La bohème

Giacomo Puccini (1858 – 1924)

16:00 - 18:30
C-Prices: € 100,00 / € 82,00 / € 58,00 / € 34,00 / € 24,00
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Information about the work

Opera in 4 acts
Based on the novel „Scènes de la vie de bohème“ by Henri Murger
Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa
First performed on 1. February, 1896 in Turin
Premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 25. December, 1988

2 hrs 30 mins / 1 interval

In Italian with German and English surtitles

Pre-performance lecture (in German): 45 minutes prior to each performance

recommended from 12 years
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The children's chorus is supported by Dobolino e. V.

16:00 - 18:30
C-Prices: € 100,00 / € 82,00 / € 58,00 / € 34,00 / € 24,00
Buy tickets
the content

About the work
A garret in Paris on a cold winter’s day around Christmas. Rodolfo, a writer, and Marcello, a painter, are working on their masterpieces. They have no money to buy food, pay the rent or fuel the stove. Colline, a philosopher, returns from the pawn shop empty handed, having failed to get rid of some books. Only Schaunard, a musician, has managed to come up with some victuals, kindling, cigars and cash, so off they go to Café Momus - without Rodolfo, who’s trying to work. Mimì, the embroiderer from next door, arrives to ask for a match to light her candle with. She collapses and loses her key; cue for Rodolfo to fall in love with Mimì, who is terminally ill with TB, although he dumps her two months later because the prospect of her ailment getting steadily worse in her freezing home is too much for him. Six months go by. Musetta, Marcello’s ex, arrives with Mimì, whose condition is grave. Musetta sells some earrings with a view to buying medicine; Colline gives up his coat. Gratitude and happiness for a short while. Rodolfo thinks Mimì is sleeping and her body regenerating, …but in fact she’s dead.

With his EDGAR [1889] and MANON LESCAUT Puccini had already made his name as a maestro of musical colour, but it was not until LA BOHÈME that he achieved the marriage of material and score that moved Claude Debussy to raptures: »No one in my mind has captured the essence of Paris so well as Puccini in LA BOHÈME«. Puccini’s impressionistic style is a blend of subjective feeling and objective tonal painting. From the very beginning the music is working its charm, be it through the sound painting, atmospheric touches or local colour conveyed by the score: Rodolfo and Marcello burning the script; the poet flicking water on Mimì’s unconscious brow to cool her down; in Act 2 the chorus representing the crowd in contrast to the orchestra embodying the military parade; in Act 3 the restrained, austere music conveying the atmosphere of a chilly winter’s morning.

About the production
Götz Friedrich’s production from 1988 transposes the action from 1840s Paris to the end of that century, i.e. to Puccini’s own present day. His version of the work, with its colourful depictions of Belle Époque Paris and the outsized stage sets, continue to captivate audiences 35 years later.

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Adventsverlosung: Das 10. Fensterchen

Before Tobias Kratzer's third production of INTERMEZZO premieres on our stage in April 2024, you can win his debut production for your home DVD collection in today's Advent calendar: Alexander von Zemlinsky's DER ZWERG.

In today's Advent calendar window, we are giving away two DVDs of the Naxos recording of Alexander von Zemlinsky's opera DER ZWERG, which was nominated for the GRAMMY in the "Best Opera Recording" category and is one of the most successful new DVD productions of recent years. If you would like to take part in the prize draw, please send an e-mail today to with the subject line "The 10th window".

A vain, superficial princess - a dwarf artist: the protagonists could hardly be more different, but the story only becomes a tragedy when the dwarf, unaware of his appearance, misinterprets the mockery of court society as a sign of honour and the princess's coquetry as proof of love. When he finally recognises himself in the mirror, he cannot escape the glances of the others - and collapses dead. This fairy tale about an outsider has had biographical parallels in mind since its premiere: Zemlinsky was small and rather slight in stature and suffered from his brief but passionate affair with Alma Schindler for the rest of his life. A quarter of a century of trauma management passed between the liaison in Vienna and the first performance in Cologne, during which the once renowned artist gradually found himself sidelined: too avant-garde for the traditionalists, too traditional for the avant-garde ... Experience David Butt Philip, Mick Morris Mehnert, Elena Tsallagova and Emily Magee in the main roles under the musical direction of Sir Donald Runnicles in a production by Tobias Kratzer.

We would like to thank the Naxos label for the great collaboration of recent years, which - in addition to Zemlinsky's DER ZWERG - has documented recordings of DAS WUNDER DER HELIANE, FRANCESCA DA RIMINI, DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN, DER SCHATZGRÄBER and DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG, as well as ARABELLA and ANTIKRIST in the course of 2024.

Closing date: 10 December 2023, the winners will be informed by email on 11 December 2023. The DVDs will then be sent by post. Legal recourse is excluded.