La bohème

By Giacomo Puccini

San Diego Civic Theatre
1100 Third Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101

Friday, November 1, 2024 at 7:30 pm

Saturday, November 2, 2024 at 7:30 pm

Sunday, November 3, 2024 at 2:00 pm

Season Sponsor
City of San Diego

Young love…nothing is more all-consuming, turbulent, passionate, and heartbreaking.

La bohème, the timeless opera composed by Puccini, follows the lives of a group of struggling artists, including the poet Rodolfo and the seamstress, Mimì, as they navigate love, friendship, and hardship in 19th-century Paris. Full of some of the greatest melodies and arias Puccini ever composed, La bohème remains an opera for those who are in love, and for those who remember. We open our 60th Season with La bohème, the same opera that opened the very first season of San Diego Opera. This new production is told through Rodolfo’s memories of his love for Mimi, as was our innovative 2020 production – the very first drive-in opera of its kind in the United States.

These performances feature thrilling debuts and the exciting return of many SDO favorites. Featuring Kathleen O’Mara as Mimì (Nov. 1 & 3), Joshua Blue as Rodolfo (Nov. 1 & 3), César Delgado (Nov. 2), Latonia Moore as Musetta, Leroy Davis as Marcello, Harold Wilson as Colline, and Søren Pedersen as Schaunard.

Lidiya Yankovskaya will also make her first appearance with San Diego Opera, conducting the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. She has conducted more than 40 world premieres, including 17 operas. Keturah Stickann – a visionary director whose work has appeared with opera companies around the world – will reprise her role as director of La bohème after having directed San Diego Opera’s innovative drive-in production in 2020.

LANGUAGE – Sung in Italian with English and Spanish text projected above the stage

Pre-Opera Talk

The pre-opera talk begins at 6:40 pm before the 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday evening performances. The Sunday matinee pre-opera talk begins at 1:10 pm before the 2:00 pm curtain.

Mainstage Post-Opera Talk-Back

Stay after the Saturdan and Sunday performances for a Talk-Back. Once the curtain falls, there will be a 10-minute break, then join us in the front of the Dress Circle section where you can ask questions of the stars and cast (subject to availability), and find out what really happened onstage and backstage during the performance!

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Kathleen O’Mara
Mimì (Nov. 1 & 3)

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Joshua Blue
Rodolfo (Nov. 1 & 3)

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César Delgado
Rodolfo (Nov. 2)

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Latonia Moore

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Leroy Davis

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Harold Wilson

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Søren Pedersen

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Lidiya Yankovskaya

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Keturah Stickann

Synopsis in English


In his Paris study, Rodolfo struggles to write between daydreams. He finds himself reflecting on bittersweet memories of his not-so-distant past.


He is reminded of Christmas Eve in a Latin Quarter garret ten years earlier when he and painter Marcello, both near-destitute, try to keep warm using the pages of his latest drama as kindling for the stove. They are soon joined by their roommates, Colline, a philosopher, and Schaunard, a musician, who brings food, fuel, and funds he has collected from an eccentric student. As his three friends leave to celebrate their new fortune at Café Momus, Rodolfo remains behind to finish an article. There is a knock at the door; the visitor is a neighbor, Mimì, whose candle has gone out on the stairway. Rodolfo relights it. Mimì realizes she has lost her key, and in the confusion, both candles are blown out again. As the two search for the key in the moonlight, their hands touch. Rodolfo tells Mimì his dreams. She then recounts her life alone in a lofty garret, embroidering flowers and waiting for the spring. Expressing their joy in finding each other, Mimì and Rodolfo leave to join his friends.


Rodolfo remembers introducing Mimì to his friends that night at Café Momus. Marcello’s former sweetheart, Musetta, makes a noisy entrance, in the company of the wealthy Alcindoro. The ensuing mayhem reaches its peak when, trying to regain Marcello’s attention, she sings a waltz about her popularity. Sending Alcindoro off on an errand, she comes back to Marcello in dramatic fashion, and tells the waiter to charge everything to Alcindoro.


Rodolfo’s memory then wanders to a snowy morning on the outskirts of Paris, a few months after Christmas Eve. Mimì meets up with Marcello at a tavern where he is living. She tells him of her distress over Rodolfo’s incessant jealousy, and says she believes it is best that they part. When Rodolfo appears from the tavern, Mimì hides nearby, though Marcello thinks she has gone. The poet tells Marcello that he wants to separate from his sweetheart, citing her fickleness; pressed for the real reason, he breaks down, saying that her coughing can only grow worse in the poverty they share; he’s desperately afraid she will die from her illness. Overcome with sadness, Mimì stumbles forward to bid her lover farewell. While Mimì and Rodolfo recall past happiness, Musetta quarrels with Marcello, who has caught her flirting. The painter and his mistress part, hurling insults at each other, but Mimì and Rodolfo decide to remain together until spring.


Rodolfo’s final memory is of his garret that following spring, where he and Marcello pine for Mimì and Musetta. As Colline and Schaunard return, all are quickly interrupted by Musetta who bursts in to tell them that Mimì is outside, too weak to come upstairs. Rodolfo sees to Mimi, while Musetta asks Marcello to sell her earrings for medicine and Colline goes off to pawn his overcoat. Left alone, Mimì and Rodolfo recall their first meeting and their happy days, but she is seized with violent coughing. The others return as Mimì is drifting into her final slumber. As Rodolfo recalls his grief and loss, he calls out Mimi’s name despairingly.

Sinopsis en español

Coming soon….

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