PHOTOGRAPH BY REED HUMMELL/NASHVILLE OPERA
nashville opera redesigns a modern masterpiece The Nashville Opera • October 9 and 11 by Brad Schmitt
© PETER HARRISON FOR NASHVILLE OPERA
his is Puccini’s La Bohème as you’ve never seen it before. Literally. The opera has been done thousands of times, and it’s one of the three most-performed opera productions worldwide. Even the Nashville Opera has mounted La Bohème four times prior, the last being seven years ago, general and artistic director John Hoomes says. But this one will be different, as Hoomes and New York set designer Peter Harrison have created new La Bohème sets. “It’ll be the first time this production has ever been seen,” Hoomes enthuses. “It’s always a pleasure to create a new production. We were able to do it ourselves.” Most times, opera companies will rent existing sets for popular pieces like La Bohème to save money. Creating your own is more expensive, but then the company has the set to rent to others. “It costs obviously a little more, but with that, you have the asset,” Hoomes says. In all, Hoomes designed three sets, from 1800s Paris, as Hoomes is combining the four-act play into three acts. Those pieces will
Set design for Act I. A Paris Garret
be a large apartment, a Parisian shopping district (complete with self-illuminating moon), and snowy gates during winter on the outskirts of Paris. Hoomes said he spent most of the summer working with the designer to come up with the look and feel they both wanted, and the sets were built in August and September in a factory in upstate New York.
92 | October 2014 NashvilleArts.com