Conductor: Oliver Balaburski
Director: Dejan Proshev
Set designer: Zoran Nikolovski
Costume designer: Marija Pupuchevska
Light designer: Jakup Jakup
Concert master: Verica Lambevska
Rodolfo: Ivan Momirov (Bulgaria)
Mimi: Zvetelina Vassileva (Bulgaria)
Marcello: Valdis Jansons (Latvia)
Schaunard: Andrea Zaupa (Italy)
Colline: Vladimir Sazdovski
Musetta: Katerina Stojanovska
Benoît: Neven Siljanovski
Alcindoro: Borko Bidzovski
Parpignol: Jane Dunimagloski
Borderguard: Dimitar Kozhuharov
Officer: Dime Petrov
Opera in four acts
La Bohème is an opera based on Scènes de la vie de Bohème by Henri Murger. The world première of La bohème was performed in Turin on February 1, 1896 at the Teatro Regio (now the Teatro Regio Torino) and conducted by the young Arturo Toscanini.
Paris, at the end of the 19th century. A group of penniless students count on the joys of life for a little relief from their daily misery, as eating, keeping warm and paying the rent are a luxury! With her tenderness, the seamstress Mimi offers a little warmth and light to the poet Rodolfo. The two fall in love at first sight and tell their friends about their love on Christmas Eve. As for Marcello the painter and his saucy mistress Musetta, who are used to bickering, they form a contrasting couple full of humour, compared to the more melodramatic pair of Mimi and Rodolfo, who eventually break up because they no longer get along. In fact, Mimi knows she has tuberculosis and will soon die. Even though they have parted ways, she returns to die by Rodolfo’s side, among their bohemian friends, who can do nothing to cure her.
The day before Christmas in a poorly furnished mansard in the Paris Latin Quarter where the bohemians live. Rodolfo, the poet, and Marcello, the painter are shivering in the ice – gold room. They decide to sacrifice one of Rodolfo’s plays in their furnace and to get warm. Than comes Colline, the philosopher, nervous and angry since he could not pawn any of his books. The heat makes him full of joy. The fire produced by the play is accompanied by irony in the music and in the lyrics – the sense of humor is characteristic for the bohemians even in the moments of their deepest poverty. However, the play is short and the fire is gone. Nevertheless, the luck is back with Shaunard, the musician, who enters the room carrying a basket with firewood, food and vine. His character can be easily seen in his arioso when he tells the other how he got the money. It is the day – before – Christmas so the merry friends decide to spend the evening in the “Momus” bar. Their good mood is interrupted by the knocking on the door-Benoit, the landlord comes to collect the rent. The guys have no intention at all to pay the rent, and decide to trick him. They are pouring vine to the already juiced landlord. It is so easy to provoke him to start boasting about his love affairs and complaining about his wife. Well, the bohemians, pretending they were insulted by such immoral behavior, accuse him for debauchery. The drunk and confused Benoit is pushed out the door. The bohemians get back their money previously given to the landlord. Right after this Marcello, Schaunard and Colline leave to Café “Momus”, their favorite place. Rodolfo stays for a while until he finishes his latest work. His writing absorbed him by but a shy knock on the door awakes him. Mimi, the neighbor he never met before, comes asking for a favor: to light up a candle. She looses her consciousness due to her weakness. Rodolfo helps her and offers some vine. Her tender and beautiful appearance attracts him and tries to prolong her stay. Mimi says she is busy and is ready to leave when she notices that her key is gone. She had probably lost it the moment he lost her consciousness. She comes back in order to find it but the draft makes her candle gone one more time. The smart Rodolfo grabs the opportunity and turns down his candle too. Together, surrounded by darkness, start searching for the key. The destiny, with a little help from Rodolfo’s smartness, easily joins their hearts. Rodolfo while searching for the key touches Mimi’s hand in the darkness. That is the reason for one of the best-known arias “Che gelida manina” to be sang. He reveals his romantic, poetic nature and tells her that her beauty enchants him. His warmth affects her heart too so she is encouraged and sings “Si mi chiamano Mimi” an aria that depicts her simple dignity and steady nature. Rodolfo takes her in his arms and while singing the melodious dietto “O soave fanciulla” they leave the mansard to join his friends.
