Since our first production in 2014, The Black Cat Opera Company has been committed to bringing opera of the very highest calibre to smaller local theatres in the south of England. Fancy hats, country estates and 3-figure ticket prices have their place, but our mission is to make first-rate opera that moves you, entertains you, and is affordable - and on your doorstep.
This year we are excited to present a brand new production of Puccini’s La Bohème, arguably the best-loved opera in the entire repertoire. We will initially be bringing La Bohème to The Lights, Andover (20-21 June) and The Electric Theatre, Guildford (23-24 June), with a view to performing revivals at other venues in the future.
We believe opera is best when allowed to speak for itself: performed in its original language (with English surtitles), with simple but elegant staging, and with the finest singers money can buy. Join us in making our vision for La Bohème a reality!
About the production
The Black Cat Opera Company brings director Fred Broom's new production of Puccini’s tragicomic masterpiece, La Bohème, to The Lights, Andover (20-21 June) and The Electric Theatre, Guildford (23-24 June). Combining irresistible joie de vivre with heart-wrenching pathos, this classic opera is performed by a first-rate professional cast and guarantees an evening to remember.
ABOVE: Initial costume sketches for Fred Broom's new production of La Bohème.
La Bohème introduces us to a group of lively, penniless Bohemians who style themselves ‘The Four Musketeers’: poet Rodolfo (Konstantinos Latsos), painter Marcello (Pauls Putnins), musician Schaunard (Seán Boylan), and philosopher Colline (Matthew Tomko). While Marcello enjoys a passionate affair with the beautiful and spirited Musetta (Raphaela Papadakis), Rodolfo finds love quite unexpectedly when a neighbour, Mimi (Lynsey Docherty), knocks and asks him to light her candle. As Mimi is revealed to be gravely ill, a tale emerges of ill-fated love which will move even the hardest of hearts.
About the company
The Black Cat Opera Company is a professional touring opera company based in the South of England. Since their first production in 2014, they have gone from strength to strength. They have performed operas including Don Giovanni, Cosi fan tutte, Carmen and Falstaff in venues across the South, as well as providing entertainment for corporate events at prestigious venues including the Millennium Kensington Hotel and the Royal Aeronautical Society.
They most recently performed Mozart’s Così fan Tutte to a sold-out, 1250-strong crowd at the opening night of the internationally renowned Birgitta Festival, Tallinn, alongside the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra.
About the cast
Lynsey Docherty, Mimi, has performed leading roles including Leonora, Violetta, Donna Anna, Tatyana, Tosca, and Musetta with companies including Iford Opera Festival, Dorset Opera Festival, and New Devon Opera. Most recently, she toured Opera Della Luna’s 5* double bill of Croquefer and L’ile de Tulipatan by Offenbach.
She appears regularly as an oratorio soloist, and as a recitalist has performed at such venues as the South Bank, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House. She is Artistic Director of Celebrate Voice, a 10-day festival of singing in Salisbury featuring celebrity opera, jazz, folk, cabaret and musical theatre performers alongside a thriving community programme.
Konstantinos Latsos, Rodolfo, began his career in Australia where he appeared in operas including Les Contes d’Hoffmann and La Bohème (dir. Christa Leahmann), and Don Giovanni (dir. Ghillian Sullivan). He won the Tenor Award at the City of Sydney Eisteddfod for two consecutive years.
Since moving to Europe in 2006 he has sung and worked with artists including Grace Bumbry, David L. Jones, Janet Williams, and Richard Bonynge, and performed roles in operas incuding L’Elisir d’Amore, Rigoletto, La Bohème, Tosca, Il Trovatore, and La Traviata. Currently resident in Berlin, he has recently been invited to participate in the educational branch of the Berlin Philharmonie under the direction of Sir Simon Rattle.
Pauls Putnins, Marcello, was born in Latvia and boasts an international career which includes appearances with English National Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Garsington Opera, the Philharmonia, RPO, and Bucharest, Israel, Moscow, and Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestras, to name just a few.
Notable operatic appearances include La Bohème for ENO (DVD from Warner Classics) and Opéra de Nancy, Lucia di Lammermoor for Opera Colorado, Denver and the Russian National Orchestra in Moscow, Carmen for New Zealand Opera, Don Giovanni for Latvian National Opera, and most recently the title role in Le Nozze di Figaro with Scottish Opera and Teatru Manoel in Valletta, Malta.
Raphaela Papadakis, Musetta, made her professional début at Garsington Opera in 2014, giving the “most attractive solo performance” of the show (Financial Times). Since then, she has performed with the Royal Opera House (cover Nymph, Orfeo), Independent Opera (Anna, Biedermann and the Arsonists), and the Berlin State Opera (cover Branghien, Le vin herbé). A passionate recitalist, Raphaela made her début at Carnegie Hall in 2014, and was a Vocal Fellow at the Ravinia Festival, Chicago.
Her many awards include 1st prizes at the Mozart Competition and Clonter Opera Competition, and the York Early Music Festival Prize at the London Handel Festival.
Seán Boylan, Schaunard, studied at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and at the Franz-Schubert-Institut in Baden bei Wien, before joining the Masters course at Guildhall School of Music & Drama, studying with Robert Dean.
He has performed in the masterclasses and received coaching from eminent musicians including Dame Ann Murray, Gerald Finley, and Sir Thomas Allen, lly Ameling, Roger Vignoles and Julius Drake.
In the summer of this year, as well as making his debut with Black Cat, he will perform at venues including Milton Hall, Southwark Cathedral and at the St Endellion Festival, in which he will take the role of Novice's Friend in Billy Budd.
Matthew Tomko, Colline, was a principal soloist at the National Opera House in Kosice, Slovakia where he sang roles such as Sarastro (The Magic Flute), Prince Gremin (Eugene Onegin), Zuniga (Carmen), Masetto (Don Giovanni), and many others.
In the UK Matthew has performed with groups including Co-Opera Co, Chelmsford Opera, HeadFirst Productions, Dulwich Opera, Commedia Opera and English Touring Opera.
He recently appeared as Colline with Celebrate Voice, as Sparafucile in Opera Project's Rigoletto and as Angelotti in the Arcola Theatre's Tosca during the Grimeborn Festival 2016.
We do hope you believe in this project as much as we do and want to play your part. All our contributors will receive regular updates on the project, including exclusive backstage glimpses (probably mainly photos of the cast eating biscuits) and insights into the rehearsal process. You'll all be credited in the printed programmes, too (as long as you get your pledge in by our printing deadline of Thursday 15 June!), and if you're coming to the opera, we'd love to meet you - do come and introduce yourself to one of the team.
Finally, thank you so much for your support - we couldn't do it without you!