La Bohème, Opera by G. Puccini
Giacomo Puccini had a natural talent for elevating heart-breaking love stories to epic proportions with the magic of his music. La Bohème was the first of his mature operas where his unique style solidified, and its timeless qualities are undisputed. Opera-goers in Prague are in for a truly special experience!
La Bohème was a perfect opportunity for the Maestro to let his creative genius shine: he was in direct competition with Ruggero Leoncavallo, who was composing his own opera based on the same story. Pressed by time and especially by a rival composer’s intention, Puccini let his innermost zeal and musicality pour out onto the pages, and the result was an undeniable masterpiece.
The opera’s score turned out nothing short of fantastic, rich in orchestral characterisation and unique individual leitmotifs to guide the audience through the different scenes and character development situations. The arias have a wide emotional range, sometimes coy and lithe, like ‘Si, mi chiamano Mimi’, and sometimes profoundly sad and soul-baring, like ‘Donde lieta usci’.
The storyline of La Bohème stems from the writings of Henri Murger, Scènes de la vie de bohème. Frequent Puccini collaborators Luigi Illica and Giacomo Giacosa crafted the libretto and achieved the usual magical chemistry between their lyrics and the Maestro’s inspired music.
La Bohème is based around the tragic love story between two Parisian bohemians, the poet Rodolfo and the seamstress Mimí. While we explore their love, we also get to know many of their other friends from the Parisian bohème and find ourselves immersed in their poor yet glorious lifestyle. Rodolfo and Mimí are undeniably in love, but their relationship is doomed by poverty and sickness. To preserve her life, the poet pushes his love away, so she can find a wealthier partner to take better care of her.
Months go by until the dying Mimí shows up on Rodolfo’s doorstep. As the two lovers share a last embrace and confirm their requited love, the seamstress breathes her last. The bittersweet humour and the tragic plot of La Bohème have captured audiences’ hearts for over a century since the opera’s wildly successful premiere at Turin’s Teatro Regio on 1 February 1896.