La Bohème

Buy tickets
February 1970 Next

Scene I 
A Garret

In an unheated garret Marcello, an artist, is working on his canvas “Crossing the Red Sea”. He has difficulty holding his brush because the cold has so cramped his fingers. His friend, the poet Rodolfo, enviously looks at the smoke emerging from the smokestacks of the well-heated Parisian houses. Marcello sadly muses over his flighty and unfaithful girl-friend Musetta. Rodolfo turns down Marcello’s offer to fire the stove with his unfinished “Red Sea” and decides to sacrifice the first act of his drama rather than break up the chair for this purpose. 

Another friend, the philosopher Colline, returns with a bundle of books that he wanted to sell, but since this is Christmas eve the stores were closed. His bad mood is dispelled by the warmth of the heated stove. 

The fourth member of the group of friends arrives. The musician Schaunard with the help of errand-boys has brought delicious snacks, wine, cigars, firewood and a bunch of coins. All are so aghast atthe sight of such riches that they are not listening to Schaunard’s story about what happened. He became acquainted with a bored Englishman who wanted nothing more of him than that he “play” until death a parrot that was disturbing him. The successful job, which was not completed without a little poison, was generously rewarded. Schaunard hinders the immediate consumption of the food, but allows them to enjoy the wine. Then, in a condescending tone, he invites his friends to partake in Latin Quarter cuisine. 

The joyful mood is disturbed by the arrival of Benoit, the old landlord, who demands the long-overdue rent. They reassure him by showing that they have money and offer him wine. He becomes somewhat tight and boasts of past amorous escapades, whereupon they hit him with his own weapon of Philistine morals: indignantly, they turn the shameful “debauchee” out of the room without paying the rent. Schaunard magnanimously shares his money with his friends and all head for their favourite cafe. Rodolfo decides to stay for a few minutes to finish an article. The friends will wait for him below. 

Mimi, a neighbour, comes to ask that her extinguished candle be lighted. A coughing spell detains her in the room. Rodolfo is captivated by the tender creature. After leaving, Mimi returns in search of her key. The draft extinguishes both candles. Rodolfo and Mimi rummage in the dark in search of the key. Rodolfo finds it and unnoticed hides it. Taking advantage of the situation, he dares totouch Mimi’s hand. 

Rodolfo contemplates: can he build castles in the air when he is merely a hopelessly poor poet? But Mimi’s beautiful eyes immediately give him reason for optimism. 

Mimi tells about herself: she is a seamstress. Her simple existence is warmed by the modest happiness of “unrealizable fantasies” and the “poetry” of minutiae. Rodolfo’s friends are still waiting below and call to him. He tells them to go on and promises to follow shortly. In the enchanting beams of the moonlight penetrating the attic, Rodolfo and Mimi speak of their love for each other.Then, Mimi remembers their promise, so hand in hand they head for the Latin Quarter. 

Scene II 
In the Latin Quarter

At the Christmas fair in front of the cafe, traders offer their goods. Each of the friends, having come into means, makes his purchases. Schaunard buys a defective horn, Colline acquires a stack of books and Rodolfo a mob-cap for Mimi. Only Marcello, yearning for Musetta, cannot find consolation in spending money or flirting with other girls. The companions finally meet in the cafe. Mimi is gladly accepted as one of the group. While in the street children noisily surround Parpignol, the trader of toys. They order exquisite viands. Rodolfo and Mimi’s love makes Marcello utter bitter truths. 

The season for Marcello’s dejected state soon comes to light. The appearance of Musetta, accompanied by a rich and already piqued suitor, calls forth a burst of animation in the cafe. The darling ofthe Latin Quarter tries by all means to attract the attention of her former lover. Marcello, despite all efforts, cannot hide that he is not indifferent to her. When Musetta, to Alcindoro’s shame, sings a song directed only to Marcello, the ice breaks. Enfeebled Alcindoro is unable to pacify excited Musetta. Musetta gets rid of her suitor by claiming that her foot hurts and she needs new shoes. As soon as he leaves, Musetta and Marcello fall into each others arms. The check brought by the waiter causes bewilderment, but Musetta puts the bill on Alcindoro’s account. When Alcindoro returns, he finds the cafe empty. He remains alone with the box of shoes and the unpaid bill. 

Scene III 
At the Gate d’Enfer

Marcello and Musetta have found temporary quarters in a tavern on the outskirts of Paris. Marcello is painting a signboard for the owner. Mimi, plagued by coughing spells, asks the sergeant about theartist Marcello. She calls him from the tavern and tells him about her troubles. She knows that Rodolfo loves her, but nevertheless he has left her. 

