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Puccini’s timeless opera “La bohème” on stage at Cahn Auditorium

Northwestern University Opera Theater performances run May 26 to 29

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music will bring Giacomo Puccini’s “La bohème” to the stage May 26 through 29 at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson Street on the Evanston campus. The opera classic will be performed by Northwestern University Opera Theater, under the direction of Joachim Schamberger, and feature the Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra conducted by Patrick Furrer.

Completed in 1895, Puccini’s “La bohème” is set to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on the 1851 novel “Scènes de la vie de bohème” by Henri Murger. Four struggling bohemians meet on a bitterly cold Christmas Eve in 1830s Paris: Marcello, a painter; Rodolfo, a poet; Colline, a philosopher; and Schaunard, a musician. They find their lives forever changed when Mimì, a young seamstress, knocks on their door asking for a candle light. She and Rodolfo quickly fall in love, but the happy couple soon awaken to the harsh realities of life when Mimì becomes gravely ill and Rodolfo is unable to provide for her. As Mimì, Rodolfo and their friends navigate the challenges that come their way, Puccini’s timeless opera celebrates life and love in the face of insurmountable odds.

“La bohème” performances are at 7:30 p.m., Thursday to Saturday, May 26-28, and at 3 p.m., Sunday, May 29.

Tickets are $18 for the public and $8 for full-time students with valid ID. Tickets may be purchased from the Bienen School Ticket Office by visiting or calling 847-467-4000.

Artist Bios:

Director Joachim Schamberger’s productions have appeared in the U.S., Germany, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, Brazil, Norway, Israel, Japan and China. An avid opera educator, he is on the faculty at many young artist festivals and guest lectures at conservatories throughout the world. Prior to becoming director of opera and artist-in-residence at the Bienen School, he served as visiting professor of opera at DePauw University. A native of Germany, Schamberger is a graduate of the Musikhochschule in Würzburg, the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Mannheim and the Merola Opera Program of the San Francisco Opera. He studied digital film production and 3-D animation at the New York Film Academy.

Born and raised in Switzerland, conductor Patrick Furrer studied piano in Zurich and conducting in Bern, Vienna and Aspen. He began his professional career at the Theater Basel as a vocal coach and conductor, and later served as First Kapellmeister (chapel choirmaster) at the Tiroler Landestheater Innsbruck. Furrer has conducted opera productions at venues including the Vienna Volksoper, Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts and the Zurich Opera House, and he previously visited the Bienen School to conduct the Spring 2019 Northwestern University Opera Theater production of Hector Berlioz’s “Béatrice et Bénédict.” His orchestra conducting credits include the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich; the symphony orchestras of Basel, Bern, St. Gallen and Biel; the Munich Radio Orchestra; the Lower Austrian Tonkünstler Orchestra; and the Orchestre du Conservatoire National de Paris. Since 2011, Furrer has worked on the Metropolitan Opera music staff; December 2021 marked his conducting debut with Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.”