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Sun. Dec. 22, 2019

Giacomo Puccini

La Bohème

Conductor: Marco Armiliato, Director: Franco Zeffirelli
With Saimir Pirgu, Anita Hartig, Marco Caria, Mariam Battistelli

 

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Marco Armiliato | Conductor

MARCO ARMILIATO studied piano at the Paganini-Conservatoire in his hometown of Genova. In the 90s, he became intensely active in the big opera houses of the world. At the New York Met, he conducted Il trovatore, La Bohème, Stiffelio, Madama Butterfly, Sly, Aida, Turandot, La Fille du Ré­giment and Rigoletto, and at the San Francisco Opera La Bohème, Madama Butterfly, Turandot, La traviata, Tosca, Aida and Ca­valleria rusticana. At the Wiener Staatsoper, where he made his debut in 1996 with Andrea Chénier, he has conducted among others, Il barbiere di Siviglia, La Bohème, Carmen, Cavalleria rusticana, Don Carlo, L’elisir d’amore, Falstaff, La forza del de­stino, Lucia di Lammermoor, Manon, Manon Lescaut, Pagliacci, Simon Boccanegra, Stiffelio, Tosca, La traviata, Turandot and Werther. He received further engagements at the opera houses of Barcelona, Madrid, Zurich, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Turin, Rome, at the Deutsche Opera Berlin, the Bavarian State Opera, at the ROH Covent Garden, at the Théâtre du Châtelet and Opéra Bastille in Paris, at the Hamburg State Opera and Verona. He is also internationally successful as a concert conductor.

Anita Hartig | Mimì

The soprano Anita Hartig was born in Romania. After completing the Music School, the young singer completed her vocal studies at the Music Academy in Cluj-Napoca. Anita Hartig is a prize winner of several international competitions. In 2006, she gave her stage debut as Mimì in La Bohème at the Opera in Cluj. At the Wiener Staatsoper, where she is an ensemble member, Anita Hartig gave her debut in October 2009 as Musetta (La Bohème) and has also sung roles among others, like Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Despina (Così fan tutte), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Echo (Ariadne auf Naxos), Frasquita (Carmen), Mimì (La Bohème), Marzelline (Fidelio), Micaëla (Carmen) and Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro). Performances have led the soprano to important international music theatres, e.g. at the Hamburg Staatsoper, Tokyo and Athens, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, the Théâtre de la Monnaie and the Cardiff Na­tional Opera, Berlin, the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, the Milan Scala as well as the Metropolitan Opera in New York. 

Portrait Anita Hartig

Marco Caria | Marcello

MARCO CARIA was born in Sardinia and is considered as one of the most important singers of his generation. He received his musical training at the Conservatorio di Sassari and received a scholarship from the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. He has one several notable vocal competitions, like the Tito Gobbi Competition in 2004. Furthermore, he was also a multiple winner of the prestigious Plácido Domingo Operalia Competition in 2007. For several years, he has been perfecting himself under Mirella Freni. In 2008, he gave his debut in North America with the work of Don Carlo (La forza del destino) in Cincinnati, and sung the role of Rodrigo. He took part in Paggliaci and Maria Stuarda at the Teatro La Fenice, and also at the Wexford Festival Oper, the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires and at the Verbier Festival. Since the 2010/2011 season, Marco Caria is an ensemble member of the Wiener Staatsoper and has since then sung, among others, Figa­ro (Barbiere di Siviglia), Christian (Ballo in maschera), Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), Mar­cello (La Bohème), Belcore (L’elisir d’amore), Paolo, Silvio (Pagliacci), Ford (Falstaff), Albert (Werther) and Enrico (Lucia di Lammermoor).

Saimir Pirgu | Rodolfo

Saimir Pirgu was born in 1981 and studied violin in his hometown Elbasan (Albania) and vocal arts in Tirana and Bolzano. He won the Eberhard Waechter singing medal. Saimir Pirgu made his debut at the Rossini Festival in Pesaro in Il viaggio a Reims and Adina and has since then regularly sung at the Teatro Comunale di Ferrara, at the New York Met, at the Salzburger Festspiele, at the Hamburgische, Bayerische and Berliner Staatsoper, in Rome, Zürich, Bologna, Amsterdam, Valencia, Turin, Los Angeles, Florence, at the ROH Covent Garden, at the Ravinia Festival. Further engagements have for example led him to La Scala in Milan and to the Wiener Festwochen. His repertoire includes e.g. Ferrando (Cosi fan tutte), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Nemorino (Elisir d’amore), Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi), Fenton (Falstaff), Alfredo Germont (La traviata), Il Duca di Mantova (Rigoletto), Christian (Cyrano), Rodolfo (La Bohème), Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Tamino (Die Zauberflöte). He made his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2004 as Nemorino and has since then sung Ferrando, Don Ottavio, Fenton (Falstaff), Edmondo (Manon Lescaut), Alfredo (Traviata) here.

