Mariusz Kwiecień as Marcello and Nicole Car as Mimì ©2017 ROH. Photographed by Catherine Ashmore.

La bohème

1227 May 2020
The performance lasts about 2 hours 35 minutes, including one interval.
Main Stage
Opera and music

Performances of this production have been cancelled as the Royal Opera House is currently closed. Find out about other cancelled performances and how you can donate the cost of your ticket, exchange for a voucher or claim a refund here.

Richard Jones perfectly captures the blend of tragedy and comedy in La bohème, and provides an acute analysis of Puccini’s young would-be artists and their lovers, the soulful Mimì and spirited Musetta. Spectacular designs by Stewart Laing evoke both the poverty of the bohemians’ attic home and the splendour of Paris’s shopping arcades on Christmas Eve.

Puccini’s score is one of his most beautiful, with highlights including Rodolfo and Mimì’s introductory arias and love duet in Act I, ebullient music for the chorus and soloists in Act II, and Mimì’s poignant death scene, over which the composer himself wept. La bohème received its world premiere at the Teatro Regio, Turin, on 1 February 1896, and its Covent Garden premiere the following year. It is currently one of the best-loved operas worldwide, and the opera most performed at the Royal Opera House.

Approximate running times
Act I: 35 minutes
Act II: 20 minutes
Interval: 30 minutes
Act III: 25 minutes
Act IV: 30 minutes
Sung in Italian with English surtitles

Generous philanthropic support from

The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund.

A co-production with:

Teatro Real, Madrid, and Lyric Opera of Chicago



When Rodolfo, a penniless poet, meets Mimì, a seamstress, they fall instantly in love. But their happiness is threatened when Rodolfo learns that Mimì is gravely ill.

Rodolfo is painfully aware that he cannot afford the medicine and care Mimì needs, and so separates from her. As her sickness takes hold Mimì returns to Rodolfo’s garret. They are joyfully reunited – but, despite the care of Rodolfo and his friends, Mimì dies.


CompanyThe Royal Opera

MusicGiacomo Puccini

LibrettoGiuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica

DirectorRichard Jones

DesignerStewart Laing

Lighting designerMimi Jordan Sherin

Movement directorSarah Fahie

Revival DirectorJulia Burbach and Simon Iorio


There is lift access and step-free seating to most levels of the Main Stage auditorium, except the Orchestra Stalls, which are reached by a minimum of nine steps. There are more than 100 seats in the Stalls Circle, Balcony and Amphitheatre which are accessible without the need to negotiate steps. In addition, many seats in these areas and in the Donald Gordon Grand Tier and Orchestra Stalls are accessible by 10 steps or fewer. Find out more about accessing the Main Stage Auditorium.