La Bohème

G. Puccini
Duration 0 годин, 0 хвилин

La Bohème

Duration 0 годин, 0 хвилин

Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa based on the novel of Henri Murger “Scenes of Bohemian Life” “La bohème” is one of the most famous operas of the famous Italian composer Giacomo Puccini. Having heard the opera for the first time, you will never forget its touching melodies and emotional music. The central idea of the plot is the evocation of feelings, tender love and, at the same time, the Parisian bohemian love for life. But fate brings in its verdict: sometimes happiness seems so close, and then it becomes beyond our reach in a moment.

The opera is performed in Italian with Ukrainian subtitles



Set designer

Costume designer

Сhief chorus master

Officials and performers

Rodolfo, a poet

Mykhajlo Malafij

Roman Trochymuk

Maksym Vorochek

Mimì, a seamstress

Luydmyla Korsun

Lyubov Kachala

Daryna Lytovchenko

Mariana Mazur

Marcello, a painter

Petro Radeyko

Orest Sydir

Roman Strakhov

Schaunard, a musician

Vitalij Zagorbenskyj

Roman Strakhov

Yurii Shevchuk

Colline, a philosopher

Taras Berezhanskyy

Volodymyr Dutchak

Yurii Trytsetskyi

Volodymyr Shynkarenko

Musetta, a singer

Alina Didenko

Anastasiya Kornutyak

Marianna Tsvietinska

Benoît, their landlord

Dmytro Kokotko

Alcindoro, a state councillor

Ihor Mikhnevych

Yurii Trytsetskyi

Parpignol, a toy vendor

Олег Лановий

Yuriy Hetsko

Oleh Lykhach

Vitaliy Rozdaihora

A customs Sergeant

Mykola Kornutyak

Event Libretto

Act 1

In the garret

It is Christmas Day. A cold room affirms the poverty and total indifference of its inhabitants to household. Poet Rodolfo gazes dreamily out of the window. Painter Marcello is painting with his nearly stiffened fingers, hoping that his masterpiece will bring him fame.

Young men meet life’s misfortunes with humour. Company warmly greets their friends, a philosopher Colline and a musician Schaunard, who has managed to earn some money.  Friends bring firewood, food and wine.

Benoit, the landlord interrupts their banquet. He comes to collect the rent. Marchello flatters him and plies him with wine. Being drunk, Benoit begins to boast of his love affaires, but when he reveals that he is married, they thrust him from the room with comic moral indignation but without any money and go out to have some fun. Only Rodolfo stays at home, he has to finish an article for a magazine.

It is knocking at the door. A neighbor, Mimi, comes to ask for a fire. Young people get talking. Mimi drops a key. Suddenly the candle goes out so it is very difficult to find the key. It is impossible because Rodolfo has found the key and put it into his pocket. They both want to continue their conversation. Young people talk about their life and fall in love.

Act 2

Quartier Latin

The streets are overcrowded with joyful people. The four friends have decided to enjoy themselves in a cafe. Rodolfo comes with Mimi. He has presented her a bonnet which she admires greatly.

Musetta comes with her new admirer, an old rich Alcindoro. She wants to provoke Marchello’s jealousy. Musetta and Marcherllo had once been a beloved couple but they parted, however “their hearts are still beating in unison”. Everybody can notice it. Musetta is “naughty” to attract attention of her beloved Marcello who is pretending to be indifferent. Finally the girl decides to send old Alcindor away to embrace her beloved Marcello once again. Cheerful company is celebrating victory of love, singing a hymn to beautiful Musetta.

Act 3

At the tollgate

On the outskirts of the city in the tavern Marcello paints and Musetta sings.

It is winter daybreak. Workers pass through barriers and enter the city. Mimi appears. Knowing that Marcello is working there she tries to find him. Perhaps he knows where Rodolfo is.

Mimi retells Marcello a sad story of her love: Rodolfo was terribly jealous of her and they parted yesterday.

Rodolfo comes out of the tavern. Mimi hides and overhears Rodolfo telling Marcello that Mimi is mortally ill. Miserable Mimi hears everything. Her weeping and coughing reveal her presence, and Rodolfo hurries to her. Musetta’s laughter is heard and Marcello goes to find out what has happened.  Mimì tells Rodolfo that they have to part.

Musetta and Marcello come out of the tavern with shouts. Another quarrel has ruined their temporary reconciliation.

Problems of their friends make Mimi and Rodolfo understand that their love, which unites their hearts, is the most important thing.  However, bitter reality makes them separate till better time.

