Monday, February 28, at 8 pm
Puccini's gift for melody and his flair for creating sumptuous orchestral colours are unsurpassed. La Bohème's torrents of lush, passionate music have made it one of the most beloved operas of all time. Whether evoking the ecstasy of first love or a humourous moment in the now desperate, now carefree world of his young artists, Puccini's music carries the listener away, into the intimate, sharply delineated world of La Bohème.
To many, Puccini's name is synonymous with opera ... the beginning of an adventure into a sublime world of music of unrivalled beauty and unbridled dramatic power.
Burton D. Fisher
The first meeting of the young lovers takes place when Mimi knocks on Rodolfo's door to ask for a match to light her candle. Rodolfo is quickly enchanted by his neighbour, and he surreptitiously pockets her key in order to prolong their chat.
Che gelida manina, se la lasci riscaldar.
How cold your little hand is! Let me warm it for you. ...
I'll tell you who and what I am... I'm a poet ...
In my carefree poverty
I squander rhymes and love songs like a lord.
When it comes to dreams and visions
and castles in the air,
I've the soul of a millionaire.
From time to time two thieves steal all the jewels
out of my safe, two pretty eyes.
They came in with you just now,
and my ... dreams, melted at once into thin air!
Angela Gheorghiu as Mimi. Roberto Alagna as Rodolfo. Les Chorégies d'Orange, 2005.
This is THE music of La Bohème – Rodolfo and Mimi's great love duet.Oh! lovely girl! Oh, sweet face bathed in the soft moonlight.
This theme recurs several times in the opera, most poignantly in the last act as Mimi is dying. But here, when we first hear it, it expresses only exultation in the discovery of true love.
Mirella Freni as Mimi. Luciano Pavarotti as Rodolfo. San Francisco Opera 1990.
In provocative contrast to the love between Rodolfo and Mimi is the stormy relationship between Musetta and Marcello, epitomized in this scene. As she dines with her new lover, Alcindoro, Musetta does everything she can to capture the jealous attention of her old lover, Marcello. It works, and as soon as she is able to get rid of Alcindoro, the two reconcile.
Rhoslyn Jones, who will be Mimi in POV's production, sings Musetta in this recent production from Arizona Opera.
When I walk out alone along the street,
People stop and stare at me
And everyone looks at my beauty, Looks at me,
From head to foot.
Rhoslyn Jones as Musetta. Elaine Alvarez as Mimi. Joel Revzen, Conductor. Arizona Opera, 2010.
Nick Reveles, the Geisel Director of Education & Outreach for San Diego Opera and host of San Diego OperaTalk! provides a comprehensive introduction to Puccini and his opera La Bohème.
Watch onscreen, or go to Youtube and click on the Free Download link for offline viewing on your computer, iPhone or iPod.