Greek native Eleni Calenos lives in New York, but she has traveled to Boise twice to perform as part of Opera Idaho's productions. During her last visit, she played Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly. On Friday, Feb. 17, and Sunday, Feb. 19, at the Egyptian Theatre, she'll play the role of Mimi, the coquette lead female in La Boheme by Giacomo Puccini.
"The focal point of the whole story is the relationship between Mimi and Rodolfo," Calenos told Boise Weekly. "And there's a parallel love story of his roommate Marcello and Rosetta, who is a singer."
Set in the 19th century, the opera focuses on a group of young bohemians in the Latin Quarter of Paris. Calenos said she got much of her character and love of the music from a trip to the City of Lights.
"The last time I was there was this fall," she said. "I stayed with a friend of mine in Montmartre ... she lives in the last floor almost like a bohemian. When I open the window, I have the view of the rooftops of Paris, of Montmartre, which is what I'm singing about in my arias."
Calenos said having that personal connection to the place "changes the senses" when approaching a role. While the opera includes arias from the four main characters of the opera, it also features adult and youth choral groups, perfectly synchronized to weave the beautiful tapestry of bohemian romance.
"They're trying to retain their romantic view of life, their ideals," Calenos said of the characters. "But at the same time, they're striving, because the only means they have for their livelihood is their life. So, it's like us. I can relate 100 percent to them."
Enter for a chance to win tickets from Boise Weekly here.