Giacomo Puccini composer
Text by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica
Based on Henri Murger’s Scènes de la Vie de Bohème
Sung in Italian
In the bohemians’ garret apartment on Christmas Eve, Marcello is painting while Rodolfo writes. They have no firewood so Rodolfo burns his manuscript for heat. Colline and Schaunard arrive, the latter laden with fuel and food. The landlord shows up to demand the rent, but the bohemians feign indignation at his scandalous past and throw him out. As the others go off to celebrate the holiday, Rodolfo stays to finish an article. He is interrupted by Mimi, who requests a light for her candle. Mimi suddenly collapses in a fit of coughing. As she is about to leave, Mimi discovers that she has dropped her key. As they search in the darkness, Rodolfo finds her key and then touches her hand. It is ice-cold, so he offers to warm her hands with his own. He tells of his life as a poet and she describes her work making embroidery. They begin to fall in love
Musetta, who alternatively loves and quarrels with Marcello, arrives at the Café Momus with the doddering but wealthy Alcindoro. When she sees Mimi and the four young men, she pretends that her shoe is too tight and sends Alcindoro off to buy another pair. Musetta and Marcello embrace and everyone orders expensive suppers. When Alcindoro returns, they run off, leaving him to pay the bill.
A check-point in the city, months later, at dawn. Mimi appears, coughing and weak. A message from her brings Marcello out of a tavern. Rodolfo and Musetta are inside, but Mimi refuses to join them. She tells Marcello of Rodolfo’s jealousy and says they must part. Just then Rodolfo confesses his fears for her health. Overcome, her sobs giver her away. Regretfully, the two lovers remember happier times. They agree that they must separate. Meanwhile, Marcello discovers Musetta flirting with one of the men in the tavern. Their violent quarrel breaks through Mimi’s and Rodolfo’s poignant farewell.
Back in their garret apartment, Marcello and Rodolfo long for their lost loves. When Schaunard and Colline return, the four friends attempt to forget their sorrows through some horseplay. Musetta appears and announces that Mimi is dying. As a last request, she wants to return to the attic where she met Rodolfo. He helps the fragile girl to a cot. Musetta gives her earrings to Marcello, asking him to buy medicine for the dying girl, then goes to buy a muff for Mimi’s cold hands. Colline goes to pawn his overcoat for food. Mimi and Rodolfo revive their love, then Rodolfo leaves her to sleep. The others return and realize that Mimi has died. Rodolfo reads the news in their faces.
- Mimi - Maria Ferriero
- Musetta - Doris Yarick
- Rodolfo - Charles Anthony
- Marcello - Robert Trehy
- Colline - Therman Bailey
- Schaunard - Ron Bottcher
- Benoit - Andrew Foldi
- Alcindoro - Rolf Sander
- Custom-House Officer - Wayne Long
- Pere Noel - Richard Kramer
- Conductor - John Crosby
- Director - Atwood Levensaler
- Scenic Designer - Henry Heymann
- Costume Designer - Patton Campbell
- Lighting Designer - Robert L. Benson
- Chorus Master - John Moriarty