It’s obvious Mimi isn’t feeling well in Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème, because she wears a shawl in the promotional photo. The opera that inspired Rent, itself based on a French magazine serial that later became a play, features sublime music (Puccini’s famous even among philistines for Madama Butterfly’s soaring, weepy “Un Bel Di”) and, in Arizona Opera’s production, live English surtitles, so it’s actually more comprehensible than its gritty, 1980s-set successor.
Creative types don’t borrow and adapt just for the box office revenue: Good art remains relatable over the centuries. Enjoy Bohème’s timeless universality at Symphony Hall, 75 North Second Street, 7:30 p.m. Friday, January 24, continuing through Sunday, January 26, before it tours to Tucson. One of the divas singing Mimi is heralded for “creamy timbre” and the other for a voice with “deep burgundy coloring.” You can’t lose! Tickets range from $25 to $140 at www.azopera.org or 602-266-7464.