La Boheme

Ruggero Leoncavallo and Giacomo Puccini both composed - almost simultaneously - their respective versions of La bohème. The episodic nature of the literary source of these works –Scènes of la vie bohéme by Henri Murger was originally published in a literary magazine. It allowed both authors to put together very different librettos with one characteristic in common: both are a kaleidoscopic portrait of a community of young artists in an idealized Paris of the 1840s. However, whereas for the composer of Pagliacci , Murger’s scenes of Bohemian life were replicated in the cocktail of infidelities and jealousies that had brought him the success of his most emblematic piece, Puccini tempered the verista aspects of the story by transforming his opera into an everlasting ode to youth with a final and bitter nod to its inevitable impermanence. The production by Richard Jones, which we remember from the 2017-2018 season, approaches this "indestructible title" with a respect for tradition, but taking its distance. The audience watches the stage hands shift scenery, perhaps in keeping with a Puccini who set aside raw verismo in order to preserve, as if wrapped in amber, a piece of reality.


Work team