PORTLAND — Portland Ovations will present Giacomo Puccini’s classic opera “La Bohème,” his beloved tale of bohemian artists struggling on the streets of Paris.

Teatre Lirico D’Europa, one of Europe’s biggest and most recognized opera touring companies, will perform the opera at 8 p.m. Friday, March 12, at Merrill Auditorium. The troupe will be supported by the Sofia Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.

“La Bohème” contains some of the most powerful music known to the opera world. The opera featues big voices, recognizable arias and tender moments. It opened in Turin, Italy, in 1896, and has become the second most staged opera, just behind “Madame Butterfly,” also by Puccini.

Based on a novel by Henri Muger, the story follows the love between a poet and a seamstress, as well as the lives and loves of a painter, a musician, a philosopher and a singer as they battle to survive in 19th century Paris.

The opera is sung in Italian, despite taking place in France and having a French title.

This presentation will be performed with English super-titles so patrons can follow along with ease.

Ovations Offstage will host a free lecture, “From Novel to Play to Opera,” immediately preceding curtain. University of New England professor and opera conductor Dr. Deirdre McClure will provide insight into the history of “La Bohème,” as well as share some opera conducting secrets.

Tickets range from $38 to $53 for the general public, $20 for students. Tickets are available at PortTix, the Merrill Auditorium box office; by calling 842-0800; and online at www.portlandovations.org.

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