La Bohème Opera Lesson Plans to Prepare Your Students for the Performance
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Next week, I’m taking three of my kids to see one of the most beautiful, heart-wrenching operas of all time, Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème. I dare you to listen to the beautiful music below and not get chills! Use the La Bohème Opera Lesson Plans below to help prepare your students for a performance or just learn about the opera at home or in the classroom!
Here’s a little known fact. In college, I had the opportunity to perform in two operas. La Bohème was one of them!
Background of La Bohème
Giacomo Puccini wrote the music for the 4-act opera La Bohème in 1895. The libretto (the words) were written by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. The opera is sung in Italian. The world premiere of La Bohème was in Turin, Italy in 1896 and in the United States (Los Angeles) the following year. It’s one of the most frequently performed and best-loved operas of all time.
Setting of La Bohème:
Paris, France around the year 1830.
- Rodolfo, a poet
- Mimì, a seamstress
- Marcello, a painter
- Musetta, a singer
- Schaunard, a musician
- Colline, a philosopher
- Benoît, their landlord
- Alcindoro, a state councilor
- Parpignol, a toy vendor
- A customs Sergeant
- Students, working girls, townsfolk, shopkeepers, street-vendors, soldiers, waiters, children
Here’s fun “cartoon” synopsis of the opera:
Famous Arias (solos):
“Quando m’en vo” (also known as “Musetta’s Waltz”) is sung by Musetta at the café:
The tenor solo “Che gelida manina” (‘Your tiny hand is frozen’) is sung by Rodolfo to Mimì:
Mimì’s famous aria is called “Si mi chiamano Mimì” (“They call me Mimì”) and is sung when she introduces herself to Rodolfo:
And, here is a beautiful duet “O Soave Fanciulla” (“Oh, Lovely Lady”) sung by Rodolfo and Mimì:
One of the great technical special effects in the opera La Bohème is the effect of snow falling. See this video for a behind-the-scenes look at how they achieve the effect.
To learn more about Giacomo Puccini and other operas he wrote, see this 15-Minute Music Lesson Freebie on Giacomo Puccini with Free Printable Pack.
Other Helpful Resources
Books and Media:
Watch the full opera here:
This is a performance set in the modern day, with English subtitles.
Download a free 3-page Printable Pack to use with this 15-Minute Music Lesson:
Composer Sheet, Listen and Write (Tempo, Mood, Like it?, and Instruments/Voices), and Listen and Draw
I hope these La Bohème Opera Lesson Plans were helpful for you. Enjoy the opera! And, please share with others!
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