Why do we love it so? I think it is because we love them, their youth and enthusiasm for living. The Santa Fe Opera production of La Boheme achieves this. At Santa Fe all the chorus, bit players and walk-ons are played by the apprentices who bring their youthful enthusiasm to every scene.
The production is very clever. It looks like two streets that meet in the center of the stage until the middle building opens up to become the garrett. The problem at Santa Fe is that the entire facility is quite tiny, so to achieve a relatively spacious looking stage is an achievement.
These days everything is coming up tenors, and La Boheme is no exception. We were won over from the start when David Lomeli, a young Mexican tenor, opened his mouth and out flowed that bright, gorgeous, very Italian sounding voice. He's a winner.
Also worth mentioning are Ana Maria Martinez as Mimi and Heidi Stober as Musetta. I saw Heidi here in Platée four years ago.
La Boheme is many people's favorite opera. For sheer lovability it would be hard to top.