La bohème

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La bohème is an opera in four acts by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger.[1] The world premiere performance of La bohème was in Turin on 1 February 1896 at the Teatro Regio[2] and conducted by the young Arturo Toscanini. Since then La bohème has become part of the standard Italian opera repertory and is one of the most frequently performed operas internationally. According to Opera America, it is the second most frequently performed opera in the United States,[3] just behind another Puccini opera, Madama Butterfly. In 1946, fifty years after the opera's premiere, Toscanini conducted a performance of it on radio with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. This performance was eventually released on records and on Compact Disc. It is the only recording of a Puccini opera by its original conductor (see Recordings below).

Contents

Origin of the story

According to its title page, the libretto of La bohème is based on Henri Murger's novel, Scènes de la vie de bohème, but that novel is a collection of vignettes with no unified plot. Like the 1849 play by Murger and Théodore Barrière, the opera's libretto focuses on the relationship between Rodolfo and Mimì, ending with her death. Also like the play, the libretto combines two characters from the novel, Mimì and Francine, into a single Mimì character.

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