»E come vivo? Vivo!« With Giacomo Puccini’s masterpiece La Bohème, Barrie Kosky is staging a key work of contemporary life in nineteenth-century Paris – as a portrait of life between art, unrequited love and modern isolation in the face of death. Under the musical direction of Jordan de Souza, ensemble member Nadja Mchantaf in the role of the fragile Mimì and the young Armenian tenor Liparit Avetisyan as the exuberant poet Rodolfo tackle one of the most moving love stories in the history of musical theatre.
Life is grand! And it is cold... on Christmas Eve in 1830 in Paris’ Quartier Latin. The Bohémiens Rodolfo, Marcello, Colline and Schaunard do not have enough money for rent, firewood or a Christmas feast. Though they may be poor in money, they are rich in joie de vivre and filled with the warmth of love: the poet Rodolfo loves Mimì, while his friend Marcello is once again falling for the beautiful Musetta. The artists celebrate, argue, suffer and love their way through the winter – until Rodolfo, plagued by financial woe and an inability to cope, abandons the mortally ill Mimì. Only at the last minute do he and his friends realise what a gift love and their lives are... but it is too late.
Written in the mid-nineteenth century and immortalising his era, his friends and his own life in the legendary Parisian artists’ quarter, Henri Murger’s novel is a literary monument. The Scenes from the lives of the Bohème portray the suffering, celebrations and loves of an early sub-culture whose anti-bourgeois lifestyle would later become the epitome of modern artistic existence, thanks to Giacomo Puccini’s ingenious interpretation of the source material. Premièred in 1896, the score depicts grand images of social life in realistic sounds and contrasts big-city ensembles with moments of delicate interiority whose overwhelming emotions become a moving allegory of art, life, and life’s transience.