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La Bohème at Sacramento Crocker Park

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At the Crocker

The Mondavi Center and the Crocker Art Museum offered a free opera screening in the park Thursday, July 12.

The screening took place across the street from the museum at the Sacramento Crocker Park. The marvelous Italian opera “La Bohème,” written by Puccini and performed by the San Francisco Opera, was presented when the weather had finally started to cool off.

Before the outdoor screening the Crocker Art Museum hosted their Thursdays ‘til 9 Art Mix series. Guests enjoyed live music by Yolo Mambo.

Yolo Mambo with Crocker Art Museum Public Programs Manager Rika Nelson

Yolo Mambo played an array of international songs. As I walked around Friedman Court I heard "Quizás, Quizás, Quizás” being performed and the song drew me in. The group played a blend of jazz, salsa, folk and other soulful tunes.

Yolo Mambo has released two CDs: “The Roulette of Romance” and “World Wide.” Several songs from each CD were shared with the audience. The group also mixed original tunes with cover songs and sang in Spanish, French and English.

Yolo Mambo at the Crocker Art Museum’s Art Mix

Thursday’s Art Mix at the Crocker also included a tour of the exhibition “Red Hot and Blown: Contemporary Glass from the Crocker’s Collection,” which inspired this event.

The exhibition celebrates the 50th anniversary of the 1962 American studio-glass movement started in Toledo, Ohio. The process of creating several of the pieces in the exhibit was explained, and these explanations helped guests appreciate the finished work.

Red Hot and Blown: Contemporary Glass exhibit from the Crocker’s Collection at the Art Mix

The exhibit, located on the third floor of the museum, will be on display until September 23.

A video showing behind-the-scenes footage of “La Bohème” played for visitors to enjoy. Looking outside the window, a few steps from where the video played, one could see the screening area at the Crocker Park, and several people had already set up areas from where they could enjoy the screening.

Rod Gideons, general director of the Sacramento Opera, had a table on the first floor that included information about the Sacramento Opera’s events.

Gideons pointed out that a Second Saturday event, a photographic exhibit celebrating the Sacramento Opera’s last three decades, was being held at 20th Street.

The showing of “La Bohème” was free to the public. People spread out lawn chairs and blankets on park grounds before the 8 p.m. screening.

Visitors at Crocker Park for the screening of La Bohème

A huge outdoor setup provided by ATV Video Center showed crisp video, and guests enjoyed the wonderful sound of an outdoor theater.

The Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, UC Davis and the Crocker Art Museum allowed the audience to enjoy the San Francisco Opera’s production.

La Bohème begins

The opera also included individual support from Barbara K. Jackson. The Puccini opera showed in front of over 150 guests.

“La Bohème” follows the story of starving artists falling in and out of love in 19th-century Paris. The opera includes comedy, love and tragedy, and the magnificent singing awakens the ears, heart and soul.

The digital recording was very well done and included the conducting mastery of the San Francisco Opera’s music director Nicola Luisotti.

Guests were treated to a cast that included soprano Angela Gheorghiu as the ill-fated Mimì and tenor Piotr Beczala as her lover, the poet Rodolfo.

The screening went great for the first 25 minutes before some technical difficulties stopped the show. The patient audience sat and waited for the showing to restart. The break gave the audience time to mix.

Audience at La Bohème screening

By this time the weather was very pleasant. Mario Forte shared some thoughts, saying, “You know I was in Milan last year and saw ‘La Bohème’ at a small theater. My wife and I enjoyed the opera by Puccini and loved it. We heard about tonight’s event and we had to come. I think once the screening starts again you’re going to love it. Let’s change that … you will definitely love it.”

The four-part opera restarted after a 20-minute wait. The opera was sung in Italian and included English subtitles.

“La Bohème” at Crocker Park was quite enjoyable and Forte’s words came true. I definitely loved the showing and shared that feeling with others in the audience.

The Mondavi Center and Crocker Art Museum collaboration was well-received.

The Crocker’s Thursdays ‘til 9 series continues next Thursday with The Gonzalo Bergara Quartet, part of the Jazz in the Courtyard series.

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