Puccini's La Boheme
Puccini’s La Bohème: An Analysis
Giacomo Puccini has written a number of operas, including Turandot, Gianni Schicchi, and Madama Butterfly. La Bohème is said to be “one of the most successful and enchanting operas ever written.” Written in the romantic period, the text and score interrelations play an important role in an overall aesthetically and historically pleasing opera. In a story of love found and love lost, Puccini uses text and score to create empathy for the characters of La Boheme. Puccini does so particularly in the aria Donde lieta uscì, sung by Mimi towards the end of Act III.
Mimi introduces herself as a seamstress and neighbor looking for Rudolpho to light her candle. They soon develop a romantic relationship which
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Again the score comes to a moment of rest, which is used to give a moment for the audience to believe this may be the end. Mimi cannot leave things as they are, and suddenly remembers something that is another reminder of their early love. Mimi mentions the pink bonnet that Rudolpho had bought her on the night they met, singing, Bada… sotto il guanciale c’è la cuffietta rosa. Careful… she says in a very soft descending leap, the phrase continues quietly and sweetly as if singing too loudly would break the spell of their love. In a dramatic contrast of pitch and dynamic, she sings Se vuoi, se vuoi, se vuoi, serbarla a ricordo d’amor! This translates to If you wish, if you wish, if you wish keep it in memory of our love! The repetition of Se vuoi, suggests that this is a very important detail and although it is only an offer, it seems as though she is begging Rudolpho to take the bonnet. In truth, it has nothing to do with the bonnet, but all to do with Mimi not wanting him to leave no matter if she says goodbye. “...it is a characteristic comment on Real Life made with a touch of genius which makes the end of this third act of La Bohème on of the most unashamedly sentimental and irresistibly captivating moments in all opera.” To end this aria, Mimi repeats, in one of the most relatable moments in an opera Addio, addio, senza rancor. This single lines has a number of meanings behind it from we must say goodbye, to please