From Academic Kids

La bohme (The Bohmian Girl) is an opera in four acts by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on La Vie de Bohme by Henri Murger. The world premire of La Bohme was performed in Turin on February 1, 1896 at the Teatro Regio (now the Teatro Regio Torino), and conducted by a young Arturo Toscanini.



  • Minor Roles
    • Schaunard, a musician - Baritone
    • Colline, a philosopher - Bass
    • Benoit, a landlord - Bass
    • Alcindoro, a councillor of state - Bass
    • Parpignol - Tenor
  • Other
    • Boy - Treble
    • Customs Sergent - Bass
    • Customs Officer - Bass
    • Townspeople, soldiers, servants, students - Chorus


Place: Paris.
Time: about 1830.

Act I

In the four bohemians' garret. Marcello is painting while Rodolfo gazes out of the window. As they have no fire, they use the manuscript of Rodolfo's drama for fuel. Colline, the philosopher, enters shivering and disgruntled at not having been able to pawn some books. Schaunard, the musician of the group, arrives with food, wood, wine, and money, and he explains the source of his riches -- a job with an English gentleman. Nobody listens, but they fall ravenously upon the food, which is removed by Schaunard, leaving only the wine. While they drink, Benoit, the landlord, arrives to collect the rent. They flatter him and give him wine. In his drunkenness, he recites his amorous adventures, but when he also declares he is married, they thrust him from the room in comic moral indignation. The rent money is divided for a carousal in the Quartier Latin. The other Bohemians go out, but Rodolfo remains alone in order to work. Some one knocks, and Mimi, whose candle has been snuffed out, asks Rodolfo to light it. She departs, but returns in a few minutes, saying she has forgotten her key. Both candles are extinguished; they stumble in the dark, and Rodolfo finds the key, which he pockets. They relate the story of their varied experiences in the two arias. ("Che gelida manina -- Your tiny hand is frozen"; and "Mi chiamano Mimi -- They call me Mimi.") The waiting friends call Rodolfo impatiently. He wishes to remain at home with Mimi, but she decides to accompany him. Departing they sing of their love. (Duet, Rodolfo and Mimi: "Oh soave fanciulla -- Oh gentle maiden")

Act II

Quartier Latin. A great crowd on the street, sellers praise their wares. (Chorus: "Arrangi, datteri, caldi i marroni -- Oranges, dates, hot chestnuts."). The friends repair to Caf Momus. While they eat, Musetta, formerly beloved of Marcello, arrives with her rich admirer Alcindoro. She tries to attract Marcello's attention (Song, Musetta: "Quando m'en vo -- When I go along"), and succeeds after many efforts. She feigns to be suffering from a tight shoe, and to get rid of him, sends Alcindoro to the shoemaker. During the ensemble, Musetta and Marcello fall into each other's arms. The friends wish to pay the bill, but to their consternation find Schaunard's riches gone. Musetta has the entire bill charged to Alcindoro. The police appear, and they rush in all directions. Marcello and Colline carry Musetta out on their arms amid the applause of the spectators. When all have gone, Alcindoro arrives with the shoe seeking Musetta. The waiter hands him the bill, and horror-stricken at the amount he sinks upon a chair.


At the toll gate. Clothing peddlers come to the city. Mimi, coughing violently, wishes to speak to Marcello, who resides in a little tavern near the barrier where he paints signs for the innkeeper. She tells him of her hard life with Rodolfo, who has abandoned her that night. (Mimi: "O, buon Marcello aiuto! -- Oh, good Marcello, help!") Marcello tells her that Rodolfo is sleeping at the inn. He has just awakened and is seeking Marcello. Mimi conceals herself. Rodolfo first claims he left Mimi out of jealousy, but finally lets on that he fears she is consumed with a deadly illness and should be comforted by a wealthier suitor. Marcello, out of charity for Mimi, endeavours to silence him, but she has already heard all. She is discovered by her coughing. Marcello joins Musette, Rodolfo and Mimi are about to separate (Mimi: "Donde lieta usci -- From here she happily left"), but are finally reconciled. Musetta approaches with Marcello, who is jealous. They depart after a fierce quarrel. (Quartet: Mimi, Rodolfo, Musetta, Marcello: "Che facevi -- What were you doing?")

Act IV

Back in the garret. Marcello and Rodolfo are seemingly at work, though they are primarily bemoaing the loss of their respective beloveds. Schaunard and Colline arrive with the dinner. They parody a plentiful banquet, dance and sing. (Quartet: "Eccoci-- Here we are!") Musetta and the suffering Mimi appear; all assist the dying girl. Musetta and Marcello depart to sell Musetta's earrings to get money for medicine. Colline and Schaunard leave to pawn Colline's coat (Colline: "Vecchia zimarra, senti -- Old coat, listen.") Mimi and Rodolfo, left alone, recall their past happiness. (Duet, Mimi and Rodolfo: "Sono andati? -- Are they gone?") The others return, and while Musetta prays aloud, Mimi dies. (Prayer, Musetta: "Madonna benedetta -- Blessed Mother")

Noted Arias

  • "Che gelida manina" (Rodolfo)
  • "Mi chiamano Mim" (Mim)
  • "Vecchia zimarra"/Coat aria (Colline)
  • "Quando m'en vo"/Musetta's Waltz (Musetta)


La bohme is Puccini's most famous and popular opera. In fact, it is one of the most performed operas today, if not the most performed. It is the basis for the musical Rent. Leoncavallo composed his own version of the story. His La bohme focusses more on the Musetta and Marcello relationship, rather than that of Mim and Rodolfo in Puccini's.


  • Opera plots taken from The Opera Goer's Complete Guide by Leo Melitz, 1921 version.

External links

de:La Bohme es:La Bohme fr:La Bohme it:La Bohme (Puccini) ja:ボエーム pl:Cyganeria sl:La Boheme sr:Боеми (опера) – Ђакомо Пучини


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