UMass Amherst Hosts Free Live Simulcast of La Boheme Sept. 23 from the Kennedy Center

AMHERST, Mass. – An edgy, new production of the famed opera La Boheme by Giacomo Puccini is being performed on the Opera House stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., but Pioneer Valley music lovers can hear it at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Fine Arts Center Concert Hall in real time. UMass Amherst is presenting a free, live simulcast of the performance by the Washington National Opera (WNO) on Sunday, Sept. 23 at 2 p.m. with doors opening at 1 p.m. Due to limited seating, it is suggested that listeners arrive early. There is free and ample parking; the Concert Hall is handicapped accessible and handicapped parking is available. “It’s only fitting that UMass Amherst, the largest attractor and generator of creative talent in the region, is the local host to this exciting event,” says Joel W. Martin, dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. “We are very pleased to be working with the Washington National Opera and anticipate that our students, staff, faculty and the larger public will thoroughly enjoy this presentation.” UMass Amherst is fortunate to have a strong connection to WNO. Kenneth Feinberg, President of Washington National Opera, is a UMass Amherst alumnus and member of the Board of the College of Humanities & Fine Arts. According to Feinberg, “With this initiative, Washington National Opera dramatically expands our pledge to bring opera to the nation and the next generation. We are excited to use simulcast technology to give the gift of opera to the American public in a way that has never been done before.” UMass Amherst is one of 32 schools across the country chosen to host the live event, which is anticipated to be the largest simultaneous viewing of an opera anywhere in the world; more than 45,000 viewers are expected. Pl?cido Domingo, famed opera singer and General Director of the WNO chose Polish director Mariusz Treliński’s version of La Boheme, a modern-day take on the timeless opera. In the new version, for example, the main male character, Rudolfo, has been transformed into a photographer; he is a writer in the original opera. Treliński places him with a group of artists searching for their identity and longing for a deeper and more profound connection with society. In this drama of loss and love, Treliński’s characters struggle with their careers and relationships in a world that is increasingly technological in nature. Washington National Opera has been at the forefront of simulcast technology with its broadcasts of Porgy and Bess in 2005 and Madame Butterfly in November 2006 on the National Mall. Committed to making opera available to a wider and more diverse audience, the WNO has several outreach projects including a partnership with XM Radio to broadcast WNO performances, special performances for families, dress rehearsals for high school students, partnerships with schools and libraries, and an Intern-Apprentice Program for young artists. WNO’s Generation O program targets young audiences aged 18-35, providing affordable ticket prices and programming specifically for the new generation of opera-goers. #50-08