Skip to page content
  • HB
  • PUCCINI'S La bohème
  • Jul. 21, 2002
  • The beloved and bittersweet story of love and loss in 1830s Paris


    Sunday, July 21 At 7:30 PM; BACKBEAT LIVE Begins At 6:30 PM

    Sponsored by Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts
    Media Sponsor: KPCC 89.3 FM

    The Hollywood Bowl tradition of presenting opera continues this summer with a concert performance of Puccini's most well-known and popular opera, La bohème. Principal Conductor John Mauceri leads Patricia Racette and Ramón Vargas, in their Hollywood Bowl debuts, as the impoverished Parisian lovers Mimì and Rodolfo. Also in the cast: Christine Goerke, Earle Patriarco, Alan Held, and Thomas Hammons in their Bowl debuts, and Nathan Gunn. The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and Opera Pacific Chorus perform the well-known score.

    Backbeat Live pre-concert events take place at the Patio, one hour prior to the Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday concerts; free to all ticket holders. The July 21 session features Morganne, in a program of French cabaret music.

    JOHN MAUCERI's accomplishments extend nationally and internationally, not only to the world's greatest opera companies and symphony orchestras, but also to the musical stages of Broadway and Hollywood, before large television and radio audiences, and in recording studios and major publications. Mauceri has received substantial recognition for his work as one of the principal forces behind the movement to preserve two of America's great art forms, the American musical and music for the American cinema. He is equally at home conducting artists ranging from Plácido Domingo (during a live broadcast of the Grammy Awards) to Madonna (with whom he recorded the soundtrack to Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita), from Garth Brooks (an inaugural inductee into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame) to the Smashing Pumpkins (for the 1996 MTV Music Awards). Carol Burnett, Chicago, John Denver, Rodney Gilfry, Jonathan Pryce, Jane Eaglen, Jennifer Larmore, Patrick Stewart, Tito Puente, Charlotte Church, and Trisha Yearwood are among the multitude of artists who have performed with Mauceri and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Mauceri's first recordings with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra reached the "Top Ten" in Billboard's crossover chart, and one received Germany's highest award, the Deutsche Schallplatten Prize. To date, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra has made four successful tours to Japan and one to Brazil. Mauceri and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra have presented an astonishing number of premieres, and under Mauceri's tenure, opera and ballet returned to the Bowl's stage. In addition to his Hollywood Bowl position, Mauceri has served as music director for the Pittsburgh Opera since June 2000. The only American ever to have held the post of music director of an opera house in Great Britain and Italy, he served as music director of the Scottish Opera, and recently completed his three-year tenure as music director (direttore stabile) of the Teatro Reggio in Torino.

    1998 Richard Tucker Award-winner PATRICIA RACETTE returned this season to the Metropolitan Opera and the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Mimì. She also performed the role of Marguerite in Faust with Opera Australia; the title role in Jenufa with San Francisco Opera; and Tatyana in Eugene Onegin with Santa Fe Opera. In the previous season, she performed at San Diego Opera as Love Simpson in Carlisle Floyd's Cold Sassy Tree, a role she created at Houston Grand Opera. Racette made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1995 as Musetta in La bohème and was immediately re-engaged as Mimì in the same work for future seasons. Racette created the title role in the Santa Fe Opera's world premiere of Tobias Picker's Emmeline. European operatic debuts include appearances at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and with the Vienna State Opera, both as Mimì. She appears with many of the world's leading orchestras, including the Boston Symphony and Chicago Symphony, as well as those in Minnesota, Houston, San Francisco, and Cologne. She makes her Bowl debut with this performance.

    Acclaimed tenor RAMÓN VARGAS appears throughout the world with leading opera companies and began the 2001-2002 season in Vienna as Roberto in Roberto Devereux and then joined the Metropolitan Opera as Rodolfo in La bohème and the Duke in Rigoletto. He made his Athens debut as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor and returned to Vienna for Tales of Hoffmann. Ramón sang Verdi's Requiem in Rome at Santa Cecilia, returned to Covent Garden as Rodolfo in La bohème, and appeared in recital in Lisbon. Born in Mexico City, Ramón Vargas made his professional debut in 1983 in Puccini's Il Tabarro. In 1986, he won the Caruso Competition in Italy, the first of many awards, and his important international debuts quickly followed. In 1992 Vargas made his Metropolitan Opera debut in Lucia di Lammermoor. He is a featured artist with BMG and has recorded Rossini's Tancredi and Bellini's I Capuleti ed I Montecchi, Massenet's Werther, and also many solo albums. Vargas makes his Bowl debut at this performance.

    This past season, soprano CHRISTINE GOERKE, recipient of the 2001 Richard Tucker Award, made several debuts including at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, with the Pittsburgh Opera, and at Opera Pacific in the role of Donna Anna in their respective new productions of Don Giovanni. She also portrays Elettra for the first time in Paris Opera's new production of Idomeneo. Goerke also made her concert debut with the New World Symphony in Strauss' Four Last Songs with Michael Tilson Thomas and a return to the Atlanta Symphony for Vaughan Williams' Sea Symphony. She has appeared with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the New York Philharmonic. Her recent recording, Gluck's Iphigenie en Tauride, was released on Telarc. She is making her Bowl debut this summer.

    This past season, American baritone NATHAN GUNN made his debut with the Lyric Opera of Chicago in the title role of David McVicar's critically acclaimed new production of Billy Budd. He also returned to La Monnaie as Ramiro in L'heure espagnol, and to the Metropolitan Opera as Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Other recent debuts include the Royal Opera, Covent Garden and the Glyndebourne Festival. He has performed with Seattle Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opéra National de Paris, and Glimmerglass. He has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. Gunn's first solo disc, released on EMI, is entitled American Anthem. Gunn made his New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall in 1998 and the following year made his London recital debut at Wigmore Hall. The winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition in 1994, he last appeared at the Bowl in 1998.

