A new performance of the famous Puccini opera La Boheme is set to light up Sydney Harbour, and a Taylors Lakes local will be taking centre stage.

Veteran performer John Bolton Wood has performed the opera nearly 300 times, but is taking on the dual roles of Benoit and Alcindoro for the first time.

“I’ve played other roles in this in the past, but at this stage of my life, being 76, I’m playing a miserable old landlord in act one and a dirty old man in act two,” Wood said.

“This production is very different from others I’ve done so it keeps things interesting and exciting.”

The famous opera is set in 1967 Paris, something very close to Wood’s heart

“I actually visited Paris in 1965 to see Maria Callas sing Tosca, and I’m the only person in this production who was alive in 1967, so I was able to give the director some first-hand knowledge of what Paris was like back then,” he said.

“I vividly remember standing at top of the grand staircase at the Paris Opera and watching General Charles De Gaulle and Brigitte Bardot come up the steps with the famous film stars of the time, so it was a wonderful time to be there.”

Wood has called Taylors Lakes home for the past three years.

“I came here thinking I was going to retire, and I‘ve always loved Melbourne and have many friends here,” he said.

“It’s proved to be a very happy time, and I wanted to find somewhere I could enjoy living and spend a good deal of time.”

Opera Australia’s production of La Boheme will run in Sydney from March 23 to April 22.

Details: www.opera.org.au