Mariam Battistelli | Musetta

Soprano MARIAM BATTISTELLI was born in Ethiopia and studied at Campiani Conservatoire in Mantua. In 2010, she acted opposite Plácido Domingo and Ruggero Raimondi in the opera film Rigoletto in Mantua, conducted by Zubin Mehta. In 2014, she came third in Verona International Competition Maria Callas, and the following year she won a prize in the Franca Mattiucci International Vocal Competition. In Rome, she won the first prize in the International Opera Competition Ottavio Ziino. From 2013-2016, Mariam Battistelli studied at Centre de Perfeccionament Plácido Domingo at Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia, where she sang in productions such as Manon Lescaut, L’incoronazione di Dario (Antonio Vivaldi) and Juditha triumphans (Antonio Vivaldi). Apart from this, the soprano performed at the world premiere of The Opera! in Muscat. Her work is not restricted to operas, but includes concerts, too. At Vienna State Opera, where Mariam Battistelli has been a member of the ensemble since the beginning of 2018, she made her debut as Pamina in The Magic Flute for Kids, and she has also sung Cinderella and the Flower Maiden.

Act 1 In the garret: Christmas Eve in the squalid garret in which four young artists live is hardly likely to be different from any other night. Marcel is working on a painting, Rodolfo, a poet and writer, is looking out over the rooftops of Paris. None of them have any money and they are cold, but nevertheless in good spirits. A bundle of manuscripts provides warmth from the oven only for a few brief moments. Colline, a philosopher by profession, comes home empty handed - the pawnshop was closed. But the fourth occupant, Schaunard, a musician, has had better luck. He talks, but no one listens to him - the groceries they have brought home with them promise a merry celebration. But Schaunard has other ideas - they ought rather to be eating out on Christmas Eve. But another obstacle still has to be overcome: their landlord knocks at the door demanding the rent. A glass of wine and convivial conversation, and he falls into the artists' trap: with a wink he tells them of his love affair, reason enough for the four friends to show him the door to with a display of moral indignation. Rodolfo stays behind to finish an article whilst the others go on ahead to the Café Momus. There is a knock at the door: the young woman standing outside wishes to relight her candle, which has gone out. She collapses in a fit of coughing. Grateful for the help she has received, she makes as if leave again. However, not quite by chance, she has lost her key: the drafts blows out all the candles. In the darkness, their hands touch. Her name is Mimì, she tells him, and she embroiders flowers... Outside Rodolfo's friends are calling him. Somehow Christmas Eve has lost its gloom. Act 2 The Quartier Latin: The student quarter of Paris presents a colourful picture, with crowds of people swarming in the streets. Rodolfo buys a bonnet for Mimì and invites her to the Café Momus, where he introduces her to his friends, relishing their admiration. Only Marcel's trouble and strife has a name: Musetta. Escorted by a wealthy old admirer, she appears to have every intention of pulling out all the stops in the art of seduction. Marcel cannot cope with such a public display of affection, and an old flame is rekindled in his heart. Act 3 The Barrière d'Enfer: A gloomy February morning at the turnpike which separates the Parisian suburbs from the inner city. Labourers, carters and dairywomen are allowed through the turnpike, past the tavern bearing a half-finished sign painted by Marcel. Musette's voice seems to come wafting on the wind. It is bitterly cold. Mimì has had a quarrel with Rodolfo and wants Marcel to intercede. Rodolfo seems to be avoiding her, and she does not know why. But even Marcel does not realize the real reason, which Rodolfo now reveals to him. Mimì is mortally ill and only has a short time to live; he cannot bear to see her suffering. But worse is yet to come for him: Mimì has overheard her death sentence: a fit of coughing reveals her presence. Rodolfo's love enables him to achieve the seemingly impossible, lessening Mimì's despair and bringing peace to her tormented heart. A strange contrast is to be seen in Marcel and Musetta, whose love seems to thrive on discord. Act 4 In the garret: Three or four months have passed, and Marcel and Rodolfo have lost their loved ones. Whilst they sit at work, they wonder where Musette and Mimì may be now? Will it ever be possible to relive the carefree days of yesterday? This almost seems possible: their mood improves as soon as Schaunard and Colline arrive with few morsels of food. The friends try to revive their previous joviality, play acting, dancing, duelling... Musetta enters with Mimì on her arm. Poor Mimì is haggard and pale. Everyone gathers round her; gratefully she recognizes her old friends. Musette and Marcel are reunited at the sight of her. Musetta sells her earrings in order to fulfil their patient's last wish: a muff. And Colline, a philosopher with a heart, pawns his old coat. Rodolfo stays behind with the dying Mimì; they are left alone with their memories. The friends return with their gifts, a final pleasure for Mimì. Peacefully she falls into eternal sleep.