La Bohème: Giacomo Puccini's opera in two minutes

It’s Christmas Eve in Paris. A young poet, an artist and their landlord are celebrating in their flat. What could possibly go wrong? New Zealand trio Sol3 Mio pick up the story - in a two-minute video...

Thanks guys! As Sol3 Mio explain in their video (above), La Bohème tells the story of Rodolfo and his love for Mimi, a young seamstress whom he meets that Christmas Eve night. Over the course of a couple of hours, Puccini treats us to some of the most ravishing and famous opera arias in the world: among them, the tenor solo ‘Che gelida manina’ (‘Your tiny hand is frozen’) and ‘Sì, mi chiamano Mimì’ (‘Yes, they call me Mimi’). The highlight for many, though, is the sumptuous Act I duet ‘O soave fanciulla’ (‘O lovely maid in the moonlight’) – a shimmering concoction of lush orchestration and enrapturing vocal melodies.

La Bohème: a beginner's guide

Unsurprisingly, La Bohème doesn’t end well. Marcello gets together with his old flame Musetta, only then to discover that Mimi is dying. She passes away in Rodolfo’s arms and he is left utterly inconsolable. Romantic opera is never very cheerful; but in the hands of Puccini, it’s always exquisitely beautiful.

Recommended Recording
Anna Netrebko (soprano) as Mimì; Rolando Villazón (tenor) as Rodolfo; Boaz Daniel (baritone) as Schaunard; Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus; Children’s Choir of the Gartnerplatz State Theatre; Bertrand de Billy (conductor). Deutsche Grammophon: 4776600.