An attic in the Latin Quarter, Christmas Eve
Rodolfo and Marcello complain about the bitter cold. They need
to light their stove: Marcello suggests using a chair, but Rodolfo
offers the manuscript of the play he is writing. Colline arrives
and the remaining acts of the play are burnt.
Schaunard arrives with wood, food and wine. He explains that
an Englishman engaged him to play his violin to hasten the
death of a parrot. The friends decide to go and eat in the Latin
Quarter but are interrupted by Benoît, their landlord, who has
come for the rent. They ply him with wine and Benoît boasts of
his sexual prowess. The bohemians pretend outrage at Benoît’s
immorality and push him out.
Marcello, Colline and Schaunard head to Café Momus, leaving
Rodolfo behind to finish an article. There is a knock at the door.
It is a girl who asks for a light for her candle. She feels faint from
climbing the stairs. As she is leaving her candle flickers out again
and she realizes that she has lost her key. Rodolfo’s candle also
goes out and they search for her key in the moonlight. Rodolfo
takes the girl’s icy hand and tells her of his life as a poet. The
girl tells him her name, Mimì, and describes her simple life as a
flower embroiderer. Schaunard, Colline and Marcello shout up
to Rodolfo to hurry. Mimì asks if she may join them at the Café
Momus. Rodolfo suggests they might stay in, but eventually they
leave together singing of their love.
The Latin Quarter
Rodolfo and Mimì wander through the Christmas Eve crowds.
Rodolfo introduces Mimì to his friends. When Mimì shows
her new friends the bonnet Rodolfo has brought her, Marcello
expresses cynicism about romance.
As they propose a toast, Marcello’s ex-girlfriend Musetta appears,
accompanied by Alcindoro, her rich admirer. Agitated at being
ignored by Marcello, Musetta launches into a song – to provoke
and seduce him. She complains of a painful foot and dispatches
Alcindoro to buy new shoes. The bill for supper arrives, but
the bohemians have already spent their money. Musetta places
their bill on Alcindoro’s plate. A marching band arrives, and
the bohemians leave with Musetta. Alcindoro returns and is
presented with the bill.
Outside the Barrière d’Enfer
Workers arrive from out of town to enter the city. From inside a
tavern comes the voice of Musetta. Mimì enters, ill and racked
with coughing. She asks for Marcello. He tells her that he and
Musetta are now living at the inn and that Rodolfo turned up
in the night. Mimì explains that Rodolfo’s jealousy is destroying
their relationship and he wants to leave her. Marcello advises
Mimì to go, but she hides nearby.
Rodolfo comes out of the tavern and says he will break up with
Mimì: her flirting has incensed him. Eventually, however, he
reveals the real reason for their separation: she is so ill that his
miserable poverty offers her nothing but the prospect of death.
They hear Mimì crying and coughing. As Rodolfo hurries to
her, Musetta’s laugh is heard and Marcello goes to see what she
is doing. Mimì says farewell to Rodolfo and asks him to send
on her possessions. She proposes that he keep her bonnet as
a memento of their love. Marcello and Musetta quarrel and
separate. Rodolfo and Mimì decide to postpone their separation
until the spring.
The attic, autumn
Marcello and Rodolfo taunt each other about their ex-lovers:
Rodolfo has seen Musetta in a fine carriage and Marcello has
seen Mimì dressed like a queen. They pretend not to miss the
girls but then admit that they do. Schaunard and Colline arrive
with bread and a herring and the four eat and amuse each other.
Suddenly Musetta enters. She has brought Mimì, who is
desperately ill: Musetta explains that she met her in the street
and that Mimì begged to be taken to Rodolfo. Mimì rallies and
greets the friends. Musetta instructs Marcello to sell her earrings
to pay for medicine and a doctor. Colline leaves to pawn his coat.
Mimì, alone with Rodolfo, expresses her boundless love for him.
He shows her the bonnet and they reminisce about their first
meeting. The others return with a muff and medicine, promising
that a doctor will come. Mimì dies unnnoticed while they are
preparing her medicine. Colline arrives with money from the
pawnbroker, but it is too late.
2 hours 35 minutes with one intermission
Лишённая привычного египетского колорита, отчаянная история Аиды и Радамеса сияет ещё ярче в декорациях современного тоталитарного государства
With vocal fireworks, scheming lovers and one very busy barber, Rossini’s comic opera is packed with fun and mischief.