Act 4

In the garret

Rodolfo is writing and Marcello is painting, but they cannot work calmly. They think about their beloved. Sadness is changed by joy as Schaunard and Colline bring food. The friends are singing, dancing and having fun.

Suddenly Musetta enters. She brings Mimi who has parted with her lover and wants to die near Rodolfo. Mimi is weak and trembling with cold. Musetta proposes Marcello to sell her earrings to pay a doctor. Marcello and Musetta, Schaunard and Collen who promised to sell his coat to buy medicine leave. Mimi and Rodolfo stay alone. They recall how they got acquainted.

Mimi is overwhelmed by a coughing fit. Friends return. Marcello brings medicine and Musetta brings a muff, which has been presented to Mimi by Rodolfo.

Mimi is getting warm and falls asleep not to be awoken for good.

Short Description

“La bohème” is one of the most famous operas of all time, so it is in the repertoire of almost every opera house in the world. “La boheme” was staged in Lviv Opera a year after its opening (at that time – the Great City Theatre), so its Lviv premiere took place in 1901. Giacomo Puccini began to write the opera, inspired by the tremendous success of his previous opera “Manon Lescaut”. The literary source of the new opera was the novel of French writer Henri Murger “Scenes of Bohemian Life” (1851), about the lives of French artists – residents of the Latin Quarter, a well-known bohemian area in the centre of Paris. The main characters, four friends – the poet Rodolfo, the painter Marcello, the philosopher Colline and the musician Schaunard suffer financial hardship, but they do not lose their sense of humour and do not give up joys of life. Interestingly, all the main characters had prototypes in real life, and therefore their characters, brilliantly embodied in Puccini’s music, were depicted as perfectly genuine and evoked empathy from the spectators. Well-known librettists Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa were invited to write the libretto based on the plot of Murger’s novel. Such cooperation helped Puccini create the most famous triad – the operas “La bohème”, “Tosca” and “Madama Butterfly”. On the way to creating one of his great masterpieces, the composer constantly faced tough challenges. One was the bitter rivalry and destruction of Puccini’s friendship with famous composer Ruggero Leoncavallo. A month after the great premiere of “Manon Lescaut”, the composers met in Milan and accidentally discovered they were interested in the same subject. Leoncavallo and his publisher Eduardo Sonzogno decided to outrun Puccini and announced in the press that the composer intended to write “La boheme”. In his letter to the chief manager of the “Corriere della Sera”, Puccini wrote: “…Certainly, if Maestro Leoncavallo, with whom we are close friends, had told me earlier about what he unexpectedly announced yesterday, I would not have thought about Murger’s “Bohemian Life”… Let him write the music, and I will write too. Let the audience judge.” And the audience announced the verdict. A year after the premiere of “La bohème”, Leoncavallo left the stage and now his works are rarely performed, while Puccini’s masterpiece retains its popularity even a century later. The next problem for the composer was the death of the author of the literary source, Henri Murger, and considering certain copyright issues. The joint work of Puccini, Illika and Giacosa on the libretto was also challenging and tiring. Due to numerous edits and disputes, it continued for more than two years. But the première performance of “La bohème”, which took place in Turin on 1 February 1896 at the Teatro Regio, was a serious challenge for the composer. “La bohème” received a lukewarm response from the spectators and critics, especially after the remarkable success of Puccini’s previous opera “Manon Lescaut”. The composer was accused of self-quoting, creating a secondary, commonplace opera. The most bitter were the local critics, who wrote that “La boheme” did not touch the hearts and minds of the audience, so it will not leave its mark in the history of our lyric theatre…” (La gazzetta piemontese); “The music of “La boheme” is a real music for the instant pleasure… and in this statement, there is both praise and criticism” (La gazzetta di Torino). The great conductor Arturo Toscanini, who Puccini invited to conduct the premiere of “La boheme”, explained the reason for a lukewarm response. Maestro Toscanini suggested that a similar reaction from the public and critics was influenced by another premiere of the season – Wagner’s “Götterdämmerung”. Under the impression of Wagner’s operas’ orchestral massiveness and scale, the audience could not switch to a completely different figurative world – the world of sensual drama and sentiments. However, Puccini’s publisher and patron, Giulio Ricordi, continued to believe that his protégé had created another masterpiece and that the spectators would surely appreciate “La boheme” in the future. And he was not mistaken. Although every opera lover knows all the arias and scenes by heart, Puccini’s masterpiece is played to the full house, making the audience sympathize with the story of close friendship and doomed love.

Alina Plakhtiienko Musicologist