Gigli in Puccini’s La bohème, complete recording part 1, La Scala orch. c. 1932
Streaming audio, Gigli in La bohème, recorded c. 1932. Acts I and II. Acts III and IV are available in a separate post. The Orchestra of La Scala Milan conducted by Umberto Berrettoni. Soloists: Beniamino Gigli (as Rodolfo), Menotti, Poli, Albanese, Baracchi and Baronti. Illustrations of the set and prop designs by Adolf Hohenstein for the first performance.
Opera in four scenes. Music by Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924). Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica based on Scenes de la vie de bohème (1845), a novel by Henry Mürger, and on the play La vie de bohème (1849) by Mürger and Theodore Barriere. Composed 1893-5 and revised in 1896. First performance 1 February 1896, Teatro Regio, Turin.
Christmas Eve, 1830, Paris. The poet Rodolfo and the painter Marcello are at work in their garret. Two fellow Bohemians, the philosopher Colline and the musician Schaunard join them and they decide to go to the Café Momus. They all leave apart from Rodolfo, avoiding the landlord as they do so. Rodolfo is alone and intends to finish an article before joining the others at the café. The young seamstress Mimi knocks at the door and asks Rodolfo for a light for a candle. Their encounter develops into a love scene and the pair leave to join the others at the Café Momus.
The Latin Quarter, outside the Café Momus. Rodolfo and Mimi meet the other Bohemians. Enter Musetta, Marcello’s former mistress. She is with her wealthy admirer Alcindoro. Musetta manages to get rid of Alcindoro so that she can concentrate on reviving her relationship with Marcello. She persuades Marcello to accept her advances and, as the café bill is presented, the Bohemians make a quick exit. Alcindoro is left to pay the bill and with the realisation that Musetta has left without him.
Set and prop designs for the first performance
The sets and props for the first performance are by Adolf Hohenstein (1854-1928).
Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. The recording has been transferred from shellac disks by Barry Mitchell.