This season please consider helping us support the arts by:

  • presenting a free production of Puccini’s Turandot performed in English in East Tennessee’s public schools
  • supporting our $150,000/year Education/Outreach Program enabling students and adults to enjoy live performances

For each of the past six years, Knoxville Opera has presented an abbreviated opera production in English for students.  These productions include costumes/props and last approximately 45 minutes (including about 10 minutes of Q&A from the students).

2012 Gounod’s Romeo & Juliette
2013 Rossini’s Cinderella
2014 Donizetti’s Elixir of Love
2015 Bizet’s Carmen
2016 Humperdinck’s Hansel & Gretel
2017 Puccini’s La Bohème
2018 Puccini’s Turandot

For a complete list of ALL Education/Outreach performance dates (including the in-school productions listed below), click HERE.

Jennifer D'Agostino

In-School Performance Dates

2016-2017 in-school program performance dates and locations are listed below!

  • January 9, 2017  9:45 a.m. La Bohème Ed/Out at Dogwood Elementary School
  • January 9, 2017 1:30 p.m. African American Voices Series at Pond Gap Elementary School
  • January 10, 2017 10:00 a.m.  La Bohème Ed/Out at Spring Hill Elementary School
  • January 10, 2017 1:30 p.m. La Bohème Ed/Out at New Hopewell Elementary School
  • January 11, 2017 10:00 a.m. La Bohème Ed/Out at Central High School
  • January 11, 2017 1:30 p.m. La Bohème Ed/Out at West Haven Elementary School
  • January 12, 2017 1:00 p.m. La Bohème Ed/Out at Lincoln Memorial University
  • January 12, 2017 4:00 p.m. La Bohème Ed/Out at Lincoln Memorial University
  • January 13, 2017 10:00 a.m. La Bohème Ed/Out at Episcopal School of Knoxville
  • January 13, 2017 2:00 p.m. La Bohème Ed/Out at Jefferson Middle School
  • January 14, 2017 11:00 a.m. La Bohème Ed/Out at Blount County Library
  • January 14, 2017 7:00 p.m. La Bohème Ed/Out at Fox Den Country Club
  • January 17, 2017 9:45 a.m. La Bohème Ed/Out at Brickey Elementary School
  • January 17, 2017 1:15 p.m. La Bohème Ed/Out at Sterchi Elementary School
  • January 18, 2017 10:00 a.m. La Bohème Ed/Out at Carter Middle School
  • January 18, 2017 2:00 p.m. La Bohème Ed/Out at Gresham Middle School
  • January 19, 2017 9:45 p.m. La Bohème Ed/Out at West Hills Elementary School
  • January 19, 2017 2:15 p.m. La Bohème Ed/Out at Northwest Middle School
  • January 20, 2017 10:00 a.m. La Bohème Ed/Out at Holston Middle School
  • January 20, 2017 2:00 p.m. La Bohème Ed/Out at Holston Middle School

Educators:  please click link below to download the reservation form for this year’s performances of La Bohème!

Sonja Krenek (soprano)


Oswaldo Iraheta (tenor)

Rodolfo, a poet

Brittany Robinson (soprano)

Musetta, a singer

This season’s in-school performances of Puccini’s La Bohème feature the talents of Sonja Krenek, Oswaldo Iraheta, and Brittany Robinson.

Music by Giacomo Puccini. Original libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa.

Based on the novel Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger
First performance: February 1, 1896, Teatro Regio, Turin, Italy


Scene 1 – Rodolfo’s apartment in Paris, France. Christmas Eve, 1830.
Mimì, Rodolfo’s neighbor, knocks on his door to have her candle relit. When she nearly faints, Rodolfo revives her and relights her candle. Mimì realizes she has dropped her key, and as the two search for it, both candles go out. The poet opens his heart to her and she recounts her solitary life. After expressing their attraction for each other, they depart to celebrate Christmas Eve at a nearby café.
Scene 2 – A café in the Latin Quarter, later that evening.
Mimì and Rodolfo arrive at the café and meet his friend Marcello. Musetta, Marcello’s former girlfriend, enters and tries to win back Marcello while singing a waltz. Marcello gives in to Musetta and the two couples leave the café to continue their Christmas celebration elsewhere.
Scene 3 – A tavern in Paris, the following February.
Musetta is heard singing inside a tavern where she and Marcello now work. Rodolfo, who is visiting them, comes outside with Musetta. He breaks down, confiding that Mimì’s health is failing and continues to get worse in the poverty they share. He then discovers Mimì, who has been listening from afar, and the two decide to stay together until spring.
Scene 4 – Rodolfo’s apartment, the following autumn.
After being separated for several months, a terribly sick Mimì returns to the apartment accompanied by Musetta. After a fit of coughing Musetta gives Mimì a muff to warm her hands. Mimì falls asleep while Musetta prays for her. When Rodolfo realizes that Mimì is dead, he cries out her name in anguish.


Giacomo Puccini

Giacomo Puccini was born in Lucca, Italy in 1858. He came from a family of composers, and studied music both in his home town and at the music conservatory in Milan before embarking on an illustrious career. Although he composed only 12 operas and little other music, his place as one of the greatest composers of all time is secured by some of the most popular works in the 400-year history of musical theatre: Madame Butterfly, La Bohème, Tosca, and Turandot.

Puccini was 38 when La Bohème premiered in Turin in 1896, conducted by Arturo Toscanini. Within a few years, it had been performed in many of the leading opera houses throughout Europe, Britain, and the United States. From that time on, dozens of productions of the opera have been produced every year throughout the world. Puccini died of cancer in Brussels in 1924.

The libretto of the opera, freely adapted from Murger’s episodic novel combines comic elements of the impoverished life of the young protagonists with the tragic aspects, such as the death of the young seamstress Mimì. Puccini’s own life as young man in Milan served as a source of inspiration for elements of the libretto. During his years as a conservatory student and in the years before he became a financially successful composer, he experienced poverty similar to that of the bohemians in La Bohème, including chronic shortage of necessities like food, clothing and money to pay rent. Although Puccini was granted a small monthly stipend by the Congregation of Charity in Rome, he frequently had to pawn his possessions to cover basic expenses. Early biographers drew express parallels between these incidents and particular events in the opera. One cited a diary kept by Puccini while he was still a student, which recorded an occasion in which, as in the opera, a single herring served as a dinner for four people. Puccini himself commented: “I lived that Bohème, when there wasn’t yet any thought stirring in my brain of seeking the theme of an opera.”

The most well-known song (aria) in the opera is called Musetta’s Waltz which appears in Act 2.
A YouTube search for La Bohème yields hundreds of complete performances and highlights from the opera performed by both legendary singers and contemporary artists.

Educators:  please click link below to download the reservation form for this year’s performances of La Bohème!