Bohemian courtship: being Rodolfo, winning Mimi

Dimitri Pittas

Who is Rodolfo? He is a young poet in love.  And he is the hero of Puccini’s La Bohème, opening in a new Canadian Opera Company production on October 3rd at the Four Seasons Centre.

In this production, three different singers undertake the poetic lover: Dimitri Pittas, Michael Fabiano and Eric Margiore.  Each of them gets to woo Mimi. This is an old-fashioned romance.  Mimi and Rodolfo are brought together by chance, not by choice.  They will argue and fight, yet their love is true.

How is it for the singers coming together onstage?  Yes, it’s theatre, not real love.

Eric Margiore

Or is it?  When three different Rodolfos each romance and win Mimi, can we think of a kind of competition, at least for the hearts of the audience, if not for the love of Mimi herself?

I couldn’t help thinking of something much newer than the fin de siècle in Paris.  What if this were the dating game?  Instead of calling them “Bachelor #1”, “Bachelor #2 and “Bachelor #3” let’s imagine Mimi, asking questions of each of her possible Rodolfos, asking them to win her over.

No we won’t actually have her pick one and reject the other two: because in fact, all three will play Rodolfo.  But let’s imagine Mimi asking her suitors questions, and see what they will say.


Michael Fabiano

Rodolfo, I am knocking at your door.   And OH NO, my candle has blown out!  You’re all alone in this big apartment.  I’ve heard your voice for awhile but we’ve never met.  So tell me,…How can you help light MY fire, Rodolfo as played by ERIC MARGIORE!?”

Eric Margiore as Rodolfo:

Well, Mimi, that is a lovely name.  I believe that I can help light your fire, especially on those cold winter nights of Paris. I am really quite swell with the kindling and I must admit that I love to cuddle, so it seems that I am your man! Since I am a poet, I would love to just sit by the fire and look at you to become inspired.  I believe that you will find significant warmth in my words…

“Mmm thanks Eric!  Now,
“RODOLFO—as played by Michael Fabiano:
same question…!?

Michael Fabiano as Rodolfo:

My heart is a hearth.
Let us rejoice in the
exudence of our
permeating souls . . .

(Ahhh nice!):
And how about RODOLFO—as played by Dimitri Pittas….?

But tonight Dimitri Pittas is in Amsterdam tonight (Sept 27th) and Sunday Sept 29th singing the Verdi Requiem with the Concertgebouw.

MIMI: Hm, Dimitri, you’re not here(!!?)….Well then next question:
I want you to imagine you love me.  We’re so in love! And: you see me in a cab with ANOTHER man.  Tell me how this makes you feel!!!
Rodolfo played by Eric Margiore.,.?

Eric Margiore as Rodolfo:

Well, I do become incredibly jealous! I am so intensely passionate about our love that when I see other men even looking at you, I cannot handle it!  I know you love me deeply and I cannot picture anyone else with you.  I will fight for you and protect you with all of my soul because you inspire me so deeply.

Mimi smiles.  “Thank you.  Michael Fabiano, same question.  We’re in love and you’ve seen me in a cab with another man.  How does this make you feel?!!!”

Michael Fabiano as Rodolfo:

A thousand arrows pierce my bleeding soul.
My ire points to its zenith.
Willow, o willow, will you hear my plea?
My being faces the abyss . .

Mimi would like to ask Dimitri Pittas the same question about jealousy, but… he’s not here!

So she goes on.   Mimi wants to know.
“You’ve told me you’re a poet.  Can I be your muse?

Eric Margiore as Rodolfo:

The woman that I am in love with will be my greatest muse. You will inspire my thoughts and I am incredibly grateful to you for that. I see you in my dreams that I wish always to dream and I am rich beyond compare from the privilege of looking into the jewels that are your eyes. When I touch your tiny hands I feel and see the extraordinary clay from which humankind was made. You give me hope for the future. You are my life’s blood.

“Mmm nice.  And what about you, Michael Fabiano as Rodolfo?

(l – r) Dimitri Pittas as Rodolfo and Joshua Hopkins as Marcello in the Canadian Opera Company/Houston Grand Opera/San Francisco Opera co-production of La Bohème. (Photo: Felix Sanchez © 2012 (Houston Grand Opera))

All is calm in the air
and the strings of my poetry
will vibrate to the bow of your hair. Blind, make me move
forward in the ecstasy of bliss.

Yes Mimi will get her turns, with Rodolfo as played by Fabiano &
Rodolfo played by Margiore.  But on October 3, 6, 9 and 12, to open the production? Mimi is with Pittas, her first Rodolfo.

And Fabiano & Margiore will get their turn..!

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1 Response to Bohemian courtship: being Rodolfo, winning Mimi

  1. Pingback: (Q + A) x 300: questions and conversations | barczablog

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