La bohème

Music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Luigi Illica & Giuseppe Giacosa

A chance encounter on a winter night changes everything for Mimì and Rodolfo, sending them into a deep, passionate whirlwind in the heart of Paris. For over 100 years, audiences have been captivated by Puccini’s unforgettable music in this sweetly sentimental tale of young lovers in Paris.

Sung in Italian with English captions

Friday, September 23, 8pm
Sunday, September 25, 2pm
Tuesday, September 27, 1:30pm
Thursday, September 29, 8pm
Sunday, October 2, 2pm

Note: Valet Parking will only be available for Friday & Sunday performances

The W.L. Lyons Brown Theatre

Kentucky Opera - La bohème. Presented at the Brown Theatre in Louisville Kentucky. Opera tickets & calendar.
Kentucky Opera - La bohème. Presented at the Brown Theatre in Louisville Kentucky. Opera tickets & calendar.
Joseph Mechavich, conductor

Joseph Mechavich

Kelly Kitchens, director

Kelly Kitchens


Chaz'men Williams-Ali

Chaz’men Williams-Ali

Sponsored by Carol Sharpe Harper

Shannon Jennings
Mimì, a seamstress

Shannon Jennings

Sponsored by Melinda V. Heinritz,
in memory of Lynda Kay Vogler

Leroy Davis
Marcello, a painter

Leroy Davis

Marquita Richardson
Musetta, a grisette

Marquita Richardson

Sandford Studio Artist

Jason Zacher
Colline, a philosopher

Jason Zacher

Sandford Studio Artist

Kyle White
Schaundard, a musician

Kyle White

Sandford Studio Artist

Peter Strummer
Benoit, a landlord &
Alcindoro, admirer of Musetta

Peter Strummer


Act I

On Christmas Eve, a group of bohemians living in a garret in Paris are barely surviving. Rodolfo, a writer, and Marcello, a painter, keep warm by feeding their stove with pages from the poet Rodolfo’s latest play. They are soon joined by their roommates—Colline, a philosopher, and Schaunard, a musician, who brings unexpected funds he has collected from an eccentric nobleman. Before they have time to celebrate, the landlord Benoît arrives to collect the rent. The group quickly escape paying by getting him drunk and tricking him. The roommates head out to celebrate but Rodolfo stays behind to work. He is interrupted when Mimì, a neighbor, knocks at the door asking for help—her candle has gone out and she cannot find her way in the dark. Mimì feels faint, and after Rodolfo helps her, they tell each other about their lives and dreams. Both are instantly enamored, and Rodolfo invites her to the café and they leave together. 

Act II

On a street bustling with revelers, shoppers, vendors, and children in the Latin Quarter, Rodolfo and Mimì join the rest of the group at Café Momus. Marcello spots his ex-lover Musetta with her wealthy admirer Alcindoro, with whom she has grown bored. Determined to catch Marcello’s attention and reclaim his heart, she sings a song about her irresistible attractions. Musetta then orders Alcindoro away on a pretext and falls into Marcello’s waiting arms. When the bill arrives for their meal, Musetta declares that Alcindoro will pay for it once he returns, and amidst a parade they all joyfully flee the scene. 


On a chilly February morning months later, dawn breaks at a tollgate on the edge of Paris. Mimì arrives, coughing and weak, searching for the inn where Marcello and Musetta now live. She pours out her heart to Marcello, telling him how Rodolfo is making their life miserable with his obsessive jealousy and that it is time they separate. When Rodolfo emerges from the inn, she hides. Rodolfo confesses to Marcello he is purposely driving Mimì away because he fears her illness can only grow worse in the poverty they share.  Mimì then confronts Rodolfo and the two agree to separate but not until the spring. After a fierce argument, and much less amicably, Musetta and Marcello also separate. 

Act IV

Spring has come and gone, and Rodolfo and Mimì have separated. In their garret, Marcello and Rodolfo try to work, but both are depressed and out of sorts. When Schaunard and Colline arrive with a meagre supper, they decide to make the best of things. Just as their fun is getting going, Musetta bursts in. Mimì is with her; she has left her rich lover and is dying. The friends leave to sell their belongings to buy medicine and find a doctor. Left alone, Mimì and Rodolfo reaffirm their love. The others return and, in the confusion of sorrow and concern, Mimì dies, unnoticed. Grief-stricken, Rodolfo cries out her name.