France 19th Century

Yes, while this blog series is supposed to talk about musicals I love, I think it is safe to bring up one Opera in the mix. I said that because the Met Opera streamed some of their operas for a week, and my favorite opera ended up being one of them. That in a way made up for the Anastasia Informance being postponed.

After all, musicals and operas both tell stories through songs-they are similar, but so different in many ways. If it wasn’t for my love for a particular musical= La Bohème wouldn’t have been in my life. All because of Rent, I will explain why I love La Bohème. I actually saw the stage show in person back in January in the 11th row.

Songs:

The best songs of La Bohème are gorgeous songs, which are the ones found between Rodolfo and Mimi. It is their love story after all. I l am not saying that the other songs are not wonderful- it is just I love Rodolfo and Mimi the most. Puccini knows how to create a wonderful story and its characters and create songs to go with them- I strongly love his La Bohème songs.

Characters:

Rodolfo-He is our poet and falls in love with Mimi. His poems talk about love.

Mimi- She is our seamstress and falls in love with Rodolfo. She is the most fragile and vulnerable of the major characters.

Marcello- He is our painter and in the beginning does see love as empty. Eventually, he does get back with Musetta

Colline- Well, I don’t know how to describe him, he lives with Marcello/Rodolfo/Schunard

Schunard- I don’t quite know how to describe him, except for who his friends are

Musetta- I see her as our comic relief character in La Bohème. However, she is crazy and can drive Marcello nuts. Despite all of the craziness, she still is sweet and caring

  • I actually love how they were able to develop their counterparts to Rent. Even though Rent was based off of La Bohème, they still were able to create these characters in a fresh way. For example, I truly can see Maureen in Musetta—but still can see them as two different characters.

Plot: Major Spoilers

About the story, it is the tragic love story between Rodolfo and Mimi in 19th century France. It deals with poverty and the artistic and bohemian lifestyle. Tuberculosis is what a number of people were dying from. Rodolfo and Mimi truly loved each other even when tragedy struck. It was Mimi who got seriously ill and wanted to die with Rodolfo by her side-and she did.

It really does hurt when Rodolfo finds out she has died, but to me the catharsis comes from the fact that Mimi was with Rodolfo when she died.

Conclusion:

If Rent never entered my life, La Bohème wouldn’t have. That is because I found out about La Bohème because of Rent. I can easily see the similarities/differences. Some of them actually make sense due to the time period they take place in-19th century vs. 1980s/1990s.

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