La bohème at the semper opera dresden
Scenes of »La vie de Bohème« (Henri Murger) in four pictures
Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica
Performed in Italian with German and English supertitles
La Bohème is based on the novel Scenes de la vie de boheme, a collection of stories which describes the life of young bohemians living in Paris in the 1840s, written by Henry Murger. Puccini was a composer of the Italian style verismo, which was incredibly realistic, and often violent. The style portrayed realistic characters in everyday lives, and were often depictions of lower classes. La Bohème exemplifies this style, and is one of the most performed operas in history since its premiere. The opera between 1890 and 1920 focuses on all-day life and realism. Premiered 1896 in Torino with Arturo Toscanini as conductor, the opera achieved - ignoring the bad reviews in the beginning - world-wide success. Today, "La bohème" is one of the most played operas.
Four friends in 1830 winter Paris - freezing, bitterly poor and a manuscript their only heating material - are waiting for Christmas. Mimi, the neighbour, knocks on the door and asks for a light for her candle. Rodolfo, the writer, immediately falls in love with that strange girl. However, Mimi is revealed to be very ill, and Rodolfo struggles to come to terms with the fact that she will inevitably die. Rodolfo and Mimi break up, and months later, Musetta discovers Mimi extremely sick and close to death. She brings Mimi to Rodolfo and Marcello's apartment. Almost as soon as the two are reunited and have professed their love for one another, Mimì is overwhelmed by a coughing fit, and dies. Rodolfo weeps by her bedside.