«Bohème failed opera will not tour», wrote on a telegram the agent Carlo D'Ormeville, after the fiasco debut of the Opera wirtten by the Italian composer Opera scritta dal compositore italiano Giacomo Puccini at Teatro Regio in Turin in 1896. Never a prediction was more mistaken. The opera became very soon a world success and today it is still one of the most represented. We've watched Mimì dying in many different ways, as times changed and directors followed. We've even seen her dying for overdose and AIDS, but watching the lives of these young people who hope, love and have to learn how to deal with adulthood, remains a timeless story. La Bohème inspired musicals and movies: Rent by Jonathan Larson, set in New York in the time of AIDS, is the transposition of the opera in modern times and there are some themes by Puccini, like Musetta's waltz). Moulin Rouge by Baz Luhrmann, with Nicole Kidman and Ewan MacGregor, is a brilliant mix between Verdi's Traviata and La Bohème. «The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return», just as they sing in the film. Maybe that's the real message in Bohème.
Synopsis La bohème
Paris, the 1830s. It's Christmas Eve and in their Latin Quarter attic, the painter Marcello and poet Rodolfo try to keep warm by burning pages from Rodolfo's latest drama in the stove. They are joined by their roommates: Colline, a philosopher, and Schaunard, a musician, who brings food, fuel, and funds he got given by a student. Benoit, the landlord, comes to receive his rent but the friends distract the man with wine and then manage to send him out without his money. They decide to go to the Café Momus but Rodolfo is left behind to finish his writing. There is a knock at the door: it's thier pretty neighbour, Mimì, whose candle has gone out and is looking for help. Rodolfo re-lights it but Mimì realizes she has lost her key, and now both candles are blown out. The two search for the key in the darkness. Rodolfo finds it but puts it in his pocket because he wants to spend some more time with her. Mimì recounts her life alone in the attic, embroidering flowers. Rodolfo's friends are calling him from outside and he decides to join his friends with the girl he now is in love with. Mimì and Rodolfo hug and leave together for the café.
Che gelida manina, Rodolfo's Aria
Sì, mi chiamano Mimì,Mimì's Aria
O soave fanciulla, Rodolfo and Mimì's Duet
At the Café, Rodolfo introduces Mimì to his friends. Marcello's former sweetheart, Musetta, gets in with the elderly but wealthy Alcindoro. Noticing Marcello, Musetta tries to regain his attention, singing a waltz about her popularity. Then she falls into Marcello's arms and tells the waiter to charge everything to Alcindoro while she and Marcello, now reunited, leave with their friends.
Quando men vo,Musetta's Valzer
Mimì is searching for the place where Marcello and Musetta now live. When the painter comes out, she tells him about her and Rodolfo's fall out due to his constant jealousy. She says they should separate but when Rodolfo appears from the tavern, Mimì hides and Marcello thinks she has gone. The poet tells Marcello that he wants to separate from her too because her coughing can only grow worse in the poverty they share. He fears she will die soon. Mimì stumbles forward to bid her lover farewell and the couple recall past happiness. Mimì and Rodolfo decide to remain together until spring while Musetta and Marcello decide to break up.
Donde lieta uscì, Mimì's Aria
Rodolfo and Marcello complain about their loneliness in the attic when suddenly Musetta bursts in to tell them that Mimì is outside, too weak to come upstairs. Rodolfo carries her in, while Musetta asks Marcello to sell her earrings for medicine and Colline goes off to pawn his overcoat for more money to help their friend. Left alone, Mimì and Rodolfo recall their first meeting and their happy days, but she is seized with violent coughing. The others return and Mimì seems to be falling asleep. When Rodolfo realizes that she is dead, he throws himself despairingly on her body, calling her name.