First performed in Turin, Italy, in 1896, La bohème became one of the world’s most eternally popular operas and a signature work of composer Giacomo Puccini. He, of course, took inspiration from Henri Murger’s novel Scènes de la vie de bohème (Scenes of Bohemian Life)—but was far from alone.
Also inspired were longtime rival Ruggero Leoncavallo, who composed a competing operatic adaptation, plus composers of operetta and zarzuela and more recently the creators of the Broadway musical RENT.
David Charles Abell, who’ll conduct the Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s four-performance production of La bohème in November, examines the enduring charm of its music and of Murger’s immortal Bohemians. The presentation is co-presented by the Lyric Opera.