Kristina Bachrach currently lives in Chicago, but is very excited to be back in her home state to perform Musetta in La Femme Bohème. She has played this role once before in an abridged version of La Bohème with Lyric Opera of Virginia.
MWO: How does this current role compare to when you portrayed Musetta with Lyric Opera of Virginia? And how do you see Musetta overall?
KRISTINA: In some ways, they are very similar. With Lyric Opera of Virginia, Musetta was a 1950s cabaret singer. In La Femme Bohème, Musetta is a current day pop star. So there’s the movement forward of the setting by half a decade. And, she is definitely more earthy, more of a hippie.
Musetta really grows up during the opera. In Act 2, she seeks power via attention. She’s very petulant. By Act 4, she’s more aware of other people’s needs. This is probably partially brought on by Mimi’s illness, and just by the passage of time. Musetta is also really affected by Rodolfo and Mimi’s relationship, which is much more profound than her relationship with Marcello.
MWO: And how is Musetta’s relationship with Marcello?
KRISTINA: Oh man, they like each other a lot. They have a really hot physical relationship, but they also fight a lot.
MWO: How is it to play this role opposite another woman?
KRISTINA: Really fun! Everything feels really comfortable, and I can just go for it and go BIG.
MWO: A lot of Musetta’s character is very over-the-top. Does this come easily to you?
KRISTINA: It does not come totally naturally to me, but [our stage director] Julia has been incredibly supportive and has offered lots of great and evocative ideas and images – like the feeling of every gesture being curated within an inch of its life – or the idea of taking up huge amounts of space. It has ended up being incredibly fun, mostly because of the energy from all of the other singers onstage!
MWO: We realize this is a silly question in some respects, but the cast members we’ve interviewed so far have had really interesting, different answers. Do you have a favorite moment in the opera?
KRISTINA: This doesn’t involve Musetta, but I think my favorite moment is Colline’s aria in Act 4. It is one of the only moments of introspection in the whole show. Colline isn’t looking for anything from anyone. Yes, in this production, she interacts with her good friend Schaunard. But she’s just in her own thoughts. It is a quiet moment. And of course the music is really beautiful!
MWO: Anything else you’d like to add?
KRISTINA: I’m really excited to be back in Boston. This is an incredible city for the arts. Really when you think about it, the amount of music per capita is ridiculous. Also, this rehearsal experience has been very positive.