Thank you for joining us!
One chance meeting can change people's lives forever. When Rodolfo hears a knock at his door on Christmas Eve, opera's greatest love story is launched! Puccini's soaring, aching melodies perfectly capture the emotion of every moment, from the exhilaration of young love at first sight to the story's unforgettable and heartbreaking conclusion. The unbridled passion of this ageless tale has made it a favorite of audiences for over a century.
by Giacomo Puccini
Saturday, August 26, 1:00pm
Tuesday, August 29, 7:30pm
Friday, September 1, 7:30pm
The Colonial Theatre
111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA
Approximate running time: 2 hours, 20 minutes including one intermission
Sung in Italian with projected English translations
Tickets from $20-$120 are available through The Colonial Theatre box office.
Please note The Colonial Theatre (BTG) is the ONLY official outlet to purchase tickets for La Bohème. Beware of fraudulent, third-party websites offering tickets at inflated prices. While Berkshire Opera Festival is the producer of La Bohème, all related sales and customer service are managed by The Colonial Theatre box office.
The Creative Team
Hair and Make-up
Assistant Conductor and
Principal Coach and
Chorus Rehearsal Pianist
Production Stage Manager
La Bohème has a libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Henri Murger's Scènes de la vie de bohème.
The action takes place in Paris.
It is Christmas Eve in the Latin Quarter. Marcello, a painter, and Rodolfo, a poet, are at work in the small apartment they share with the musician Schaunard and the philosopher Colline. Lacking the money even to buy wood for the stove, Rodolfo decides to burn one of his manuscripts so they can warm their fingers. Colline arrives and they all enjoy the heat from the fire, which quickly dies. Schaunard soon appears with food, wine, and firewood. He explains how he has spent three days working for an eccentric Englishman, but the bohemian friends are too excited with their sudden good fortune to pay him any attention. They begin to set the table, but Schaunard suggests that they dine out, since it is Christmas Eve. The friends decide to go to the Café Momus. Suddenly, there is a knock at the door. It is the landlord, Benoit, demanding rent. They invite Benoit in, ply him with wine, and he soon is drunk and boasting of his prowess with women. When he mentions that he is married, the friends pretend to be scandalized and throw him out. Rodolfo stays behind for a moment to finish writing an article while the others go downstairs to wait. Left alone, Rodolfo finds he is not in the mood to write, and a timid knock is heard at the door. It is his neighbor, Mimì, who asks for a light for her candle. As she enters, she almost faints and drops the key to her room. They search for it together in the dark and their hands touch. He proceeds to tell her about himself (Che gelida manina), and she tells him of her life (Sì. Mi chiamano Mimì). Rodolfo’s friends call to him impatiently, and he tells them he will join them soon at Momus. As he looks at Mimì standing in the moonlight, they both realize they have fallen in love (Duet: O soave fanciulla). They leave for the café.
Outside the Café Momus, the streets are crowded with people eating, shopping, and celebrating. Rodolfo buys a bonnet for Mimì and introduces her to his friends. The bohemians’ evening is disrupted when Musetta, a former lover of Marcello, arrives with the elderly, rich Alcindoro. Musetta is eager to get Marcello’s attention, so she makes a scene by singing a waltz (Quando m’en vo) and then complains that her shoe is hurting her. She sends the embarrassed old man away to buy new shoes and falls into Marcello’s arms. All sit down to dinner when a band is heard announcing the arrival of the military patrol. After a waiter brings the bill, the friends realize they have no money with them. Musetta tells the waiter to give the entire bill to Alcindoro, and all depart.
On an early morning in February, Mimì has come to the Barrière d’Enfer, one of the toll gates on the edge of Paris. Musetta and Marcello are living above a tavern there, and Mimì has come to ask for advice about her relationship with Rodolfo (Duet: Mimì? Speravo di trovarvi qui). She is pale and ill. After she complains about Rodolfo’s constant jealousy, Marcello suggests they should separate. Rodolfo has arrived at the tavern earlier that morning and now comes outside looking for Marcello. Mimì hides and learns the real reason for Rodolfo’s behavior when he tells Marcello that he thinks Mimì is deathly ill and will only grow worse in their impoverished state. She is seized by a fit of coughing and is discovered by Rodolfo. Marcello hurries inside after hearing Musetta’s laughter. Mimì sadly tells Rodolfo she is going to leave him, and asks him to pack up all of her belongings except for the pink bonnet he bought her, which she tells him to keep as a reminder of their love (Donde lieta uscì). They agree to stay together until winter is over, while Marcello and Musetta have another vicious quarrel (Quartet: Addio, dolce svegliare).
It is spring. Rodolfo and Marcello are now separated from Mimì and Musetta, but clearly are still in love with the women (Duet: O Mimì, tu più non torni). Schaunard and Colline arrive with some meager food, which the bohemians eat, pretending it is a lavish feast. A knock at the door interrupts their fun and Musetta enters. She tells them that Mimì is outside, too weak to climb the stairs. Rodolfo hurries to help her and guides her to the bed. Musetta explains that she heard Mimì was dying and asked to be taken to Rodolfo. They have no food to offer Mimì, but Musetta and Marcello go to pawn Musetta’s earrings in order to pay for medicine and a doctor. Colline decides to help by selling his overcoat (Vecchia zimarra, senti) and leaves with Schaunard. Left alone, Rodolfo and Mimì reminisce about the love they shared and the happy times they spent together. The others gradually return, and Rodolfo soon realizes that Mimì is dead. He collapses into sobs, calling her name.