A crowded square in the Latin Quarter. People are full of Christmas spirit. The street vendors shout and praise their staff. Parpignol, the toy – seller, crosses the square with his cart followed by children singing their song. At one of the vendors, Rodolfo finds the hat Mimi is longing for and buys it for her. That hat will become symbol of their love. Loud cheers are heard from the Café “Momus”. The friend meet each other and Rodolfo introduces his date to them in the mini-aria “Questa e Mimi”. The arrival of Musetta interrupts their toast. She is very nice looking girl, always perfectly dressed, real coquette. Her appearance attacts the attention of the entire Café, especially now when she is escorted by the old, nut wealthy, Mr. Alcindoro. Marcello’s mood changes instantly since Musetta is his heart weak point – in the past, they quarreled a lot but he still loves her. She is also interested and does everything to have his attention. The scene she creates is not strong enough to melt pretending – to – be – ice – cold Marcello. Her final attempt to take Marcello’s attention is when she flirts with some one of the men in the Café while singing “Quando me’n vo’ soletta”, Musetta learns she had reached her goal so she gets rid of Alcindoro. She starts panicking; screaming and complaining about her shoe and dispatches Alcindoro to by her new shoes. Ashamed Alcindoro leaves the stage in a hurry to fulfill her wish. The crowd gives ovations to Marcello and Musetta that they are together. The bohemians and their two ladies leave the stage with the arrival of the Army Band.
A cold February morning at the barrier posted on one of entrances to Paris. There is a tavern next to it. That is the tavern where Marcello and Musetta are guests for some time. Mimi, without breath and coughing, approaches the tavern. It is quite clear that the illness is serious now. Mimi asks the lady that is sweeping in front of the tavern to get Marcello, the painter, out. She cries and begs him for help admitting that Rodolfo’s jealously is killing her and their life turned into hell – they have to part. Marcello promises he will talk to Rodolfo and sends her back home, but she hides behind a three and listens to their conversation. Rodolfo explains to his friend that he will leave Mimi due to his jealousy. Marcello suspects his story and makes him tell the truth. Rodolfo admits the only reason for his trouble is Mimi’s illness. His love is not enough to compensate the poverty of the cold room and to rescue her from the death. This is the moment when Mimi learns the truth but her coughing and sobbing reveals her presence to the two men. They are aware that she had heard their conversation. Anyway, Rodolfo tries to calm her and to deny his previous words. The double duet “Addio, senza rancor”, and “Addio,dolce svegliare”, that concludes the act, is a sad and tender farewell for Rodolfo and Mimi, and beginning of a quarrel for Marcello and Musetta.
It’s spring time. Rodolfo and Marcello stand on their terrace discussing their former loved ones. In the “O Mimi tu piu non torni” duet they sing of the days once full of love but now they are past. Schaunard and Colline bring back the old joyous attitude to the mansard. These guys, always ready for joke and fun, start making fun of the high society, their stiffen manners and their dances. Musetta enters the door the moment the fun is at its peak. She breathes heavily while supporting the exhausted Mimi. Mimi comes back to Rodolfo so she can die close to the man she loves. Themes from the entire opera interlace in her swan song and last until the very end of the act. They remind her of the happiness she had felt in this home. They are symbol of the people that gave the opportunity to feel a real joy. They are also symbol of her love and unity with Rodolfo. Everybody on the stage is aware how cruel reality is. Rodolfo is the last and only one hoping “she will live”. The moment Mimi died, he realizes it is the end. The Death theme in the orchestra accompanies him screaming her name and concludes the opera.