Dornford-May producing an African La Bohème

By  | Jun 22, 2020, 01:47 PM  | Mark Dornford-May 

According to recent surveys, theatre play La Bohème is in the same league as the likes of Carmen, La Traviata, Tosca and Madame Butterfly as one of the world's most prominent musical dramas, and is the second most performed bit ever.

This excellent production is currently being adapted into a South African film by producer, Mark Dornford-May. May is heading up the group that brought the acclaimed U-Carmen eKhayelitsha, an isixhosa version of Carmen, to the big screen.

The film won a prestigious GoldenBear award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2005.

More than any company, the team has succeeded in making opera accessible to South Africans.

The shooting for BreatheUmphefumlo started in Stellenbosch a week ago. The adaptation is set in modern-day South Africa and, in the same way as the first, concentrates on star-crossed significant others, Mimi (Busisiwe Ngejane) and Lungelo (Mhlekazi Mosiea).

La Bohème is a glittering piece of musical history, but also contains a searing emotional cry for understanding, and action about the brutal realities of the everyday life of the poor and their struggle for shelter, food and medicine. This is what we want to bring to the screen,” said Dornford-May in a recent interview.

Fabulous opera star and on-screen character Pauline Malefane will deliver the score for the film – which will be played by a symphony of marimbas and steel pans – with Mandisi

Because of its detailed storyline, La Bohème has been reenacted numerous times around the world, most outstandingly as the Broadway hit production, Rent.

Credit Image:Gallo Images.Pauline Malefane