Boheme, La

Composer: Puccini, Giacomo

Version: English version by Jeremy Sams

La bohème premiered in Turin on February 1, 1896. It is considered by many to be Puccini’s finest score, and has deservedly become one of the most frequently performed operas of all time. SYNOPSIS: Paris, around 1830. Students Rudolphe (the Poet) and Marcel (the Artist) are at work in their garret, cold and hungry. Schaunard (the Musician) appears, having had an unexpected windfall, and he brings with him an extravagant feast - which they proceed to enjoy, along with another friend, Colline (the Philosopher). When the landlord comes to demand his long-overdue rent, they merrily force him to join them at supper. After supper three of them go off to a fair, but Rudolphe remains behind, promising to join them later. He is interrupted by Mimi, an embroiderer, who has come for a light, and who half-faints on her entrance, being very frail, and consumptive. Rudolphe and Mimi confess their love for one another. The friends take refreshment outside Café Momus, where Marcel meets his sweetheart, Musette. She is accepting the attentions of a rich banker, but despatches him to buy her some shoes, and quickly makes friends with her beloved Marcel once more. There are many quarrels and reconciliations between the two pairs of lovers. Eventually, Musette arrives at the garret, and announces that she has brought Mimi, who is now close to dying. Rudolphe lays her upon his bed, and the other students go out to pawn their coats in order to buy wine and restoratives for the dying girl. But Mimi is beyond all help, and she expires happily in Rudolphe’s arms.