Show artwork for La Boheme

La Boheme La Boheme

Composed by Giacomo Puccini

Conducted by James Conlon

September 14 — October 6

Production new to LA Opera

At the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

Don't worry. We'll turn down the lights so nobody can see you cry.

La Bohème played its final performance of the 2019/20 season on October 6th.

For the first time in 25 years, our Bohemians have moved to a new address. Staged by theatrical dynamo Barrie Kosky, this new-to-L.A. production sweeps you into the bustling cafés and hidden corners of 19th-century Paris.

Follow the triumphs and toils of a band of struggling young artists as they search for love, life and laughter against impossible odds.

Is this the most romantic of all operas? We think so!

"Brilliant…  The production proved gripping, a revelation.  This is Puccini for a new generation.”

Los Angeles Times


Marina Costa-Jackson
Saimir Pirgu
Erica Petrocelli
Kihun Yoon
Nicholas Brownlee
Michael J. Hawk
Patrick Blackwell

Creative Team

James Conlon
Barrie Kosky
Rufus Didwiszus
Victoria Behr
Original Lighting Design
Alessandro Carletti
Grant Gershon
Children's Chorus
Fernando Malvar-Ruiz

Read the synopsis

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Act I
Four young men live together in a garret in the Latin Quarter of Paris. The poet Rodolfo and artist Marcello try to stay warm on a bitterly cold Christmas Eve. They have no money for food or firewood. Nor does Colline, a student of philosophy. But the fourth roommate, the musician Schaunard, has just gotten paid; he arrives with food, drink and firewood. As they celebrate, they can't help remembering that their landlord Benoit will be demanding their long overdue rent.

Rodolfo stays behind to finish up some work as the others head out for a night on the town. A knock at the door: Mimi, a young seamstress who lives in the same building. A draft blows out her candle. She realizes she has dropped her key and the two search for it in the darkness. They get to know each other. Rodolfo tells her of his poetry, Mimi tells him of her life, and they fall in love. They head out to catch up with Rodolfo's friends.

(brief pause for scene change)

Act II
Full of high spirits, the bohemians join the holiday throng. Hat sellers, toy sellers and vendors of all sorts crowd the streets. The bohemians take a table at the Café Momus. Marcello’s tempestuous ex-girlfriend Musetta enters with her rich new lover, Alcindoro. Marcello pretends to ignore her (which drives her crazy) but it's obvious to everyone that they still have feelings for each other. Musetta finds an excuse to send Alcindoro away on an errand. When a military parade passes by, the reunited lovers and their friends slip away into the crowd, leaving Alcindoro to pay their bill.


A cold February dawn. Marcello and Musetta are now living together in a tavern on the outskirts of Paris, near a toll-gate. A pale and worn Mimi comes looking for Rodolfo, who had stormed out in a jealous rage earlier that evening. Marcello tells her that Rodolfo spent the night in the tavern. Mimi hides when Rodolfo comes outside. He eventually reveals to Marcello that his jealousy is just an act: he's actually heartbroken to watch Mimi’s fragile health deteriorate. He feels guilty, knowing that he is unable to provide for her, and fears that she will die if she stays with him. Mimi’s persistent coughing gives away her hiding place, and Rodolfo realizes that she has overheard everything he's said. The two lovers realize that a long-term relationship is no longer possible for them, but decide to delay their break-up until spring. Meanwhile, Marcello and Musetta begin yet another senseless quarrel and Musetta storms off in anger.

(brief pause for scene change)

Act IV
It is now spring; both couples have split up. Marcello and Rodolfo try to get some work done, but the memories of happier times fill them with sadness. Schaunard and Colline manage to raise their spirits for a while, until Musetta suddenly bursts in with news: Mimi is dying and wants to spend her last hours with Rodolfo. Mimi arrives in a state of collapse, and her friends try to make her comfortable. Musetta sends Marcello out to sell her earrings and buy medicine. Musetta goes out herself to look for a muff to warm Mimi’s cold hands. Colline decides to sell his old coat to pay for a doctor; Schaunard goes with him.

Left alone, Rodolfo and Mimi recall their first meeting. Their friends return; a doctor is on his way. Thinking that Mimi has fallen asleep, Rodolfo begins to feel hopeful. But when he sees his friends’ faces, he realizes that Mimi is dead.

A production of the Komische Oper Berlin


Artwork for La Boheme
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