La Bohème, Opera by G. Puccini
Opera with music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto: Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica, based on the novel “Scenes de la Vie Boheme” by Henry Murger.
La Bohème was performed for the first time in Turin at the Teatro Regio on 1 February 1896 and met with only a lukewarm response, mainly due to conflicting opinions about the piece. Nevertheless, critics and audiences soon laid aside their differences and La Bohème is now regarded as a masterpiece of lyrical art and Puccini as one of the great lyrical composers.
Puccini based his work on the novel by Murger, to which he made a number of alterations, and also added a number of autobiographical incidents. As a result, the story of La Bohème diverges from the literary text.
Completion of the libretto took more than two years. The changes undoubtedly turned the libretto into one of the best in opera history, as they ensure a narrative continuity not found in the novel. In La Bohème, Puccini alternated between light song and conversation, between chamber music for intimate scenes and a powerful intervention of the full orchestra. With an excellent result.
This work also features a new type of hero and is set in a world previously unseen in opera. The story tells the tale of young bohemian artists, poverty-stricken and afflicted by troubles but enjoying the pleasures of everyday life. Puccini was the first composer to portray life on the streets of Paris with so much realism.
In reality, this opera is a half-true tragedy and a moving piece of poetry.
The story takes place in a Latin quarter of Paris in 1840.
Main characters and roles:
- Marcello, a painter (baritone): Gabriel Bermudez (4, 7, 11 December 2013), Adrian Eröd (19, 22, 26, 29 March 2014)
- Rodolfo, a poet (tenor): Vittorio Grigolo (4, 7, 11 December 2013), Ramón Vargas (19, 22, 26, 29 March 2014)
- Mimi, poor seamstress (soprano): Angela Gheorghiu (4, 7, 11 December 2013), Maija Kovalevska (19, 22, 26, 29 March 2014)
- Musetta, Marcello's mistress (soprano): Valentina Naforniţă (4, 7, 11 December 2013, 19, 22 March 2014), Ileana Tonca (26, 29 March 2014)
- Colline, a philosopher (bass)
- Schaunard, a musician (baritone)
- Benoit, landlord of the artists (bass)
- Parpignol, a toy seller (tenor)
- Alcindoro, Musetta's suitor (bass)