Of the operas that appeal to non-opera fans, few are more enticing than La Bohème. Puccini’s timeless tale of how romantic it is to be young and broke in the city (until suddenly you’re old, sick, and broke and it sucks) is immediately relatable for anyone who’s lived in a shitty group house well past the point in life at which you thought you’d have your own place and a real job. Then there’s the sweeping music and eye-popping sets that lend it more of a Broadway musical feel than that of a traditional opera (it was, of course, the inspiration for Rent). As a crowd-pleaser, La Bohème is a sure bet for opera companies, and the Virginia Opera is no exception: It was the first opera the group ever staged, and this is the seventh production of it they’ve mounted. Director Kyle Lang and conductor Adam Turner lead a young cast and tweak the setting a bit, to Paris 1939, on the eve of war, giving the group house melodrama a heightened sense of dread. The opera runs Nov. 14 to Nov. 15 at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax. $48–$90. (866) 673-7282. vaopera.org.