and bars on York.  Rodolfo, the poet becomes a screen writer.  Marcello, the painter, becomes a graphic designer.  Mimi, the seamstress becomes a fashion designer.  Musetta, the actress, becomes an actress (and sometimes model/beer promo girl/ and who knows what else ).  Schunard, the musician, no change there.  Colline, the philosopher, becomes an English PhD. …. Explaining why they are freezing in LA, is somewhat of challenge, but oh well.

The Highland Park version of La bohème, which will be performed in Italian with English supertitles,  will play at the Ebell Club on Nov. 9, 10 & 11. Click here for show and ticket  information.


  1. Ugh. When will all the Johnny come lately’s realize Highland Park is more than a two block stretch on York Blvd?

  2. Cool. I admit its been a while since I’ve last seen La Boheme, are they going to include the part where Rodolfo, Marcello and the rest uproot all the local families in order to set up their art salons and gourmet public houses, and establish themselves as the “real” residents of Paris, with a complete lack of regard for anything that existed before 2010..I mean 1840?

  3. Hey–
    Some of us “Johnny-come-latelys” totally appreciate the stretch on York AND all the other things HP has to offer. Affordable local restaurants, parks, thrift stores…all of it. And we moved here because it is affordable, not to raise the rents and push people out. Like it or not–HP is becoming known for the strip on York. But thanks to all of you trying to scare off people from coming to an affordable cultural event in our neighborhood by bringing up gangs and crime.

    • HP is huntington park. HLP is highland park. At least try to learn the lingo. If you’re going to try and act like a local.

      • What about Garvanza? Is that GVZA? I want to fit in, so I gotta figure this stuff out.

      • Bull cock – I have never heard of HLP as Highland Park. Whateva it ain’t clever. Nobody even knows where Huntington Park is or cares. Oh wait that’s over near the 710 and South Gate.

        Nobody can push anyone out. Developers do that. If you eff up on your mortgage by buying that lame ass flat screen tv and big ass white truck that is bad judgement. I was not raised to think of a home as a cash machine and I’m Latina SO TAKE THAT! It’s stupid to think that people like living in crappy neighborhood. That is what brings the gangs … yeah those neighbors who also squeeze people out.

        Now if you think the La Boheme idea is lame fair enough. But guess what exposure to everything that has nothing to do with an iPhone, texting, Kardashians, sports, and apps (like related to the phone) is a good thing.

        • Just want to chime in to say that Punk Attitude got the answer correct re: the tired “push out” arguments.

        • it is HLP punk attitude you never heard it cause you ain’t from here.

          • How about you continue to argue about whether it’s “HP or HLP” and while you’re busy proving yourself a true local, we’ll provide a weekend of music for those interested.

    • Since when is $30 a person affordable? That’s 10 visits to the Highland Theater’s discount days!

      • LessLocalThanRadiofreeparis

        It’s actually $20. And $10 on goldstar.com, which is a cool way to see and do stuff for half price around L.A.

  4. I think it sounds creative and interesting and will check it out. Haters – please continue to hate on HP like you hated on Echo Park and don’t come over to York!

  5. Seriously, have all of the hipsters or, you know, regular families moving into Highland Park (known by old and new residents alike as HP since “Highland” is just one word where HLP suggests it might be two…) really made this place so terrible? Gasp! The police are trying to clean up gang wars in the area. Double gasp! There are places to eat and drink, instead of just endless amounts of front stores, I mean car repair shops in the area. Do these hyper tolerant new comers offend your intolerant sensibilities, where you attempt to make new folk feel unwelcome? And which stores, exactly, have been forced to go under due to raised rents? The Hermosillo Club? That was a loss, wasn’t it? Cocaine in the bathrooms and trashy dancers spreading disease all over the joint…too bad that fine establishment is gone. It’s been said over and over again and ya know, haters gonna hate, but everyone’s just trying to coexist right now. Bringing some culture to the area at the very reasonable cost of $30/person isn’t so tragic afterall, now is it? I guess these artsy types never had a place in HP history, did they? Oh wait, I guess they did:

    “Highland Park has experienced economic highs and lows during its first 100 years, most recently enjoying a Renaissance. After the Mexican-American War ended in 1848, California became part of the United States and Rancho San Rafael was subdivided, creating the neighborhood of Highland Park.[4] In the early 20th century, Highland Park and neighboring Pasadena became havens for artists and intellectuals who lead the Arts and Crafts movement.[5]”

    All of you who wish HP was still full of junkies, gangs and car repair shops, go take your antiestablishment, antisocial and intolerant muck elsewhere.

    • LessLocalThanRadiofreeparis

      It’s only $20 dollars for the show! CoolPlaces had it wrong. $30/person is for a table that comes with wine and food.

  6. I’m thrilled about this upcoming performance. Thank you Pacific Opera Project for your creativity and your enthusiasm for this wonderful art form and for Highland Park. Should be a rewarding night: great music and theater in a beautiful, historic space.

  7. I love all this back-and-forth. This is exactly why we thought Puccini’s bohemians fit so well in current day Highland Park (I’ll just spell it out to avoid controversy).

    To clarify, tickets are $20 for General Admission, $60 for a table of two that comes with a bottle of wine and light food. $100 for a table of four with the same.

    Yes, you can get $10 fix on Goldstar. Or you can use the code “2for1” on the Pacific Opera Project website to get two tickets GA for $20 AND you won’t have to pay the GS ticketing fee.

    Any amount taken in over the budget goes directly to singers in our 2013 season.

  8. This show was absolutely amazing! The singing was world class and placing it in Highland Park was a nice touch. This was a thousand times better than the multi-million dollar production of La Boheme that Baz Lurhamn put on a few years back. Bravo to Pacific Opera for doing a world class show at a small theater for $20 a ticket or less. I’ll be coming back for more shows!

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