I went to see La Boheme (Puccini) sung at the Sydney Opera and I was absolutely in awe of the voices and of some of the really cute and cheesy romantic dialogue. The opera follows two couples as they get together and fall apart in the turn of the century Paris. They struggle with poverty, living from one paycheck to the other – the true artists and writers that made Paris the location of enlightenment and new and revolutionary ideas.
They were so poor they had to burn the theatre play in three acts that Rodolfo was writing so that they could just be slightly warmer. Rodolfo’s life changes when his crush, his neighbour Mimi, comes by and asks for a light for her cigarette. Little did he know that Mimi also had a crush on him 🙂
|Who am I? I’m a poet.
My business? Writing.
How do I live? I live.
In my happy poverty
I squander like a prince
my poems and songs of love.
In hopes and dreams
I’m a millionaire in spirit.But sometimes my strong-box
is robbed of all its jewels
by two thieves: a pair of pretty eyes.
They came in now with you
and all my lovely dreams,
my dreams of the past,
were soon stolen away.
But the theft doesn’t upset me,
since the empty place was filled
Now that you know me,
it’s your turn to speak.
Who are you? Will you tell me?
|They call me Mimì, but my real name’s Lucia.
My story is brief.
I embroider silk and satin
at home or outside.
I’m tranquil and happy,
and my pastime is making lilies and roses.
I love all things
that have gentle magic,
that talk of love, of spring,
that talk of dreams and fancies –
the things called poetry…
Do you understand me?They call me Mimì –
I don’t know why.
I live all by myself and I eat alone.
I don’t often go to church, but I like to pray.
I stay all alone
in my tiny white room,
I look at the roofs and the sky.
But when spring comes
the sun’s first rays are mine.
April’s first kiss is mine, is mine!
The sun’s first rays are mine!
A rose blossoms in my vase,
I breathe its perfume, petal by petal.
So sweet is the flower’s perfume.
But the flowers I make, alas,
the flowers I make, alas,
alas, have no scent.
Oh! lovely girl! Oh, sweet face
bathed in the soft moonlight.
I see in you the dream
I’d dream forever!
MIMÌ: (Ah! Love, you rule alone!…)
RODOLFO: Already I taste in spirit the heights of tenderness!
MIMÌ: (You rule alone, o Love!)
RODOLFO: Already I taste in spirit the heights of tenderness! Love trembles in our kiss!
MIMÌ: (How sweet his praises enter my heart…
Love, you alone rule!)
(Rodolfo kisses her.)
At the same time Marcello gets reunited with his cheating wife (who left him for richer men and revels in a life of luxury). So when Marcello looks at Rodolfo and Mimi, he feels that heartbreak is soon to follow after such a fast romance:
Oh, sweet age of false utopias! You hope and believe, and all seems beautiful.
At the same time Mimi and Rodolfo feel sad for Marcello and Musete – as their love is passionate but doomed as they don’t trust each other anymore.
Rodolfo: Love is weak when it leaves wrongs unavenged. Love, once dead, cannot be revived,
MIMÌ: I feel so sorry for the poor girl. Love is sad when it’s unforgiving. I feel so sorry
As the winter grows colder, their relationship hits a snag. Rodolfo is overly jealous of Mimi as he feels that he is too poor to be able to offer her the lifestyle she deserves and he fears that her cough is getting worse and she might be dying of consumption. He wants to leave her so that she can find some richer man and escape the dregs.
Mimì’s a hothouse flower, blighted by poverty. To bring her back to life love’s not enough.
So there comes the sweet breakup:
So it’s really over.
You’re leaving, my little one?
Goodbye to our dreams of love.
MIMÌ: Goodbye to our sweet wakening.
RODOLFO: Goodbye, life in a dream.
MIMÌ: Goodbye, doubts and jealousies…
RODOLFO: …That one smile of yours could dispel.
MIMÌ Goodbye, suspicions…
MIMÌ …Poignant bitterness…
RODOLFO …That, like a poet, I made rhyme with caress.
RODOLFO and MIMÌ To be alone in winter is death!
RODOLFO and MIMÌ But when the spring comes the sun is our companion.
MIMÌ The sun is our companion. Nobody’s lonely in April.
RODOLFO One can speak to roses and lilies.
MIMÌ Birds twitter softly in their nests.
Shall we wait until spring comes again?
Wanna hear the spoiler? She does leave him and goes and lives with a count and then when the cough got too hard, she returns to Rodolfo to die in his arms. Like WTF woman? Even cats do you the honour of not making you sad and go somewhere remote to die so you won’t mourn them. Elephants do it too! But this woman, knowing that she’s dying, goes back to her ex, who was still pining for her, to give him a trauma he’s likely to carry with him for the rest of his life. Poor Rodolpho and screw Mimi! Her selfishness affected all the people in her life and while she dies happily, everyone around her is sad and even poorer than before when she came. I mean a guy had to sell the coat on his back to buy her medicine!
Mimi: Thank you…but the cost…
You’re crying? I’m well.
Why are you crying like this?
Here, beloved…with you always!
My hands…the warmth…to sleep.
Well, I did cry, and I did like the opera. Even though this was the first one I saw in my whole 34 years of living. (It ain’t over until the fat lady sings!)