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La Boheme

by Puccini


It is a love story set in Paris and its Bohemian lifestyle (la vie de bohème). The story is very simple, particularly by the standards of opera.


The main love story is between Rodolfo, a poet, and Mimi, a seamstress. They both have rooms in a Parisian garret. They fall in love when Mimi asks her neighbour Rodolfo for a match to light her candle.


There is another love story – between Marcello, a painter also living in the garret, and the lively Musetta, a singer, who consorts with a rich “patron” called Alcindoro. All four of the lovers have a riotous time at the Café Momus, where Musetta craftily gets the café to charge it all to Alcindoro.


The Rodolfo/Mimi love affair is troubled because Mimi is suffering from what they called consumption – and we know as tuberculosis. Rodolfo breaks off their relationship as he thinks she needs a rich man to look after her. But they come together at least temporarily. In contrast to the other couple who quarrel because of Musetta’s flirting.


Both Mimi and Musetta take up with rich men. But Mimi leaves hers and returns to Rodolfo, essentially to die in his arms.

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