Giacomo Puccini’s gorgeous La Bohème opens this week’s Metropolitan Opera selection of online transmissions. This passionate and heartbreaking portrayal of love, friendship and loss in the bohemian quarter of 19th century Paris, has been performed more than any other work at the Met, and brings to its stage some of the most beautiful music ever written for opera.
Recorded during a live performance on February 24, 2018, this production is the much-loved creation of Italian director, designer and producer, the late Franco Zeffirelli. Well known for the scale of his operatic productions, and their authenticity of detail, Zeffirelli said of Puccini’s music that it “has such an extraordinary, convincing, irresistible fire that you cannot go wrong if you respect him completely”.
Led by Italian conductor Marco Armiliato – who first led a production of La Bohème at the Met in 1998 – this performance stars Sonya Yoncheva as Mimi, Susanna Phillips as Musetta and Michael Fabiano as Rodolfo, with Lucas Meachem, Alexey Lavrov and Matthew Rose.
Puccini’s opera – with libretto by Luigi Illica and Guiseppe Giacosa – was written in 1895, and first performed in Turin on February 1, 1896. It was based on a novel by French novelist and poet, Henri Murger – Scènes de la vie de bohème – in which he wrote about a lifestyle which he new intimately. He himself figured as Rodolfo in the book, and the other characters were all friends of his – students who were fun-loving, and witty, with a healthy disregard for authority, but whose lives were also tempered with sadness.
The Metropolitan Opera’s performance of Puccini’s La Bohème can be viewed on metopera.org from 7.30 pm EDT this evening, July 6, and will be available to view until 6.30 pm EDT tomorrow.
This production will be followed by:
Verdi’s Il Trovatore – July 7
Mozart’s Così fan tutte – July 8
Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini – July 9
Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin – July 10
Puccini’s Madama Butterfly – July 11
Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde – July 12
Information sourced from Metropolitan Opera program notes