Stage Door News

Toronto: The Canadian Opera Company presents Puccini’s “La Bohème” October 6-28

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Art, love, and loss collide for a charismatic group of struggling young artists trying to make it in the city as Puccini’s La Bohème returns to the Canadian Opera Company. 

The irresistibly charming production from Tony Award winner John Caird transports audiences to 19th-century Paris as joy and tragedy unfold against one of opera’s most moving musical scores, conducted by Toronto’s Jordan de Souza. 

La Bohème runs for eight performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on October 6, 8, 11, 13, 19, 21, 22, and 28, 2023.

In a story has captured the hearts of generations, La Bohème

Amid modern-day headlines about soaring rents and sky-high inflation, the timeless theme of trying to make ends meet while pursuing one’s dream remains all too relevant, and the opera has inspired countless adaptations, including the popular musical Rent and film favourites Moonstruck and Moulin Rouge.


Real-life husband and wife, tenor Pene Pati and soprano Amina Edris, take on the leading roles of Rodolfo and Mimì; for Pati, who the San Francisco Chronicle has said “sings in a gleaming, sensuous stream of sound,” this is a COC debut, and it’s a return to Toronto for Edris, whose portrayal of Violetta in the COC’s 2022 staging of La Traviata earned her a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Performance.

A vibrant cast of today’s new wave of opera singers. make their Canadian Opera Company debuts, including Australian-Chinese tenor Kang Wang who sings two performances as Rodolfo, Canadian soprano Jonelle Sills who sings one performance as Mimì, South Korean baritone Joo Won Kang as the painter Marcello, and Congolese bass Blaise Malaba as Colline, the philosopher of the group. Ensemble Studio soprano Charlotte Siegel returns to the stage as fiery Musetta alongside Canadian baritones Justin Welsh as the musician Schaunard and Gregory Dahl as both the bohemian’s landlord Benoit and Alcindoro, Musetta’s rich admirer. Incoming Ensemble Studio artists, tenor Wesley Harrison and baritone Korin Thomas-Smith round out the cast as Parpignol and the Customs Officer, respectively.


Composer Giacomo Puccini was a master of emotional storytelling and the music in La Bohème is famous for pulling at heartstrings, including the soaring Act 1 closer, "O soave fanciulla.” Jordan de Souza leads the acclaimed COC Orchestra through the opera’s lush orchestration in a homecoming for the rising Canadian conductor. “La Bohème epitomizes opera, overflowing with love, pain, and laughter, but even more: it's a reminder that youthful passion is the inspiration that fuels the art form,” says de Souza. “Conducting this opera in my hometown is a profound joy, and the realization of a childhood dream!”

Revival director Katherine M. Carter leads a dynamic team. In creating the visual world for this production, Tony Award-nominated set and costume designer David Farley has cleverly papered the stage with ever-shifting painted landscapes that effectively frame the story within a number of Parisian locales. The creative team originally drew follows the ill-fated romance between Rodolfo, a poet, and his seamstress neighbour Mimì, while introducing audiences to the highs and lows of life as an artist.visual inspiration from France’s Belle Époque period, with characters’ rose-tinted sense of hope mirrored in pastel-hued lighting originally designed by Michael Clark and recreated by revival lighting designer Nick Andison.

La Bohème is sung in Italian and presented by the COC with English Surtitles.

La Bohème is a Canadian Opera Company co-production with Houston Grand Opera and San Francisco Opera.

Single tickets for La Bohème range from $35 – $250 for adults, with Grand Ring seats available at $290 and $350, and $22 tickets available for guests between the ages of 16 and 29 through the COC’s Opera Under 30 program. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling the Four Seasons Centre Box Office at 416-363- 8231. For more information on booking student groups, standing room, and rush tickets, as well as other specially priced tickets available to young people under the age of 15, please visit

Photo: A scene from the COC’s production of La Bohème. © 2019 Michael Cooper.