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La bohème, The Royal Opera Season 201718 © ROH 2017. Photograph by Catherine Ashmore.

Puccini La Bohème

The 31 January 2020
Covent Garden - London
Program

Puccini : La Bohème

2 h 35 Sung in : Italian
Cast
  • Conductor
    Emmanuel Villaume
  • Director
    Richard Jones
  • Performers
    Mimi: Ekaterina Siurina
    Rodolfo: Charles Castronovo
    Marcello: Andrzej Filonczyk
    Musetta: Simona Mihai
    Colline: Peter Kellner
    Schaunard: Gyula Nagy
Details on the Performance

Richard Jones perfectly captures the blend of tragedy and comedy in La bohème, and provides an acute analysis of Puccini’s young would-be artists and their lovers, the soulful Mimì and spirited Musetta. Spectacular designs by Stewart Laing evoke both the poverty of the bohemians’ attic home and the splendour of Paris’s shopping arcades on Christmas Eve.

Puccini’s score is one of his most beautiful, with highlights including Rodolfo and Mimì’s introductory arias and love duet in Act I, ebullient music for the chorus and soloists in Act II, and Mimì’s poignant death scene, over which the composer himself wept. La bohème received its world premiere at the Teatro Regio, Turin, on 1 February 1896, and its Covent Garden premiere the following year. It is currently one of the best-loved operas worldwide, and the opera most performed at the Royal Opera House.

Source © Covent Garden - ROH

  • Venue Info
  • Seating Plan
  • Synopsis
  • Videos

Covent Garden - London Location Bow Street, Covent Garden - WC2E 9DD London Royaume-Uni

  • Venue's Capacity: 2256

The Venue's History in few words …

Covent Garden's lyrical tradition goes back to the eighteenth century. It is here, for example, in a theatre constructed in 1732 by John Rich, the successful producer of THE BEGGAR'S OPERA, that the London public discovered several of Handel's operas.

Covent Garden then also staged plays and pantomime, a tradition which continued well into the thirties. The theatre has since hosted the most diverse productions, including cinema, cabaret, ice shows, and the circus. Today only opera and dance (The Royal Ballet) share the season.

 

As is the case with many an opera house. Covent Garden's life history was interrupted by fire, which twice destroyed the building. The second Royal Opera was inaugurated in 1809. Weber composed OBERON for the theatre, and conducted its premiere in 1826; the next year, Beethoven's F ID EU o was staged. From 1847, Covent Garden most often scheduled the Italian repertoire, with works by Rossini and Verdi. After the fire that demolished the second theatre in 1856, and until 1914, the third opera house built on the Covent Garden site became known as the theatre that hired the world's leading artists (like Nellie Melba, Caruso, and Adelina Patti, who refused all rehearsals by contract), and paid them royally. Several legendary conductors furthered the Royal Opera House's reputation after the First World War, such as Bruno Walter, and, of course, Thomas Beecham, who introduced the opera of Richard Strauss.

 

During the Second World War, Covent Garden became a "Palais de Dance" (sic). At the end of the war, following an intense period of negogiations. the ambitious decision was made to found a permanent opera company. Karl Rankl was appointed the first Music Director of the Covent Garden Opera Company (it became The Royal Opera in 1968) which gave its first performance in 1947.

 

Rankl's successors - Rafael Kubelik, Georg Solti, Colin Davis, and Bernard Haitink - have managed to maintain the company spirit and even the most celebrated guest artists are obliged to attend rehearsals.

Covent Garden

The seating plan is given as an indication and has no contractual value.
The division of categories may differ depending on shows and dates.

Synopsis

La Bohème

LA BOHEME: ONE OF THE WORLD'S MOST POPULAR OPERAS

La bohème is a very popular opera in 4 acts enjoyed around the world.La bohème was composed by Giacomo Puccini from an Italian libretto, written by Luigi Illica and Guiseppe Giacosa. Since its first performance in 1896 this opera has become one of the most frequently performed and is rarely absent from an opera house somewhere in the world. La bohème has the distinction of having the only recording of a Puccini opera by its original conductor Toscanini. He made the recording 50 years after first conducting the opera at its premiere in Turin. 

HISTORY
Puccini's opera is a moving tale of young and tragic love set in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the early 19th C. It is centred around the garrets of struggling bohemians, where manuscripts are used as fuel to keep them warm and rent goes unpaid. Rodolfo and Mimi meet and fall in love but poverty and illness drive them apart until the end where she dies tragically in his arms.

Act 1
The artist Marcello and Rodolfo the writer and their friends try to keep warm and find enough money for food and rent. Unable to pay the rent they trick their landlord Benoit. When Rodolfo's friends leave for a cafe, he remains behind to write, but is disturbed by a neighbour, Mimi, who is looking for a light for her candle. Rodolfo's candle is also blown out and in the dark they start talking about their dreams, beginning to fall in love.

Act 2
Rodolfo takes Mimi to the cafe and introduces her to his friends. Musetta, a former girlfriend of Marcello's, makes a noisy entrance with her wealthy new lover, Alcindoro. Musetta does her best to regain Marcello's attention, eventually sending Alcindoro away. The group charge their food and drink to Alcindoro's account. A procession of soldiers marches by the cafe and the group of bohemians fall in behind them.

Act 3
Problems arise between the couple as Rodolfo pretends to be jealous and accuse Mimi of being unfaithful. She turns to Marcello for advice. Rodolfo arrives next and Mimi hides. Rodolfo tells Marcello that they must part as she is too fickle but Marcello does not believe this and Rodolfo confesses that he fears Mimi's cough will get worse if she lives in poverty with him. Mimi confronts him and they decide to stay together for a while longer. Meanwhile Marcello and Musetta quarrel noisily and part.

Act 4
Marcello and Rodolfo are now alone and lamenting their past loves. Musetta bursts in to say that a weak and ill Mimi is downstairs. Rodolfo carries her in and Musetta sends Marcello to sell her jewellery to buy medicine. As Rodolfo and Mimi recall their past love and time together she is overtaken with a fit of coughing and becomes unconscious. The opera ends with Rodolfo despairingly calling her name.

MAIN ROLES
Rodolfo - an impoverished writer.
Marcello - his friend, an impoverished artist.
Mimi - Rodolfo's girlfriend.
Musetta - Marcello's girlfriend.
Benoit - their landlord.
Alcindoro - Musetta's rich lover.

Covent Garden

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