The Met PR calls it a “passionate, timeless and indelible story of love.”
And so it is.
La Boheme was not the first opera I saw. That title goes to Aida at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City while I was in 8th grade.
But Boheme is the first opera that made me cry. And it still does.
I listened to the opera live from the Metropolitan Opera on Saturday afternoon. This fresh and lively performance was exquisite.
The ending got me, as it always does. Ever since 1977, I have been spoilt for C#-minor chords, as they always signal Mimi’s death. (Just yesterday, I heard a C#-minor chord in the piano in some theatre piece I had on, and I felt the chill of death at that moment.)
My first Boheme was March1977 with Pavarotti in the role of Rodolfo, on the first-ever Live from the Met broadcast. I wanted to watch the live telecast, and my parents relegated me to their bedroom, to watch the production on the little 13-inch black-and-white television.
Several hours later, I emerged crying in the way that only a closeted 16-year-old classical music lover can. Mimi had died. Rodolfo had cried out those incredible high g-sharps, and my world had changed forever.
And the opera still gets me . . . every time.