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EDITIONS
Monday, 9 December, 2002, 09:41 GMT
Glittering start for Baz's Boheme
Baz Luhrmann (right foreground) with members of his La Boheme cast and crew
Baz Luhrmann joined the cast for the curtain call
Film director Baz Luhrmann's version of opera La Boheme has hit the New York stage, with an opening night that attracted stars and glamour usually reserved for Hollywood premières.

Luhrmann, who directed big screen hits Moulin Rouge and Romeo and Juliet, has updated the Puccini work and made it the first classical opera to be staged on Broadway.

Hugh Grant arriving for La Boheme
Hugh Grant: "I'm sure it's going to be a smash hit"
Actors including Leonardo DiCaprio, Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant were among those who turned out for its first night on Sunday.

"It's a triumph - it's great," said actress Candice Bergen after the show.

Luhrmann's $7.5m (£4.75m) production has brought the action forward to 1957 - but sticks to Puccini's Paris setting as well as his original musical score and Italian lyrics.

He said the show is opera for the masses, and he wanted to take it back to its "outrageously successful, scurrilous" roots.

"The really radical idea is that we have brought it back to what it was, which was this story that can play for everyone from all backgrounds," he said.

"That's what is unique, that everyone can get it."

Ekaterina Solovyeva as Mimi and David Miller as Rodolfo (photo by Douglas Kirkland)
Three sets of singers take turns in the schedule
Luhrmann and his wife, the show's designer Catherine Martin, joined the cast on stage for a rapturous ovation at the final curtain.

Leonardo DiCaprio - who starred in Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet - avoided the press, but other stars gave their views of the show.

"I'm sure it's going to be a smash hit," Hugh Grant said. "It's really sad at the end as well, I didn't realise how sad it was."

Isabella Rossellini said: "Well it moved me, I'm Italian, I know the Boheme, so it moved me that it was revisited so brilliantly."

Young cast

La Boheme has already played six sell-out weeks in San Francisco.

Luhrmann has found singers in their 20s - rather than the older stars more often seen in operas - so they are closer to the ages of their characters.

Three sets of lead performers will take turns in appearing to protect their vocal chords.

It took Luhrmann almost three years and thousands of auditions to find the lead performers.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Emma Simpson
"Despite all the hype it's still a tough sell"
See also:

07 Dec 02 | Entertainment
21 Oct 02 | Entertainment
07 Feb 02 | Oscars 2002
24 Jul 02 | Entertainment
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