Marcello confirms that Rodolfo has come here early morning and, exhausted, is now sleeping. Under such circumstances, he is also for separation. He, like Musetta, prefers a light relationship.Rodolfo wants to open his heart to his friend. Marcello does not hide that he thinks Marcello is concealing something. Rodolfo claims that Mimi continuously flirts with other men, so that living with her has become impossible. When Marcello expresses doubts, Rodolfo reveals the real reason for his decision: Mimi’s incurable disease and his poor room with northern exposure is undermining her health further. Marcello is unable to prevent Mimi from learning the bitter truth. A coughing spell reveals her presence. Repenting, Rodolfo embraces Mimi, while jealous Marcello, infuriated by the flirtatious laughter of Musetta, rushes into the tavern. 

Now, Mimi has decided to leave Rodolfo. But recalling their life together does not allow them to separate. While Marcello makes a scene out of jealousy and Musetta leaves him again, Rodolfo and Mimidecide to postpone separation until Spring. 

Scene IV 
A Garret

Several months later. Rodolfo and Marcello are again alone in the garret. They cannot forget their past happiness. The friends are submerged in thoughts. Each is looking at his pledge of love: Marcello at Musetta’s portrait and Rodolfo at the mob-cap, his present to Mimi. 

Schaunard and Colline enter and bring only stale bread and a wretched herring. With the humour of gallows-birds, they act as though before them is a richly-laden table. 

At the height of the merriment, Musetta rushes in with the news that Mimi feels her end is approaching. Rodolfo seats Mimi in an arm-chair. Life returns. Everyone tries to lighten Mimi’s suffering. Marcello is to sell Musetta’s earrings and bring medicine. Musetta wants to buy a muff for Mimi’s hands that are always cold. 

Colline is taking his old, worn coat to be pawned. Schaunard, who has nothing, contributes his only available contribution: he leaves Mimi and Rodolfo alone. 

Happiness returns to Rodolfo and Mimi. They talk about memories of their past. A sudden choking spell makes Mimi silent. Marcello returns with medicine, Musetta with the desired muff. She supports Mimi’s illusion that it is Rodolfo’s gift. Mimi falls asleep happy. Marcello reports that the doctor will come soon. Schaunard is the first to realize that Mimi is dead. Colline returns with money from the pawnshop. The change in the behaviour of Marcello and Schaunard makes Rodolfo realize that Mimi has died.

Program and cast

28 March 2019/ 30 March 2019

Conductor                       Tugan Sokhiev

Rodolfo, a poet                Matteo Lippi

Marcello, a painter           Konstantin Shushakov

Schaunard, a musician     Yuri Syrov

Colline, a philosopher       Denis Makarov

Mimi                                   Dinara Alieva

Musetta                              Anna Khrapko

Alcindoro, state councillor   Otar Kunchulia

Benoit, a landlord                 Alexander Naumenko

Parpignol, a toy-seller          Ivan Maximeyko

29 March 2019/31 March 2019 

Conductor                       Tugan Sokhiev

Rodolfo, a poet                Davide Giusti

Marcello, a painter           Aluda Todua

Schaunard, a musician     Nikolai Kazansky

Colline, a philosopher       David Leigh

Mimi                                  Maria Mudryak

Musetta                                Anastasia Sorokina

Alcindoro, state councillor   Alexander Naumenko

Benoit, a landlord                 Valery Gilmanov

Parpignol, a toy-seller          Marat Gali



Bolshoi Theatre

On 28 March (17 according to the old style) 1776, Catherine II granted the prosecutor, Prince Pyotr Urusov, the "privilege" of "maintaining" theatre performances of all kinds, including masquerades, balls and other forms of entertainment, for a period of ten years. And it is from this date that Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre traces its history.

The Bolshoi building, which for many years now has been regarded as one of Moscow’s main sights, was opened on 20 October 1856, on Tsar Alexander II’s coronation day.

On 29 October 2002 the Bolshoi was given a New Stage and it was here it presented its performances during the years the Historic Stage was undergoing massive reconstruction and refurbishment.

The reconstruction project lasted from l July 2005 to 28 October 2011. As a result of this reconstruction, many lost features of the historic building were reinstated and, at the same time, it has joined the ranks of most technically equipped theatre buildings in the world.

The Bolshoi Theatre is a symbol of Russia for all time. It was awarded this honor due to the major contribution it made to the history of the Russian performing arts. This history is on-going and today Bolshoi Theatre artists continue to contribute to it many bright pages.


