- Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre presents "La Boheme"
- When: 2 p.m. Jan. 20, 2013
- Paramount Theatre
- Tickets: $18 to $53 at the Orchestra Iowa Box Office, (319) 366-8203 or Paramounttheatrecr.com
- Information: cr-opera.org
- Extras: Free pre-opera Curtain Talk in Opus Cafe one hour before showtime; Iowa Public Radio will broadcast the Jan. 20 production live
CEDAR RAPIDS -- "La Boheme" is the perfect event for the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre's debut at the Paramount Theatre. Not only is it one of the world's best-loved operas, but the renovated stage is the right size to showcase more than 100 voices on multilevel scenery and nearly 50 stellar Orchestra Iowa musicians in the expanded pit below. I saw the Opera Theatre's 2002 production of "La Boheme" at the 500-seat Theatre Cedar Rapids, and the trade-off is that with the 1,700-seat Paramount, you lose a measure of intimacy with the characters, but you gain a visual spectacle that makes for a fine evening's entertainment. It's the story and haunting melodies that inspired Broadway's smash hit "Rent," both exploring the vibrant, troubling, tragic world of starving young artists trying to live out their passions amid a dire poverty that exacts the most harsh physical and emotional tolls. "La Boheme" is set in 1830s Paris, while "Rent" is set 150 years later in New York's bohemian East Village. Shouts of "bravo" rang through the Paramount on Friday's opening night (1/18/13) as many of the 1,200 audience members rose to their feet in appreciation of the herculean efforts and talent it took to mount such a lavish production. It repeats at 2 p.m. Sunday (1/20/13). A few seats are available on the main floor and the back of the first balcony. The details