La bohème

Giacomo Puccini

12 Oct - 15 Nov 2019

Dates & venues

Can young love survive the winter?

Rodolfo and his friends are free-spirited artists, living in poverty amongst the garrets and cafés of Bohemian Paris. One cold Christmas night, Rodolfo’s neighbour Mimì comes to his door in search of a light. Their passionate love will change his life, but can it survive until spring comes?

Set in the bustling clubs and cafés of early-60s Paris, Phyllida Lloyd’s vibrant and joyous production is back with a new international cast. One of the most popular of all operas, Puccini’s tale is told through gloriously moving music that perfectly captures both the overwhelming rush of love at first sight, and the utter devastation of loss.

‘…hits hard…you could have heard a pin drop.’
★★★★ — The Telegraph (2014)

‘Lloyd’s venerable production still stands as the ideal introduction for newcomers.’
★★★★ — The Guardian (2014)


£15 to £75*
  • Leeds Grand Theatre
  • Theatre Royal Newcastle
  • Theatre Royal, Nottingham
  • The Lowry, Salford Quays

Running time
Approximately 2 hours 15 minutes

Sung in Italian with English titles

Save with Season Ticket Packages
Accessible performances are available
Get £10 tickets with our Under 30s scheme

*Prices vary by venue. Booking fees may apply.


On Christmas Eve, a group of bohemians living in Paris are barely surviving the harsh winter. They keep warm by feeding their stove with pages from the poet Rodolfo’s latest poem.

When Schaunard the musician arrives with funds from his latest commission, the group celebrate their good fortune. The landlord Benoit arrives, demanding rent but the group get him drunk instead. They all head out to celebrate but Rodolfo stays behind. Whilst alone, his neighbour Mimi knocks at the door asking for a light, as hers has gone out and she cannot find her way in the dark. Rodolfo, instantly infatuated, invites her to the café and they leave together.

On a busy street in the Latin Quarter, Rodolfo and Mimi join the rest of the group at Café Momus. The painter Marcello spots his ex-lover Musetta with her wealthy admirer Alcindoro, though it is clear she has grown bored of him. Longing to return to Marcello, she sings a risqué song in order to get his attention. Musetta then orders Alcindoro away and steals a chance to fall into Marcello’s arms. When the bill arrives for their meal, Musetta declares that Alcindoro will pay for it when he returns, and they quickly flee the scene.

Months later, Rodolfo and Mimi, though now a couple, are weathering tough times. Rodolfo is driven to despair by Mimi’s illness, which he fears is slowly killing her. Knowing that he can do nothing to help in the abject poverty in which they live, he has taken to being awful and unkind to her in order to drive her away.

When Mimi discovers this, she confronts Rodolfo and the two agree to separate but are unable to do so right away. They agree to wait until spring. Musette and Marcello also separate, much less amicably, after a fierce argument.

Spring has come and gone, and Rodolfo and Mimi have separated. Marcello tells Rodolfo that Mimi has since started seeing a wealthy viscount and is living like a queen.

However, Musetta arrives later that day with a desperately ill Mimi, who she found wandering the streets. Together they help her to bed and each rush off to sell their belongings for medicine. Rodolfo and Mimi both declare their love for each other. Mimi is overwhelmed with a violent coughing fit, after which she drifts off to sleep. Shortly after Schaunard announces that she has died and Rodolfo weeps by her side…


Lauren Fagan


Katie Bird


Eleazar Rodriguez


Thomas Atkins


Anush Hovhannisyan


Samantha Clarke


Yuriy Yurchuk


Timothy Nelson


Henry Neill


Emyr Wyn Jones


Creative team

Renato Balsadonna


Matthew Kofi Waldren


Phyllida Lloyd

Original Director

Michael Barker-Caven

Revival Director

Anthony Ward

Set and Costume Designer

La bohème
La bohème

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