Lovers of the arts have a new reason to rejoice in the land of sand and organic veggies. The Santa Cruz Opera Project is creating innovative, exciting, and site-specific opera that is sure to delight. Lori Schulman and Jordan Best, the two amazingly talented founders, have a mission to make opera more accessible. They want to provide education and inspiration to open-minded Santa Cruzans interested in exploring this astounding artform.
Even if you have never been to the opera, you know at least one thing: it requires powerful voices. Without a doubt, the company performing La bohème this weekend at Woodhouse Blending and Brewing delivers a stunning display of vocal prowess. The results of long hours of voice training are on full display as the seven members of the cast take turns singing from the center of their being.
We go to the theater to dream, to see life unfolding before us in a form and fashion that we can study and increase our understanding of what it means to be human. This updated version of La bohème does just that. It provides a window into a world heightened by art, music, poverty, and love. The intoxicating effect of the music is achieved by a virtuosic performance by a four-piece orchestra conducted by Steven Berlanga. This live music uplifts the action of the story guiding the actor’s voices through their paces with beauty and grace.
After taking 8 years off to raise her children, Jordan Best returns to the stage energized with raw emotion that translates into the tragic beauty of La bohème‘s Mimi. It is a triumphant performance matched by Diane Syrcle as an earnest and self-critical writer Rodolfo to form a convincing and entrancing love story. Omar Rodriquez is fun to watch and a joy to hear as the struggling artist Marcello who falls in love with the dashing and spicy Musetta embodied by Lori Schulman with an explicit joyousness that is impossible to miss.
Sheri Hammerstrom and Leberta Loral play vivacious and fun-loving Schanuard and Colline, friends to the pair of lovers. Together they share in the simple joys of life, celebrating with food and drink even when the offerings are humble. All this talent is beautifully managed and choreographed by Stage Director Layna Chianakas who translates the beauty of the music into action on the stage.
Performances of La bohème are happening Thursday June 8th at 7pm and Sunday June 11th at 1:00pm. You can buy tickets and learn more about Santa Cruz Opera Project by visiting their website at santacruzoperaproject.org. Make sure to also follow them on Instagram and Facebook @santacruzoperaproject to stay informed about future events.