The libretto of La bohème was based on the immensely popular Scènes de la Vie de Bohème, Henri Murger’s 1845 collection of stories depicting the lives and loves of a group of young Parisian “Bohemians”—a label that Murger’s work helped popularize. (The label refers to the supposed geographic origins of the Gypsies, whose itinerant, out-of-the-mainstream ways seemed an apt comparison to the alternative lifestyles being led by the growing class of artist-types living in Europe’s urban centers.)And we've been watching the story and listening to the music ever since.
From Murger’s stories, Puccini drew his cast of characters: Colline, the philosopher; Rodolfo, the poet; Marcello, the painter; Schaunard, the musician; and Marcello and Rodolfo’s respective love interests, the singer Musetta and the doomed seamstress Mimì.
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