La Bohème, Opera by G. Puccini
One of the most classically enduring operas of all time, La Bohème conjures up an intensely evocative world of idealism and desperation, love and longing. Puccini once said that his mission was to put “great sorrows in little souls”, depicting lives of ordinary people in a realist way. This is true of La Bohème, whose realist depiction of universal themes such as youth, poverty and lost love still resonate today. Experience the elevated emotions of this timeless masterpiece in the extraordinary surroundings of the Arena di Verona, a spectacular Roman amphitheatre dating back almost two millennia. In addition, enjoy a sightseeing tour through Verona’s most unmissable sights on a little train ride as part of this unique experience.
La Bohème was the first of three renowned collaborations between Giacomo Puccini and librettists Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. Based on Henri Murger’s Scènes de la vie de bohème, it premiered at the Teatro Regio in Turin, Italy, on 1st February 1896. With this moving production, allow yourself to be transported to the romantic Parisian Latin Quarter of the 19th century, where four young artists eke out a bohemian living in a garret. This merry crowd are named Rodolfo, Marcello, Colline and Schaunard. When they have money, they celebrate with singing, dancing and feasting; when they don’t, they resort to surviving the cold by burning their scripts and canvasses. The love story between the impoverished poet Rodolfo and the seamstress Mimi initially soars with passion. But tragedy is just around the corner, and the precarity of their bohemian lives is exposed in a heart-rending finale.
La Bohème is famed for its emotional impact, which has to do in large part with the beauty of its arias. The scene where Rodolfo and Mimi meet and fall in love, as they search for her lost key in the cold darkness of the garret, is immortalised in the romantic aria Che gelida manina (What a cold little hand). The beautiful orchestration and passion of the duet O soave fanciulla is another of the opera’s highlights, with a searing poetry that rarely leaves a dry eye in the house.
Together with this great masterwork, enjoy the timeless city of Verona with a 25-minute tour on a trenino, or little train, with commentaries available in several languages. The tour begins and ends at the Piazza Brà, next to the Arena. The train can be taken on the same day as the performance of La Bohème; alternatively, you can take the train on the days before or after the show. The journey will take you through Verona’s most unmissable sights, including the fairytale Castelvecchio castle, the Gavi Arch and the Porta Borsari: what better start to your journey into the romantic world of La Bohème?