First Coast Opera to stage ‘La Bohème’ Dec. 30-31


First Coast Opera will stage Puccini’s masterpiece, “La Bohème,” on New Year’s Eve weekend — with two performances Dec. 30-31 in Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College, 14 Granada St., downtown St. Augustine. The fully staged opera will include a cast of opera singers from throughout the United States, along with a live orchestra. Tickets are available at

Experience this iconic opera while ringing in the New Year. “La Bohème” debuted in 1896 at the Teatro Regio in Turin, Italy — 127 years after its premiere, Giacomo Puccini’s “La Bohème” arguably remains the most popular opera in the world.

The Dec. 30 matinee performance will be preceded with a pre-show talk at 1 p.m., with the performance to begin at 2 p.m.

The Dec. 31 performance will be preceded with a pre-show talk at 6:30 p.m., followed by the performance at 7:30 p.m. A glass of complimentary champagne will be served to patrons during intermission for the New Year’s Eve celebration.

“La Bohème” is directed by Helena Binder, who returns to First Coast Opera after directing Opera Mystique in February and Verdi's “La Traviata” last season. Performing artists include Ganson Salmon as Rodolfo; Julia Radosz as Mimì, Steve Valenzuela as Marcello; McKenna Slack as Musetta; Thomas Gunther as Schaunard; Edwin Davis as Colline; Paul Houghtaling as Benoît and Alcindoro; Esteban Cano as Parpignol.

First Coast Opera launched its new season Oct. 27-28 with Copland’s “America,” its annual dinner show. Patrons enjoyed a meal provided by St. Augustine’s own La Cocina International


General and Artistic Director Curtis Tucker narrated the program and even took a turn on stage. Tucker was recognized on the occasion of his 10th anniversary with the company. 

Upcoming 2024 events include:

  • The Roaring ’20s Gala: Feb. 14 at Lightner Museum, 75 King St., in downtown St. Augustine. Find your flapper dresses and zoot suits and step into the Roaring 1920s on Valentine’s Day. Celebrate with a night filled with sumptuous food and cocktails, lively dancing and exciting auctions. This event is sponsored by The Treasury on the Plaza and Lightner Museum. Tickets are available at
  • “The Pirates of Penzance” on March 15 and 17 in Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College. Be swept away by Gilbert and Sullivan’s beloved operetta. Unforgettable characters and catchy tunes will have guests tapping their toes and laughing out loud. Tickets are available at

First Coast Opera season supporters include the Truist Foundation; Bank of America; Treasury on the Plaza; Tiberio Foundation; Fisher, Tousey, Leas & Ball, P.A; Gathered Events and Rentals; and Ameriprise. 

First Coast Opera is sponsored in part by the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council and the Florida Division of Arts and Culture.