Giacomo Puccini

La Bohème

Nov 23 - May 5

Puccini’s unforgettable tale of love, youth, and tragic loss returns in Franco Zeffirelli’s classic production, perhaps his most beloved staging of all. Maria Agresta, Hei-Kyung Hong, Susanna Phillips, Ailyn Pérez, Bryan Hymel, and Quinn Kelsey are among the artists appearing as the young Parisian lovers in the bohemian setting that brings the Latin Quarter to life on the stage of the Met. Dan Ettinger conducts.

“[A] compelling cast... The chemistry on stage was a joy to watch... Bryan Hymel’s voice is wonderfully suited to the role of the romantic playwright Rodolfo... Maria Agresta sing[s] her Act III duets with Marcello and Rodolfo with gentle pleading, [giving] her dying lines in an aching whisper... Quinn Kelsey brought a richly colored, full-bodied, woolly voice to the role of Marcello.” —New York Classical Review

Read Synopsis Read Program
  • Sung In
  • Italian
  • Met Titles In
  • English
  • German
  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • Estimated Run Time
  • 3 hrs 0 mins
  • House Opens
  • Act I & II 62 mins
  • Intermission 34 mins
  • Act III 26 mins
  • Intermission 28 mins
  • Act IV 30 mins
  • Opera Ends
Nov 23 - May 5

This production has completed for the season.

Be sure to check out our remaining productions on the season list.

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Cast

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A scene from La Bohème

“Ravishing…awe-inspiring…”

—The New York Times

World premiere: Teatro Regio, Turin, 1896. Met company premiere: Los Angeles (on tour), November 9, 1900. La Bohème, the passionate, timeless, and indelible story of love among young artists in Paris, can stake its claim as the world’s most popular opera. It has a marvelous ability to make a powerful first impression and to reveal unsuspected treasures after dozens of hearings. At first glance, La Bohème is the definitive depiction of the joys and sorrows of love and loss; on closer inspection, it reveals the deep emotional significance hidden in the trivial things—a bonnet, an old overcoat, a chance meeting with a neighbor—that make up our everyday lives.

Creators

Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924) was immensely popular in his own lifetime, and his mature works remain staples in the repertory of most of the world’s opera companies. His librettists for La Bohème, Giuseppe Giacosa (1847–1906) and Luigi Illica (1857–1919), also collaborated with him on his next two operas, Tosca and Madama Butterfly. Giacosa, a dramatist, was responsible for the stories and Illica, a poet, worked primarily on the words themselves.

Production Franco Zeffirelli

Set Designer Franco Zeffirelli

Costume Designer Peter J. Hall

Lighting Designer Gil Wechsler

Revival Stage Director J. Knighten Smit

Giacomo Puccini

Composer

Giacomo Puccini

Setting

A scene from La Bohème

The libretto sets the action in Paris, circa 1830. This is not a random setting, but rather reflects the issues and concerns of a particular time when, following the upheavals of revolution and war, French artists had lost their traditional support base of aristocracy and church. The story centers on self-conscious youth at odds with mainstream society—a Bohemian ambience that is clearly recognizable in any modern urban center. La Bohème captures this ethos in its earliest days.

Music

Lyrical and touchingly beautiful, the score of La Bohème exerts an immediate emotional pull. Many of its most memorable melodies are built incrementally, with small intervals between the notes that carry the listener with them on their lyrical path. This is a distinct contrast to the grand leaps and dives that earlier operas often depended on for emotional effect. La Bohème’s melodic structure perfectly captures the “small people” (as Puccini called them) of the drama and the details of everyday life.

Met History

With more than 1200 performances, La Bohème is the most frequently staged opera at the Met. The very first performances, on tour in Los Angeles in 1900, were among the most remarkable the work has had: at the conclusion of Act IV, soprano Nelli Melba—following her onstage death as Mimì—reappeared in front of the curtain to sing the mad scene from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. The role of Lucia was one of Melba’s specialties, and her portrayal helped secure that opera’s popularity.

A scene from La Bohème