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.