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Arts

The ex-Goldman Sachs banker who turned "La Boheme" into a movie

COVID pandemic helped forge a new take on a classic opera

Tenor Ziwen Xiang (left), and soprano Bizhou Chang as the tragic romantic couple Rodolfo and Mimi. (Photo by Laine Rettmer)

HONG KONG -- Armed with infectious enthusiasm and some fresh ideas about opera, former Goldman Sachs partner turned impresario Rumiko Hasegawa founded a theatrical company in 2016 and decided to make a splash in Hong Kong cultural circles with scaled-down, theatrically charged versions of 19th-century operas.

In 2017 came a 90-minute "La Traviata" set in a local shopping mall, then a shortened "Tosca" the next year in a luxury product showroom. Third time, though, was not so lucky. Hasegawa's version of "Carmen" was canceled twice, first in 2019 during Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests, then again in 2020 when the COVID pandemic closed down public venues.

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