Rebecca Worthington has performed in La Bohème before as a chorus member. For La Femme Bohème, she is playing Rodolfo opposite of Laura Ethington as Mimi. Their relationship on stage is very relatable and touching. Here’s some great insight from Rebecca on how she has gone about crafting her character.
MWO: Do past performances influence your portrayal of Rodolfo at all?
REBECCA: Back in March of 2015, I did a chorus role in La Bohème for Opera Birmingham. How could you not instantly fall in love with this gorgeous music? Our production then was very classic and set in the appropriate time period. MetroWest’s production is just so wonderfully different – there’s really no way to compare or let past iterations of Rodolfo seep in.
MWO: How do you see your character? Are there specific things you’ll do differently because the character is now a woman?
REBECCA: Rodolfo definitely has the gift of gab. Her way with words is how she makes her living, woos lovers, and finds her way out of sticky situations. She is the ultimate idealist and romantic and is so passionate in pursuing her dreams. Rodolfo is also still very feminine, which I love and can easily identify with. Some coaches I have worked with have been skeptical of how Rodolfo could work [as a female] because, from their point of view, Puccini’s music sounds so masculine. While I can see their point, I don’t hear masculinity in the music. I hear passion, swagger, anger, playfulness, despair, longing – none of these are gender-specific.
MWO: What has been challenging for you?
REBECCA: The thing that has been difficult for me is that in our show, Rodolfo is a bit of a player. My biggest inspiration is actually from another opera: Carmen. Bizet’s title character is perhaps most well-known for her sexiness, but this is not the crux of who she is. She is really someone who feels every emotion so fiercely that she must follow them to their end. Her looks and demeanor are only tools for how she makes her way through life. If she loves you, she REALLY loves you, if only for a night. Rodolfo perhaps is not quite as ruthless as Carmen, but the same idea applies – she follows her heart more than her head. Her heart has led her to an intensely loyal family of friends and to the greatest love of her life: Mimi.
MWO: What do you think will be special about doing this with an all-female cast?
REBECCA: Honestly, I have had mixed emotions about singing with all ladies – more musically than anything else. I really wondered with all the duets and ensembles how female voices would sound together. That fear was put to rest the first night of music rehearsal I attended. The cast members are all such talented singers, and I am so privileged to get to sing with them. These girls have all been so supportive and encouraging also. I’ve not heard one ill word or gossip spoken by any cast member. We chat like old friends in our breaks even though we’ve only known each other for a couple of weeks. It’s been super refreshing.