Trivia / La Bohème

  • Dueling Shows: Ruggero Leoncavallo wrote an opera (premiered in 1897, but written contemporaneously with Puccini's), also entitled La bohème and based on Murger's novel. His version is rarely performed today.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: the novel apparently differed slightly from accounts of Murgur's real early life, and the opera radically changed the personality of Mimi (whose relationship with Henri was definitely over when it was over.) Marcello is a Composite Character of two different painters.
    • Virtually every major character in the opera was to meet an early and depressing end- several of them died of the same disease as Mimi, including Henri Murgar. The real Musetta saved enough money to give up her profession and emigrate to start a new life in the French colony of Algeria... but died when her ship sank in the Mediterranean.
  • Rodolfo was one of famed tenor Enrico Caruso's best roles. On December 23, 1913, in Philadelphia, Andres de Segurola, the basso singing Colline, told Caruso he was going on despite having the flu. Caruso joked "I'll sing for you". In the last act, right before he was supposed to sing the Coat Song, de Segurola's voice gave out completely. Caruso turned around, and with de Segurola miming, he put on a gorgeous basso cantante voice and did the song. And nobody could tell the difference! De Segurola was so impressed he insisted that Caruso make a recording of it. And he did!