Today, we are proud to announce a partnership that will bring an extraordinary version of La Bohème to theatres and opera houses around the world. Together with Isango Ensemble, the internationally renowned South African theatre company whose artists are drawn from the country’s townships, we have formed a unique partnership.
Isango’s version, entitled La Bohème - Abanxaxhi (the Xhosa language translation) moves the setting of Puccini’s classic from the garrets of mid-nineteenth century Paris to the townships of contemporary Africa, with the score played on marimbas and steel pans.
At the heart of the opera’s love story is the death of the heroine Mimi. She dies from tuberculosis – a mass killer more than 150 years ago when Puccini set the original opera and a mass killer today in South Africa and many other parts of the developing world.
Isango Ensemble’s cast brings new meaning and relevance to their version given their immediate experience of TB in their township communities.
Isango’s La Bohème in partnership with the Global Fund premiers next Thursday, February 23rd, in Cape Town, and will soon thereafter hit the road to Europe beginning with a series of performances at London’s iconic Hackney Empire theatre in May.
While you’re waiting for La Bohème’s curtain to rise at a theatre or opera house near you, you can watch this sneak preview of Isango Ensemble rehearsing in Cape Town and we will have much more to share with you in the coming weeks.
A sneak preview of Isango Ensemble rehearsing Puccini's La Bohème in Cape Town before the World Premiere, February 2012.
More information can be found here: http://www.theglobalfund.org/en/laboheme/