Opera stage director Mary Birnbaum will be heading to New Mexico this summer for Santa Fe Opera’s new production of Puccini’s La Boheme. Nominated for Best Newcomer of 2015 at the International Opera Awards in London, Mary has been singled out as a stage director to watch.
Here’s how director Mary Birnbaum describes her team’s approach to this new production: “A lot of times La Bohème feels like, ‘Here are the four bohemians … and their girlfriends.’ It was very important for us to figure out who these women would have been in this 1830’s world. Mimì is an archetypal grisette, someone who was often an artist’s muse and expressed her sexuality in a transactional way (although not as a prostitute). Musetta is a lorette, a bit higher up socially, and in our production, she straddles the line between what women wear and what men wear, to see how much more power she can have. As a woman, I’m thrilled to direct this, because I want the women to be complete characters, not symbols, who have a whole journey towards and away from social conventions.”
You can learn more and listen to Mary speak of the upcoming production in this feature video.