Based on the novel 'Scenes de la Vie Boheme' by Henri Murger, the Met first presented La Boheme while on tour in Los Angeles with the great Nellie Melba as Mimi in 1900. For the next 58 years the opera never left the repertoire and since then there have only been a handful of seasons when it has not been performed, making it the most frequently staged work in the history of the company. Here is the full libretto, a synopsis, detailed program notes and a selection of photos from the Met archives.
There's a reason La Boheme has been staged at the Met more often than any other opera: Puccini's enticing music perfectly conveys the enchantment of new young love and the anguish that comes with loss and death. La Boheme, the passionate and timeless story of love among impoverished young artists in Paris, can stake its claim as the world's most popular opera. It has a marvellous ability to make a powerful first impression (even on those new to opera) and to reveal unexpected treasures after dozens of hearings. At first glance, La Boheme is the definitive depiction of the joys and sorrows of love and loss; on closer inspection, it reveals the deep emotional significance hidden in the trivial things (a bonnet, an old overcoat, a chance meeting with a neighbour) that make up our everyday lives. This touching story of tenderness and tragedy never fails to move audiences and melt hearts.