Great Performances (1971– )
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La bohème 

TV-G | | Music | Episode aired 8 June 1994
In the 50's, in Paris, the neighbors Rodolfo and Mimi meet each other when Mimi's candle blows out in a cold and dark night. They immediately fall in love for each other, in times of ... See full summary »


Geoffrey Nottage


Giuseppe Giacosa (libretto), Luigi Illica (libretto) | 1 more credit »




Episode cast overview:
Cheryl Barker Cheryl Barker ... Mimì
David Hobson David Hobson ... Rodolfo
Roger Lemke Roger Lemke ... Marcello
Christine Douglas Christine Douglas ... Musetta
Gary Rowley Gary Rowley ... Colline
David Lemke David Lemke ... Schaunard
John Bolton-Wood John Bolton-Wood ... Alcindoro
Graeme Ewer Graeme Ewer ... Benoît
Jin Tea Kim Jin Tea Kim ... Parpignol
John Fernon John Fernon ... Customes Sergeant
Richard Alexander Richard Alexander ... Customs Officer


In the 50's, in Paris, the neighbors Rodolfo and Mimi meet each other when Mimi's candle blows out in a cold and dark night. They immediately fall in love for each other, in times of financial difficulties in the post-war. Rodolfo introduces Mimi to his close friends Marcello and his beloved Musetta; Colline; and Schaunard and together they have a good-time in Café Momus. Some time later, Mimi tells Marcello that she can not support the jealousy of Rodolfo any longer and when Marcello discuss with Rodolfo, Mimi overhears the real reason for the behavior of her beloved Rodolfo. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Release Date:

8 June 1994 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Among the grafitti seen on the walls and doors of the bohemians' garret are: "Non, je ne regrette rien" (1956 song made popular by Edith Piaf), "Bonjour Tristesse" (1954 novel by Francoise Sagan), and "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" (from Rene Magritte's 1929 painting "The Treachery of Images"). See more »


Version of La Boheme (1923) See more »

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User Reviews

20 June 2007 | by GyranSee all my reviews

This film was one of those that I saw in the late 1990s when I was first allowed to watch opera. I was bowled over by the singing, the acting and the production. It is partly responsible for kindling my interest in opera and for encouraging me to explore further. Naturally, on this journey, I have seen many more Bohèmes, several of which I have reviewed on this site. In the process I have come to realise that the singing in this film is only Australian class rather than world class. David Hobson has a rather thin tone as Rodolfo and Cheryl Barker's delivery, as Mimi, is somewhat unemotional. Still I find the performances immensely moving and the stage direction by the young Baz Luhrmann is unsurpassed.

Luhrmann sets the story firmly in Paris in 1957. We have lots of 1950's posters in the Bohemians' garret and, when we first see Marcello, he is flinging paint onto a canvas in the manner of an action painter. Such updates do always create incongruities. Mimi's dying of consumption in 1957 is a bit unlikely and I am fairly sure that they had electricity in Paris in the 1950s so all the business about Mimi's candle blowing out becomes a bit silly. Still, we do not mind because David Hobson and Cheryl Barker make such a sexy couple and Luhrmann has an original take on their groping for the key in the dark. On the rotating stage, their first act finale O Suave Fanciula takes place on the roof of their apartment in front of a neon sign reading "L'Amour". Mimi gently pushes Rodolfo away as he attempts to kiss her because it is too early in their relationship.

There is a good Café Momus scene with effective performances from Roger Lemke as Marcello and Christine Douglas as Musetta. I liked the addition of Japanese tourists to the festivities. The breakup scene is gut-wrenching, on a split-level stage with Mimi down below overhearing Rodolfo's fears for her life and his need to get away from her for her own sake. Luhrmann saves two clever details for the final scene. When the lovers reminisce about finding the key, Rodolfo actually produces it from a string around his neck. Where the lovers embrace for the last time Mimi again refuses to kiss Rodolfo. This time it is too late.

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