There are few productions in the world of opera that could compete with this lyrical drama
It is not pretentious, convoluted or emotional — here, the art of opera and the real world collide. It was not by chance that Puccini turned to the only book by Murger that survived its author: The composer knew the protagonists very well: at times, during his studies at the Milan Conservatory, he too had to go without food, just like them. Later, at the time of success and financial independence, he was a centre of the crowd of artists, painters and writers, nicknamed on his initiative ‘The Bohemian Club.’
The composer conceived the idea of the opera in 1893. The opera was created to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica (1853-1919) and Giuseppe Giacosa(1847-1906), yet it was Puccini who shaped the plan and sketched the characters of the protagonists, who differ from those in the original. Puccini was absorbed by the opera and started composing it in 1894, when the libretto wasn’t ready yet.
Puccini wrote his opera La bohème contemporaneously with Leoncavallo’s own treatment of the same story. The rivalry ended in a quarrel. By the end of 1985 Puccini’s La bohème was ready and received its première on 1 February 1896 in Turin.