La bohème

Opera by Giacomo Puccini in four acts

Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa based on Henri Murger’s novel Scènes de la vie de bohème
World premiere February 1, 1896 Teatro Regio (Turin)
Premiere at the Estonian National Opera on October 29, 2010

Young, cheerful, careless and passionate bohemians enjoy life and its intricate turns sparkled with love, hope, despair and wild Parisian life-rhythm to the fullest. Stage Director Ran Arthur Braun: “Bohemians are presented on stage with humour and tear as they exist together. There is no reason to ignore youth and its vivid charm as if we already knew how it is going to end!”

As one of the greatest 20th century melody masters, Puccini has created colourful and enticing musical portraits for his characters and has depicted a beautiful and romantic image of Paris, employing memorable melodies and bold orchestral colours. Claude Debussy has said: “No one has described the Paris of these days as aptly as Puccini in his La bohème.”

Rodolfo, the poet, and Marcello, the painter, are trying to work in their cold Latin Quarter garret. They are without money to relieve their hunger, without fuel for heating their flat and without money to pay their rent. Colline, the philosopher has tried and failed to pawn some books. The musician Schaunard has been more fortunate – he arrives with food, money firewood and cigarettes. Rodolfo wants to work and his friends depart for Café Momus to celebrate their good fortune. Rodolfo’s work is interrupted by a beautiful young woman living next door, who is searching for a means to light her candle. On her way to her room she realises that she has dropped her key in Rodolfo’s room. She returns but her candle is extinguished in the draft. Rodolfo falls in love with Mimi who is hopelessly ill but two months later he deserts her, unable to look helplessly on while Mimi’s illness worsens in his poor, cold hovel. Six months later Mimi is brought back to the poet’s lodgings, as it is her dying wish to be with her friends again…

Staging team

  • Conductors: Risto Joost, Jüri Alperten, Lauri Sirp
  • Stage Director: Ran Arthur Braun (Israel)
  • Set Designers: Ran Arthur Braun and Riccardo Gallino (Italy)
  • Costumes Designer: Elo Soode
  • Lighting Designer: Neeme Jõe


    • Sung in Italian with subtitles in Estonian and English
    • Approx. running time 2 h 30 min, one intermission




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