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La Bohème ©2015 Bettina StöB

Puccini La Bohème

The 26 October 2019
Deutsche Oper - Berlin
Program

Puccini : La Bohème

2 h 30 with 1 interval Sung in : Italian
Cast
  • Conductor
    Stephan Zilias
  • Director
    Götz Friedrich
  • Performers
    Mimi: Ekaterina Siurina
    Mimi: Mariangela Sicilia
    Rodolfo: Attilio Glaser
    Rodolfo: Andrei Danilov
    Marcello: Noel Bouley
    Marcello: Samuel Dale Johnson
    Musetta: Elena Tsallagova
    Musetta: Alexandra Hutton
    Colline: Tobias Kehrer
    Schaunard: Philipp Jekal
Details on the Performance

Puccini had already proved his ability as a brilliant musical colourist with EDGAR (1889) and MANON LESCAUT, but it was only with LA BOHÈME that a perfect marriage of subject matter and musical interpretation was finally achieved: Claude Debussy enthusiastically commented, "no one has described the Paris of these days as aptly as Puccini in his LA BOHÈME".

Puccini's impressionistic sound artistry combines subjective emotion with objective tone painting. His tonal elements, his musical descriptions of the ambience and the local colour of his aural tapestry begin to work their magic from the very first scene, when Rodolfo and Marcello set fire to their manuscript and the poet sprinkles drops of water on the face of the unconscious Mimi, and in the second scene, when the chorus, in its role as crowd, is contrasted with the stage orchestra as military parade, and also in the third scene, when economical use is made of carefully selected musical elements to create the atmosphere of a cold winter's morning.

A frosty winter´s day in a Paris garret. Rodolfo, the writer, and Marcello, the painter, are trying to work. They are hungry and without fuel for heating or money to pay their rent. Colline, the philosopher has tried and failed to pawn some books. The musician Schaunard has been more fortunate; he arrives with food, firewood, cigarettes and money. Rodolfo wants to work and his friends depart for Café Momus. His work is interrupted by a neighbour, who is searching for a means to light her dwelling. While making her request she faints and loses the keys to her lodgings. So it is that Rodolfo falls in love with Mimi, the embroiderer who is hopelessly ill with tuberculosis. Two months later he deserts her, unable to look helplessly on while Mimi's illness worsens in his poor, cold hovel. Six months later Musetta, the former mistress of Marcello, brings back the dying Mimi. Musetta sacrifices her earrings for the purchase of medicine, Colline donates his coat. Mimi is grateful and happy. Rodolfo believes that she has fallen into a curative sleep, but Mimi is dead.

From a dramaturgical viewpoint LA BOHÈME retains the strands of an experiment that has remained unique in Puccini's body of work. Libretto authors Ilica and Giacose formed a libretto out of a loose sequence of episodes from Louis Henri Murger's novel. Their artistic maxim consisted in preserving the protagonists and ambience of the novel while allowing a degree of flexibility in the selection and treatment of episodes. They structured their sourcebook into "quadri", images that are held together only by the love story between Rodolfo and Mimi. The relationship between Musetta and Marcello serves as counterpoint.


Source © Deutsche Oper Berlin

  • Venue Info
  • Seating Plan
  • Synopsis

Deutsche Oper - Berlin Location Bismarckstrasse 35 - 10627 Berlin Allemagne

  • Venue's Capacity: 1859

The Venue's History in few words …

Contrary to the Staatsoper Unter den Linden which was founded in the eighteenth century in the centre of town and for a long time considered the Royal Opera, the history of the Berlin Opera began in 1912, in the Charlottenburg neighborhood situated outside the city limits, and intitiated by the rich bourgeoisie. But the inevitable occured, following the economic crisis of World War I, and the Charlottenburg Opera was ultimately purchased by the City of Berlin.

 

Bruno Walter greatly improved the musical qualities of this institution which was rebaptized the Städtische Oper (City Opera). Prior to that, Carl Ebert, as administrator (with Rudolf Bing, the future legendary director of the MET in New York, as assistant), promoted more modern music, including those operas by Kurt Weill or Schreker which Klemperer could no longer perform at the then-closed Kr oll-Oper, and which provoked the ire of the Nazis as early as 1933. In 1945, the building was left in ruins, but by the month of August 45, the company presented FIDELIO at the « Theater des Westerns » and animated that theatre until 1961. During this period, the conductor Ferenc Fricsay, named music director, enabled the Städtische Oper to regain its international ranking, alternating standard repertoire in top-quality productions (where voices such as Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau or Josef Greindl were discovered), works by Stravinsky and Hindemith (who were banned by the Nazis), and world premieres. But in 1955, the Opera Unter den Linden, situated in East Germany, reopened under the name of the Deutsche Staatsoper. Under the influence of this politico-artistic competition, three decisions were made : the Städtische Oper was rebaptized the Deutsche Oper Berlin, plans were made to construct a theatre at the Charlottenburg site (situated in West Berlin), and Carl Ebert who, in the mean­time founded the Glyndebourne Festival, was called back. His productions and season programmes turned West Berlin into one of contemporary opera's main capitals.

Deutsche Oper

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.

Deutsche Oper

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