La Boheme

6. Attend an opera


This weekend I had the opportunity to attend the opera La Boheme. Initially an opera sounded like a great addition to “the list”, but as the show date drew nearer, I began to have a feeling of unease. This was probably because of the three hours of slow-paced Italian music that would soon transpire. Luckily, La Boheme is extremely opera-novice friendly. While the total time commitment was indeed three hours, it was divided into about 30-40 minutes of showtime broken up by two intermissions of about 15 minutes each. My prior conceptions of operas in general were that they were all sad, and accordingly, very serious. So I was surprised to find that La Boheme was actual somewhat of a comedy.

The story takes place in Paris in the early 1800’s. Rodolfo, the male lead, is a starving poet who lives in a crowded apartment with his artist friends. One night he chooses to stay in with his poetry while his friends go out. It is on this magical night that his neighbor, Mimi, comes to the door asking if he can “light her candle”. I know right. But this is a literal statement….It’s dark and she needs candle light. From that point on, the two fall madly in love and romp around Paris with Rodolfo’s friends and the risqué Musetta (my favorite character). Alas, the metaphoric side of the candle lighting comes about. It’s all very jovial and you almost forget that Mimi has consumption. But, it is an opera, and someone has to die. I won’t ruin it and tell you who. But… don’t forget…Mimi has consumption. We’ll leave it at that.

Fun facts:

  • La Boheme’s premiere was February 1st 1896. I saw it February 1st 2014.
  • The musical Rent is a modern interpretation of La Boheme.





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