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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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La Bohème | 18 Performances
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