    Southern California-born baritone EARLE PATRIARCO debuted at the Metropolitan Opera as Ping in Turandot in 1996 and subsequently sang the title role in Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia there as well as the roles of Marcello and Schaunard in La bohème. Current engagements with the Met include Nachtigal in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, the grandfather clock in L'enfant et les sortilèges, and The Husband in Les mamelles de Tirésias. European engagements have included performances at the Bastille Opera, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Stuttgart Staatstheater, and the Welsh National Opera. In concert, he has performed Carmina Burana with the Atlanta Symphony. Patriarco recorded the role of Lescaut in Massenet's Manon for EMI, which won the 2001 Gramophone Award for Best Opera. He has sung recitals in New York, Paris, and San Francisco. This performance marks his Bowl debut.

    Bass-baritone ALAN HELD has appeared in leading roles with the world's finest operas including the Metropolitan Opera; Teatro alla Scala; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Vienna State Opera; Paris Opera; Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie; the Lyric Opera of Chicago; and the San Francisco Opera. He is noted for his interpretations of the Four Villains in Les contes d'Hoffman, Jochanaan in Salome, Wotan in both Die Walküre and Siegfried, Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde, Balstrode in Peter Grimes, and the title role in Wozzeck. Held has performed with the Vienna Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Kirov Orchestra, and the Montreal and Houston symphonies. This performance is his Bowl debut.

    Born in Oklahoma, buffo THOMAS HAMMONS joined the Metropolitan Opera in 1996 as the
    Sacristan in Tosca. Since then, his Met assignments have included Le nozze di Figaro, Billy
    Budd, L'elisir d'amore, Die Meistersinger, La bohème
    , and Werther. He created and toured in the role of Henry Kissinger in John Adams' Nixon in China in 1987. In 1991, he appeared in the world premiere of and toured with Adams' opera, The Death of Klinghoffer. Since his operatic debut in The Duchess of Malfi at Santa Fe Opera, he has performed with such companies as New York City Opera, Washington Opera, Atlanta Opera, the Opéra de Montréal, Opera Pacific, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Cincinnati Opera, and Spoleto Festival USA. Hammons appears in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Don Pasquale, Don Giovanni, La Cenerentola, Regina, La fille du Regiment, Così fan tutte, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. This performance is his Bowl debut.

    HENRY VENANZI is in his tenth season leading the OPERA PACIFIC CHORUS. He provides artistic leadership to the company's Education and Outreach Program; in that capacity he conducted Opera Pacific's memorable production of Brundibar. For two years, he has provided musical direction to the company's Opera Camp, conducting productions of The Piper of Hamelin and Cinderella. He has prepared choruses for both La bohème and Madama Butterfly at the Hollywood Bowl, directs the opera program at Cal State Long Beach, serves as Chorus Master for the Cincinnati Opera, and is Music Director of the Cincinnati Opera American Artists Program. A graduate of the highly respected Cincinnati Conservatory, Venanzi has worked with Michigan Opera Theatre, Pittsburgh Opera, Omaha Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, and Fort Worth Opera. In demand as an accompanist and vocal coach, he has performed in Carnegie Hall, recorded with Martina Arroyo and appeared on The Tonight Show with Kathleen Battle. The Opera Pacific Chorus last appeared at the Hollywood Bowl in 2000.

    One of the largest natural amphitheaters in the world, with a seating capacity of just under 18,000, the HOLLYWOOD BOWL has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its official opening in 1922, and, in 1991 gave its name to The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, a resident ensemble that has filled a special niche in the musical life of Southern California. A hit from its very first season, the Hollywood Bowl has remained popular and accessible to a wide cross-section of Southern California's diverse population. To this day, $1 buys a seat at the top of the Bowl for many of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's concerts. While the Bowl is best known for its sizzling summer nights, during the day California's youngest patrons enjoy "Open House at the Bowl," the Southland's most popular summer arts festival for children, now in its 34th season. Attendance figures over the past several decades have soared: in 1980 the Bowl first topped the half-million mark and last summer, close to one million admissions were recorded. It is no wonder that the Bowl's summer music festivals have become as much a part of a Southern California summer as beaches and barbecues, the Dodgers and Disneyland.


    SUNDAY, JULY 21, 7:30 PM

    La bohème

    Hollywood Bowl (2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood)


    JOHN MAUCERI, conductor


    RAMÓN VARGAS, Rodolfo


    NATHAN GUNN, Marcello

    EARLE PATRIARCO, Schaunard

    ALAN HELD, Colline

    THOMAS HAMMONS, Benoit/Alcindoro


    Sponsored by Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts

    Media Sponsor: KPCC 89.3 FM

    Backbeat Live pre-concert events take place at the Patio, one hour prior to the Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday concerts; free to all ticket holders. The July 21 session features Morganne, in a program of French cabaret music.

    Tickets ($1 - $90) are on sale now at the Hollywood Bowl box office, by calling Ticketmaster at 213.480.3232, at all Ticketmaster outlets (Robinsons May, Tower Records and Ritmo Latino locations), or online at Groups of 12 or more may be eligible for a 20% discount, subject to availability; call 323.850-2050 for further details. For general information or to request a brochure, call 323.850.2000.

    # # #

  • Contact:

    Elizabeth Hinckley, 323/850-2047; Scalla Sheen, 323/850-2015