The Other La Bohème is literary fiction that depicts the lives and loves of four friends who pursue opera singers’ careers in present-day New York City. Jennifer (soprano), Stephanie (mezzo-soprano), Henry (tenor), and John (baritone) met in music school in Manhattan, where they performed Puccini’s famous opera La Bohème at their graduation concert. After graduation they banded together as a group called the Dolci Quattro, pledging to support one another in their professional pursuits. Several years later, they have landed the roles of Mimi, Musette, Marcello, and Rodolfo in the nearly forgotten opera La Bohème by Leoncavallo—known as “the other La Bohème”—which is to be produced by the New York Bel Canto Opera.
The novel begins with arias and a duet sung by Henry and Stephanie in the Café Momus. Jennifer and John come in, and they congratulate each other on their new roles. Immediately, though, the thoughts of the current state of their personal lives cool their enthusiasm.
As the story unfolds, Jennifer discovers that her fiancé, Richard, an investment banker and a fiction writer, is having an affair with another woman. Stephanie struggles to find a steady love, while perturbed by a strained relationship with her father, a billionaire hedge fund manager, who abandoned her late mother. Henry faces a pressure from his family to renounce his bohemian life for a more respectful career as he meets his new love, Christine, a poet. John receives a summons for divorce from the lawyer of his wife Michelle, a painter.
Set in the rich artistic backdrop of New York City, the Dolci Quattro’s lives and loves go through ups and downs in joy and despair, while true to their pledge they give one another much-needed moral support. As the opening night nears, the Dolci Quattro make their utmost efforts to perfect their singing for the opera that will determine their future.
The Other La Boheme by Yorker Keith is stunning tale of four friends whose lives are falling apart as they prepare for their opera performance. An opera performance that may change their careers forever. I loved how Yorker Keith brought the opera life and the lives of the singers in a three-dimensional way. They popped from the pages. Their troubles felt real and the story continued to captivate as their struggles grew. Each friend pledged to support one another and so they do…but life can be difficult to manage as well as maintain a certain professional appearance in the singing careers. Relationships, family, and friends are major themes of this book. I found it captivating. The writing was easy to follow along and engaging. The characters each faced a different issue and their bond as friends helps. A very realtic novel that everyone can relate to. Overall, The Other La Boheme is a must read for those who love music, opera, and art.