Opera in four acts
Libretto by L. Illik and D. Giacosa
Rudolf, the poet
Alcindor, State Counselor
Students, grisettes, townspeople, merchants and merchants, waiters in cafes, boys, girls, etc.
Time: circa 1830.
Latin Quarter on Christmas Eve. Noisy animation reigns in the streets and squares. Rudolph with Mimi, Marcel, Schonar and Collen, joking fun, sit down at a table in a cafe. In the midst of the feast appears Musette, Marcel’s girlfriend.
Zucchini at the Paris outpost. Early February morning. Funny voices are heard from the tavern, Musetta laughs. Marcel writes a picture, which should decorate the sign of the vegetable marrow. Mimi came here to consult him. She complains about Rudolph, who with his jealousy made their life unbearable. Mimi’s story is interrupted by bouts of coughing. Seeing the approaching Rudolph, she hides. In a conversation with Marcel Rudolph first accused Mimi of frivolity and coquetry, but then reveals the truth: his beloved is sick with consumption. Sobbing Mimi gives her presence. In vain, having remained with Mimi alone, Rudolph gently console her. Having learned the terrible truth, she insists on separation. Covered with deep sorrow, lovers say goodbye. For a short time, Marcel and Musetta enjoyed happiness. A quarrel breaks out between them.
Marcel and Rudolph in their attic again trying unsuccessfully to work. They miss the beloved. Unexpectedly, the disturbed Musette appears. Mimi came with her, but the poor thing is so bad that she can not go upstairs. Excited friends make Mimi and carefully put her. The room is still cold, and Musette gives her earrings to buy something for Mimi and invite a doctor. All except Rudolph, leave. Mimi is happy: she is with her beloved again, hears his tender words again. But her minutes are numbered. Suddenly she starts to choke. Friends run into Rudolph’s cry. Gradually Mimi calms down. Rudolph curtains the window so that the light does not wake her, but his beloved is already dead.