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'La Bohème' to be simulcast at Richardson, Sept. 23

Princeton is one of 32 schools across the country presenting a live broadcast of Washington National Opera's new production of  "La Bohème" on Sunday, Sept. 23. The performance will be simulcast from the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and is anticipated to be the largest-ever simultaneous viewing of an opera in the world, with more than 45,000 expected viewers.

The Princeton simulcast will air at 2 p.m. on a 10-by-15-foot screen in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall, and is being sponsored by the Department of Music and Office of Community and Regional Affairs. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required.

The nationwide event is part of Washington National Opera's initiative to bring opera to a wider, more diverse audience and is made possible through funding from members of the opera's board of trustees.

"Washington National Opera is offering us a terrific cultural and educational opportunity," said Scott Burnham, chair of the Department of Music. "This will be so much more than the screening of an opera video -- we will share the excitement of live opera not only with the immediate Princeton community but with college audiences across the nation."

"La Bohème," composed by Giacomo Puccini and first performed in 1896, is a story about ambition, love, loyalty, jealousy and sorrow. Students may recognize the opera as the basis for the hit Broadway musical "Rent."

Karen Woodbridge, director of community relations for the Office of Community and Regional Affairs, said the simulcast is a great way to make opera more accessible to a younger and varied audience.

"We are pleased that the University can offer students and the community a chance to view this innovative production of Puccini's classic opera," she said. "We hope this event will pique the interest of students who may never have seen an opera before, as well as give opera fans a chance to enjoy a world-class production for free."

Washington National Opera's presentation of "La Bohème" comes from Teatr Wielki National Opera Warsaw and is directed by Mariusz Trelinski. The production is set in the 21st century and features the character Rodolfo as a modern photographer working in the age of technology. Rodolfo is part of a contemporary group of artists searching for their identity and longing for a deeper and more profound connection with society.

The one-time, closed-circuit broadcast will be shown on an outdoor screen at the Washington Monument on the National Mall, as well as at high schools and universities across the country, including Bryn Mawr College, Duke University, New York University, Tulane University, University of Virginia, University of Washington and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Washington National Opera, designated as the "national opera" by Congress in 2000, is led by general director Plácido Domingo and president Kenneth Feinberg. Its educational and community programs aim to expand access to opera in the Washington, D.C., region and across the nation through partnerships with schools and libraries, summer programs and family performances. 

Doors to Richardson Auditorium will open at 1:20 p.m. on Sept. 23, and a pre-simulcast program from Washington National Opera will air at 1:30 p.m.

Tickets for University faculty, staff and students will be available at the Frist Campus Center ticket office from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, Sept. 19-21. Tickets for the public will be available at the Richardson Auditorium ticket office from noon to 3 p.m. Sept. 20 and 21. Tickets are limited to two per person.

The Richardson ticket office also will be open the day of the performance from noon to 2 p.m. If tickets are sold out, there also will be a wait line for open seats before the performance.

For more information about Washington National Opera, visit

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