La Boheme, Swansea City Opera

February 29, 2016 by

At Swansea City Opera we are committed to maintaining high standards of production and musical excellence, presenting socially accessible opera and procuring some of the finest singers and orchestral players in the country. We provide a nationwide touring schedule, assisting with the cultural development of Wales – this year we are touring La bohème, and are supported at each performance by a local community choir.


Originally set in 1830’s Paris, we decided to update this wonderful story to Paris 1945-46, to make it a little more relevant to today’s audiences. There is a great resurgence of interest from younger people in 1940’s fashion, and by setting the opera in this period, and singing in English, we hope to encourage a new audience to experience the joys of this great art form.


LA BOHEME - Swansea city opera

Marcin Gesla, Mark Saberton and Håkan Vramsmo



We look a little deeper into the relevance and comparison between 1830’s and mid 1940’s Paris. In the 1830’s, France was still recovering from the Napoleonic wars and it was another revolutionary period in French and European history. The July revolution saw the overthrow of the King Charles X, and in his place the Duke of Orléans was crowned, but it only lasted until 1848. There were also uprisings in Belgium, Portugal, Poland and more peacefully in Switzerland, France was in turmoil along with much of Europe.


Leaping forward 100 years to the end of World War 2, France is again struggling. It has political upheaval, and in Paris there are communist riots. The struggling young people become more plausible, as they try to make ‘the most of the moment’ in the tumultuous new world in which they live. They are daunted by an uncertain future and dogged by awful experiences of the recent past….and what of this dreadful disease that eventually kills Mimì? Tuberculosis was just as much a killer in the 1940’s and beyond as it was in the 1830’s and before.


LA BOHEME - Swansea city opera

Angharad Morgan


Supported by the City and County of Swansea, Arts Council Wales, England and Creative Scotland, we are very proud to be ambassadors for the wonderful city of Swansea – Wales’ Waterfront City – as we tour all over the UK. Our performances this spring include small theatres that would not normally be able to afford opera, 8 of which are in Wales.  Frequently these theatres are in more remote places and Communities First areas, where we give performances at subsidised rates meaning that opera lovers – whether experienced opera-goers or new fans – can see high quality affordable live opera where they live, rather than travelling to the nearest city hours away. We are also providing a pre-performance talk free of charge at each venue, to offer the audience members an insight into the opera and a behind the scenes view of the performance, given by Brendan Wheatley, Artistic Director.


Paul Hudson and Angharad Morgan



Welsh Performance Dates / Box Office details:


31/03/2016         Ffwrnes Llanelli                                                                 0845 226 3510

02/04/2016         Theatr Brycheiniog Brecon                           01874 611 622

09/04/2016         The Riverfront Newport                               01633 656 757

23/04/2016         Borough Theatre Abergavenny                                 01873 850 805

06/05/2016         Taliesin Theatre Swansea                             01792 602 060

13/05/2016         Neuadd Dwyfor Pwllheli                               01758 704 088

14/05/2016         Ucheldre Centre Holyhead                          01407 763 361

21/05/2016         Torch Theatre Milford Haven                      01646 695 267




Rodolfo:                               Shaun Dixon / Andrew Dickinson

Mimì:                                    Rebecca Goulden

Marcello:                             Håkan Vramsmo

Musetta:                             Angharad Morgan

Schaunard:                         Mark Saberton

Colline:                                 Marcin Gesla

Benoît & Alcindoro:         Paul Hudson

Waiter:                                 Martin Quinn


Main image: Rebecca Goulden and Shaun Dixon


Photography: Guy Harrop




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