Giacomo Puccini’s classic opera “La Boheme” will be the Metropolitan Opera HD broadcast at Colorado Mountain College, Breckenridge, on Saturday, April 5, beginning at 11 a.m.
Over the years, “La Boheme” has been the most frequently performed opera in opera houses throughout the world. The premiere performance of “La Boheme” took place in Turin, Italy, on Feb. 1, 1896, conducted by the then-young Arturo Toscanini, who again conducted the 50th anniversary radio recording, making “La Boheme” the only opera in world history to be recorded by its original conductor.
The opera chronicles Bohemian life in the Latin Quarter in 1830s Paris. Act I opens in a garret, where the near-destitute painter Marcello and poet Rodolfo try to keep warm on Christmas Eve by feeding the stove with pages from Rodolfo’s latest drama. Friends arrive with fuel, food and wine, interrupted by a visit from landlord Benoit, seeking to collect rent. They ply the older man with wine and throw him out. After his friends leave, Rodolfo, now alone, is interrupted by a knock on the door by his pretty neighbor, Mimi, who has lost her key. The seasoned opera buff will anticipate the classic aria “Che Gelida Manina” (your tiny hand is frozen), followed by an unforgettable melodic duet as the two fall in love.
Act II is staged with a boisterous crowd at the Café Momus, where Marcello’s former sweetheart, Musetta, draws his attention with her famous “Musetta’s Waltz.” Act III takes place in a spectacularly staged snowstorm, in which are enacted the separation of both Rodolfo from Mimi and Marcello from Musetta. This leads to the concluding Act IV, staged back at the garret, where Rodolfo and Marcello lament their loneliness. Musetta suddenly appears with Mimi, who is now frail and near death from tuberculosis.
In the end, Mimì and Rodolfo recall their first meeting and former happy days in a classic duet, interrupted by her coughing. Mimì drifts into unconsciousness. When Rodolfo at last realizes that she is dead, he throws himself despairingly on her body, singing out her name.
As indicated by the Met, in this breathtaking Franco Zeffirelli production of “La Boheme,” Italian star tenor Vittorio Grigolo, in his Live in HD debut as the passionate poet Rodolfo, “sang with warmth and vigor.” Romanian soprano Anita Hartig, making her highly anticipated Met debut as his fragile lover, Mimì, also “sang with a strong dramatic force, conveying a sense of the vibrant, joyful spirit fighting against the oppressive fatigue of her illness.”
Susanna Phillips sings the flirtatious Musetta, and Massimo Cavalletti is the painter Marcello in this performance, led by Italian conductor Stefano Ranzani.
As recently stated in a New York Times review, “Whether it is your first opera or you’ve seen it a hundred times before, Puccini’s magic never fails to cast its entrancing spell.” Indeed, the moving story of young love is the most performed opera in Metropolitan Opera history.