La Boheme

La Boheme : Libretto - An Opera in Four Acts

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LibrettoLa BohEmeAn Opera in Four ActsLibretto byG. Giacosa and L. IllicaEnglish Version byW. Grist and P. PinkertonMusic byGiacomo PucciniLa bohEme is an opera in four acts, composed by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on ScEnes de la vie de bohEme by Henri Murger. The world premiere performance of La bohEme was in Turin on 1 February 1896 at the Teatro Regio, conducted by the young Arturo Toscanini. Since then, La bohEme has become part of the standard Italian opera repertory and is one of the most frequently performed operas worldwide. In 1946, fifty years after the opera's premiere, Toscanini conducted a performance of it on radio with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. This performance was eventually released on records and on Compact Disc. It is the only recording of a Puccini opera by its original conductorAccording to its title page, the libretto of La bohEme is based on Henri Murger's novel, ScEnes de la vie de bohEme, a collection of vignettes portraying young bohemians living in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the 1840s. Although usually called a novel, it has no unified plot. Like the 1849 play by Murger and ThEodore BarriEre, the opera's libretto focuses on the relationship between Rodolfo and MimI, ending with her death. Also like the play, the libretto combines two characters from the novel, MimI and Francine, into a single MimI character. Early in the composition stage Puccini was in dispute with the composer Leoncavallo, who said that he had offered Puccini a completed libretto and felt that Puccini should defer to him. Puccini responded that he had had no idea of Leoncavallo's interest and that having been working on his own version for some time, he felt that he could not oblige him by discontinuing with the opera. Leoncavallo completed his own version in which Marcello was sung by a tenor and Rodolfo by a baritone. It was unsuccessful and is now rarely performed.Much of the libretto is original. The main plots of acts two and three are the librettists' invention, with only a few passing references to incidents and characters in Murger. Most of acts one and four follow the novel, piecing together episodes from various chapters. The final scenes in acts one and four--the scenes with Rodolfo and MimI--resemble both the play and the novel. The story of their meeting closely follows chapter 18 of the novel, in which the two lovers living in the garret are not Rodolphe and MimI at all, but rather Jacques and Francine. The story of MimI's death in the opera draws from two different chapters in the novel, one relating Francine's death and the other relating MimI's.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 76 pages
  • 177.8 x 254 x 4.57mm | 204.12g
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1507683537
  • 9781507683538

About G Giacosa

Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini (Italian: 22 December 1858 - 29 November 1924) was an Italian composer whose operas are among the important operas played as standards. Puccini has been called "the greatest composer of Italian opera after Verdi." While his early work was rooted in traditional late-19th-century romantic Italian opera, he successfully developed his work in the realistic verismo style, of which he became one of the leading exponents.
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