The fateful love of a poet
It’s soon Christmas and the delicate Mimì steps into poet Rodolfo’s life. Their love is overshadowed by illness, and when spring arrives with its comforting rays, Mimì is becoming increasingly frail. The fleeting moments of joy have passed, and soon Mimì’s hands will be forever cold.
The sincerity of the young protagonists’ feelings and Puccini’s heartrending music have made La Bohème a firm favourite in every opera house. Katariina Lahti’s realistic, compelling direction takes the audience on an emotional journey into the bohemian Paris of yesteryear.
Recommended for children over the age of 9.
It’s Christmas Eve in Paris, and the bohemian artists’ attic room is freezing cold. When the landlord arrives to collect the rent, the four friends throw him out. They decide to spend the money on a proper dinner instead.
Poet Rodolfo stays at home to write as the others head out to Café Momus. Mimì from next door knocks on the door, asking Rodolfo to light her candle, which has gone out. Coughing, she gets ready to leave but realises she has dropped her key. While the two look for it together, Rodolfo takes her hand. They tell each other their life stories and fall in love.
It’s busy outside Cafè Momus: street traders, families, loners, the rich and the poor are all out for Christmas. Rodolfo has bought Mimì a bonnet. He presents her to his friends.
On a February morning, Mimì comes to meet Marcello. She opens up about Rodolfo’s jealousy and how it’s driving them to separation. When Rodolfo arrives, Mimì hides and we hear Rodolfo’s side of the story. A coughing fit exposes Mimì, who tells Rodolfo that they must break up.
Spring has arrived. The bohemians still live in their attic room, as poor as before. Musetta enters with the critically ill Mimì, saying that Mimì has left her lover and wants to die with Rodolfo by her side. Once left alone, Mimì and Rodolfo reminisce about their first encounter. Mimì says Rodolfo is her entire life, her love, her everything.
A doctor has been summoned, but help arrives too late. Mimì’s final words are followed by silence. It takes a moment before Rodolfo understands what has happened.
”There are only two topics worth addressing in opera: love and death. La Bohème is about both, the entire narrative being a struggle between the two. When the warmth of the sun eagerly awaited by Mimì finally arrives, her hands grow cold forever. Death triumphs over light through poverty.”
– Katariina Lahti
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