A revival of Franco Zeffirelli's opulent La Boheme opens at the Israel Opera on March 20 and will run until April 4. The revival director is long-time Zeffirelli associate Marco Gandini, and Canadian conductor Keri Lynn Wilson will lead the Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon Lezion. Tenors Marius Brencie and Scott Piper sing Rodolfo while sopranos Adina Oron and Ira Bertman sing Mimi.
Everybody knows the story: Rodolfo and Mimi fall in love, Rodolfo gets jealous, they quarrel and part. Mimi's tuberculosis gets worse, and by the time they get together again, it's too late. Mimi dies in what has to be one of the most four-handkerchief scenes in 19th century opera.
Israel Opera and Franco Zeffirelli, 85, are well acquainted, and he likes coming here. His production of Verdi's Aida, to be performed here by La Scala, Milan in July, has been sold out for a couple of months. He was last here in 2005 for I Pagliacci, and before that in 1999 when he first mounted La Boheme.
Wilson is making a name for herself as an opera conductor. Born in Winnipeg to a musical family, she was an award-winning flutist before beginning conducting studies in 1990. Following her graduation from Juilliard in 1994, she worked with Seiji Ozawa at Tanglewood. She has guest conducted around the world, including at the Rome and Vienna State Operas. This is her local debut.