Pacific Opera Project’s riotous send-up of Giacomo Puccini’s tragic romantic opera La bohème, in which the assignations and manic tomfoolery of a gang of young artists are relocated from Paris to modern-day Highland Park, has become something of an annual tradition. POP artistic director Josh Shaw punches up Puccini’s sad and lovely arias with an incredibly sarcastic new libretto with an alternate title, The Hipsters. And yet, even as the cast (this time with Janet Szepei Todd portraying doomed heroine Mimi, and Orson Van Gay playing her ardent lover, Rodolfo) gambol about the Ebell Club’s intimate stage and rhapsodize about Highland Park’s churros and tacos, the opera’s timeless drama shifts from lighthearted to unexpectedly moving as the lovers realize that life is precious and all too fleeting.

Highland Park Ebell Club, 131 S. Avenue 57, Highland Park; Wed., Dec. 11, 8 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., Dec. 13-14, 8 p.m.; $15-$180. (323) 739-6122, pacificoperaproject.com.