An inherent part of the Theatre’s activities is the presentation of concerts of symphony and chamber works, and of operas in concert performance, thus acquainting the public with works of all music genres. 

Now that the Bolshoi Theatre has two stages at its disposal, one of them its legendary Historic Stage which is at last back in action again, it hopes to fulfill its mission with an even greater degree of success, steadily extending the sphere of its influence at home and throughout the world.


The Bolshoi has to a large extent reacquired its authentic historical appearance, lost during the years of Soviet power. The auditorium and part of its suite of halls now look as they were originally conceived by Bolshoi Theatre architect Alberto Cavos. While the former imperial foyer halls have been given back their 1895 decor, this was the year they were redecorated for Emperor Nicholas II’s coronation celebrations. Each reproduced or restored element of interior decoration was made the object of a special project for which separate documentation was collected based on numerous archival and on-site researches.

In 2010 the auditorium suite of halls were renovated: the Lobby, the Main or the White Foyer, the Choral, Exhibition, Round and Beethoven halls. Muscovites were able to admire the restored facades and the renovated symbol of the Bolshoi Theatre — the famous Apollo quadriga, created by the sculptor Peter Klodt.

The auditorium has regained its original beauty. And, just like the 19th century theatergoer, so each member of the public today will be dazzled by its extravagant and at the same time “light” décor. The bright crimson, scattered with gold, draping of the interiors of the boxes, the different on each level stucco arabesques, the Apollo and the Muses plafond — all this contributes to the auditorium’s breath-taking impact.

Special attention was paid to the restoration of the legendary acoustics. International experts did extensive research work and made sure all their technical recommendations were carried out to the letter.

State of the art machinery has been installed in the stagehouse. The Bolshoi Theatre Historic stage now consists of seven two-tier rising and descending platforms. These platforms can easily change their positions, thus the stage can become horizontal, raked or stepped. The stage and backstage area can be united which creates a stage space of incredible depth.

New upper stage equipment, remotely controlled by computer, makes it possible to derive maximum use from lighting, sound and visual effects. Cutting edge rigs have been installed for the deployment of lanterns, special effects apparatus and acoustics. 

The orchestra pit has been provided with extra space under the forestage. This makes it one of the biggest orchestra pits in the world seating up to 130 musicians, which is necessary for the performance of such large-scale works as, for instance, Wagner operas.

The installation of state of the art stage equipment was a unique world-scale project. The reconstruction has doubled the Theatre’s total floor space. Thanks to the expansion of the Theatre’s existing underground spaces (under stagehouse) and to the construction of new underground space under Theatre Square, this has been achieved without any change to the Theatre’s external appearance.

Thus the Theatre has acquired badly needed new space, including an underground concert and rehearsal room, which has inherited its name from the Beethoven Hall, under the Theatre lobby. This hall is a multi-functional space which can be used in different ways. It consists of five main platforms: the central platform is the stage itself, two platforms to the right and left of it can be used either to increase the size of the stage or as audience space. The two remaining platforms form the main space of the auditorium. All of the platforms can be raised to foyer level to create a space for holding formal, receptions. Apart from this concert hall and its auxiliary premises, the rest of the underground space under Theatre Square accommodates a large number of technical, service and staff rooms.

The Bolshoi Theatre reconstruction project also included the renovation of the Khomyakov House, a protected architectural monument of the first half of the nineteenth century situated immediately behind the Bolshoi, which has been transformed into a service wing. Due to numerous 20th century reconstructions, the historical interiors of the Khomyakov House have been totally lost. While its main walls have been preserved, the interior layout has been redesigned to meet the Theatre’s present-day requirements. Thus the Khomaykov House, which is linked to the main Bolshoi Theatre building by an underground tunnel, is a key element in the gigantic Bolshoi Theatre complex.

The renovation of the country’s main stage was a landmark event in the lives of a large coordinated team of highest-level professionals. Participating in the project were uniquely qualified specialists whose great feat of labor will earn them the undying gratitude of present-day Bolshoi Theatre audiences.



Mokhovaya Street

If you are on Mokhovaya Street keep driving straight ahead, not turning off it, till you reach Theatre Square where the Bolshoi Theatre is situated.

Tverskaya Street

If you are moving down Tverskaya, in the direction of the centre, you will automatically find yourself on Teatralnyi Proezd Street leading to the Bolshoi Theatre.

Petrovka Street

If you are on the Petrovka, which is a one-way street, you will be able to drive right up to the Theatre.


Take the metro to Teatralnaya (Bolshoi Theatre exit) or Okhotnyi ryad (Theatre Square exit).

Related events