Ballet & Dance

première in April 2003
La Bohème
Music by Giacomo Puccini(1896)
Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa / Luigi Illica
5 performances

September 25(Sat)5:00pm, 28(Tue)6:30pm, October 3(Sun)3:00pm,
6(Wed)6:30pm, 9(Sat)3:00pm 2004
Approximate running time: 2 hours, 50 minutes with 2 intermissions

Conductor: Inoue Michiyoshi
Director: Aguni Jun
Scenery Design: Pasquale Grossi
Costume Design: Alessandro Ciammarughi

Mimi: Adina Nitescu
Musetta: Mizushima Ikumu
Rodolfo: James Valenti
Marcello: Karl-Magnus Fredriksson
Colline: Xiaoliang Li

La Bohème (Bohemian Life) is a sweet yet poignant eternal youth opera, which Puccini, who suddenly became ranked among the leading opera composers with the success of Manon Lescaut (premiered 1893), created together with the librettist Illica and the poet Giacosa. This collaboration of artists produced a number of masterpieces in subsequent years. La Bohème is based on Scenes de la vie de Bohème (Scenes of Bohemian Life), a novel by Henri Murger, who was active in France in the middle of the 19th century. The complexity of the original novel made it extremely difficult to adapt it for an opera libretto, but Illica and Giacosa successfully put together the lives of Parisian youths in those days into a four-act (introduction, development, turn and conclusion) opera by adding the story of pure love between the poet Rodolfo and the seamstress Mimì to provide a skeletal structure for the opera, while making the couple, the artist Marcello and his lover Musetta, contrast with Rodolfo and Mimì. Each character is depicted vividly and delicately with realism and, along with Tosca and Madama Butterfly, La Bohème is said to be one of Puccini’s three principal operas. It was first performed at the Teatro Reggio in Turin in 1896 under the baton of Toscanini, who was then 28 years old. The sound of chords rarely heard until then and the overlapping motifs were new endeavors, yet the sophisticated level of the opera was soon recognized, and partly because of the effects of its moving story, it became one of the most popular operas among audiences worldwide almost overnight. In its NNTT premiere in 2003, the director Aguni Jun effectively used a sheer silk screen and stage setting to enable the audience to look at the stage as if it commanded a bird’s eye view of the city of Paris, with the directing of the moving last scene of the ill-fated heroine highly rated.
The setting is the Latin Quarter of Paris, circa 1830. On Christmas Eve, the painter Marcello and the poet Rodolfo gather in their garret and are soon joined by the philosopher Colline. The musician Schaunard also comes, bearing food. As his companions go out, Rodolfo remains behind to finish an article he is writing and meets Mimì, who knocks at the door to ask for a light for her candle. The two quickly fall in love. The crowds gather at the Café Momus. Mimì, wearing a new bonnet Rodolfo has just bought for her, is introduced to his friends. Musetta appears accompanied by her elderly admirer Alcindoro, but seeing her former lover Marcello, she attracts his attention and leaves with him. A few weeks later, Mimì and Rodolfo quarrel and Mimì asks Marcello to advise her, but she overhears Rodolfo saying that he can no longer live with Mimì. He also knows that she is dying from consumption. The couple agree to part when spring comes. Back in the garret, Rodolfo and Marcello contemplate the women they have left. Shortly after, Colline and Schaunard enter, Musetta arrives to say that Mimì has left her rich admirer and is critically ill. Mimì wants to spend her last hours with Rodolfo. She is brought in and she and Rodolfo embrace each other but she soon dies. Left alone, he throws himself, sobbing, over her body.
<Conductor>   <Director>  
Inoue Michiyoshi   Aguni Jun  
<Main Cast>
  Adina Nitescu   Mizushima Ikumu  
James Valenti Karl-Magnus Fredriksson Xiaoliang Li