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Puccini, G. (1858-1924)


La Boheme

The Bohemians





Composed 1893-1895; revised 1896.
First performed February 1, 1896.
Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica (in Itarian),
after Murger.




A Summary of gLa Bohemeh



Act 1
Around 1830, in Paris, France, there are four Bohemians, the poet Rodolfo, the painter Marcello, the musician Schaunard, and the philosopher Colline in an old attic. They are poor, but happy. On the night of Christmas Eve, they all intend to go to a bar, but Rodolfo has not finished writing his poem yet. Rodolfo promises to join them soon, and the others leave.
A neighbor, Mimi, knocks on Rodolfofs door, and she asks him to light her candle for her. But, Rodolfofs candle goes out, too. At the moment, Mimi accidentally drops her key. When the two search for it in the dark, they touch each otherfs hand. They fall in love then.

Act 2
At the Cafe Momus, Rodolfo introduces Mimi to his three friends. And, Musetta who is the painter Marcellofs lover arrives. Six members enjoy thier Christmas Eve.

Act 3
The next year, in February, Mimi visits Musetta and Marcello. Mimi consults Musetta about Rodolfo who is recently cold to her. Then, Rodolfo visits Marcello. Mimi hides at once. Rodolfo says to Marcello, gI love Mimi, but she has tuberculosis. I am poor, and I canft buy any medicine for her, and canft take care of her. I should say goodbye to her.h Then, Rodolfo notices Mimi. They love each other, but they decide to choose to live separately.

Act 4
After some time, the four poor Bohemians live happily as usual. Musetta runs into their room with the dying Mimi. Mimi really wants to die at Rodolfofs side. His friends go out to come up with the money to buy medicine for her. Rodolfo and Mimi remember the time they enjoyed together before. When their friends come back, Mimi takes her last breath. Rodolfo shouts Mimifs name, and breaks down crying.




A Comment on gLa Bohemeh



eLa Bohemef means eBohemian.f Around 1830, in Paris, France, there were a lot of prospective artists who are poor, but happy. Giacomo Puccini described their ordinary life in his opera. When Puccini was in his twenties, he went to Milan from his hometown, Lucca, and he studied hard there. So, I heard that Puccini was so attached to this opera.

The scene, in which Rodolfo and Mimi fall in love in act 1, is the most famous for operagoers. When the two search for the house key in the dark, Rodolfo finds and conceals it in his pocket. He continues to search for it pretending he hasnft found it, he touches Mimifs hand. Then, Rodolfo sings his aria, gChe gelida manina (What a cold little hand).h Following his aria, Mimi sings her aria, gSi, mi chiamano Mimi (Yes, they call me Mimi).h They fall in love from the moment that they sing their only two arias. You will be fascinated by Puccinifs magical music.

In the last scene, however, Mimi dies while being watched by her friends. Rodolfo noticed her death from the look on her friendsf faces. Why do you look at me? Why do you have such faces? Rodolfo shouts Mimifs name twice. This last scene will certainly move you.





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