- Rodolfo: Adam Cromer
- Mimi: Hannah Rosenbaum
- Marcello: Adelmo Guidarelli
- Musetta: Mary Petro
- Schaunard: Jonathan Hare
- Colline: Isaac Grier
- Benoit/Alcindoro: Duane McDermit
- *Musetta Cover: Jessica Fishenfeld
Christmas Eve, an attic in Paris
Marcello, and his roommate, Rodolpho, huddle around the stove for warmth in their tiny attic apartment. Poor and freezing, Rodolpho, a struggling poet, sacrifices one of his manuscripts for a few more minutes of warmth. Colline, a third roommate and philosopher, arrives having failed to sell a few of his last books. With little hope left and the fire subsiding, the three men sigh in complete despair. Suddenly, Schaunard, the fourth roommate, a musician, appears with wood, food, wine, cigars and money. Since the four men haven’t eaten for days, they completely disregard how Schaunard has come upon this good fortune and set the table for a Christmas Eve feast. Schaunard decides that he will take his roommates out to Café Momus for dinner to celebrate the holiday. On the way out, their landlord, Benoit, shows up insisting upon the rent. They invite him in, serve him wine, listen to his adventures with women and take the married Benoit downstairs and out the door in the name of virtue; also, escaping rent one more time.
Rodolpho stays behind to finish writing a newspaper article and hears a soft knock at the door. Mimi enters and asks Rodolpho to light her candle. Mimi is weak and faints. Rodolpho helps her, lights the candle and Mimi runs out the door, embarrassed from fainting. In a humorous twist of fate, Mimi’s candle is blown out again by the wind which leads her back to ask Rodolpho for help. Anticipating that Mimi might run away again, and wanting to keep her near, Rodolpho blows out his own candle. Mimi drops her key and the two of them are left alone searching in the darkness. He finds the key and hides it in his coat pocket. Both feigning innocence, each sings an aria introducing one to the other. Rodolfo sings “Che gelida manina” and Mimi sings “Si, mi chiamano Mimi. The roommates, waiting downstairs, call to Rodolfo. He suggests that he stay at home to keep Mimi company, but she decides to go out with Rodolfo and his friends. They sing the duet “O soave fanciulla,” about their newfound love.
The Latin Quarter
A large crowd is gathered on the streets. Some are out celebrating and others are street vendors hoping to make some money during the holiday. The friends enter ,excited to be out celebrating. Rodolfo buys Mimi a bonnet from one of the vendors and everyone enters Café Momus. As they dine, Musetta, Marcello’s former girlfriend, arrives with her very wealthy and much older admirer, Alcindoro, a government minister. Musetta is clearly tired of Alcindoro. Upon seeing Marcello, she sings “Quando me’n vo,” hoping to regain Marcello’s attention and perhaps affection. Her plan works. Musetta sees Marcello’s jealousy rising. Pretending that she is suffering from tight shoes, Musetta sends Alcindoro to the shoemaker. As soon as he leaves, Marcello softens his gaze towards Musetta and both fall into a close embrace.
The celebration continues with a new air of joy, until the bill arrives and Schaunard realizes that he does not have enough money. Musetta steps in and has the entire bill charged to Alcindoro. Soldiers are heard approaching and picking up Musetta, Marcello and Coline carry her out on their shoulders while the crowd applauses. After they’ve gone, Alcindoro arrives with Musetta’s shoes. The waiter gives him the bill and feeling total defeat, Alcindoro sits in a chair as the curtain falls.
The toll gate
Passing into the city, Mimi is seen amongst a crowd of people, coughing. She is trying to find Marcello who now lives in a tavern nearby where he paints signs. Mimi tells Marcello that Rodolfo has abandoned her singing, “O buon Marcello, aiuto!” Rodolfo is sleeping but awakens and comes to speak with Marcello. Mimi hides and overhears Rodolfo making excuses to Marcello as to why he has left Mimi. Finally, Rodolfo breaks down and admits that he fears Mimi is dying of tuberculosis. Rodolfo tells Marcello that he is heartbroken and doesn’t want to leave her, but knows that he does not have enough money to save her. He has decided to pretend that he no longer loves her so that Mimi will find a wealthy suitor. Marcello tries to silence Rodolfo, knowing that Mimi is listening, but she has already heard everything she needs to know. She is overcome by emotion and begins to cough uncontrollably. As they speak of separating amicably, Mimi sings, “Donde lieta usci.” Although they try to part, their love for one another is too strong. They agree to stay together until the spring, after the harsh winter passes. As Mimi and Rodolfo come together, Musetta and Marcello argue. All sing, “Addio dolce svegliare alla mattina!”
In the garret
Rodolfo and Marcello are mourning their lost loves. They sing the duet, “O Mimi, tu piu non torni.” Colline and Schaunard enter with food. Unlike the opening scene, this time they have very little. All decide to pretend they are at a banquet with abundant amounts of food. They dance and sing until Musetta arrives with news of Mimi. After leaving Rodolfo in the spring, Mimi found a wealthy viscount. However, Musetta informs the men that she has found Mimi wandering the streets this morning, newly separated from her patron, and weakened by her illness. Musetta brings in Mimi and gently lowers her into a chair. Everyone decides to sell a possession in order to purchase medicine for Mimi. Marcello and Musetta set off to sell her earrings, Colline takes off to pawn his overcoat, and Schaunard leaves so that Mimi and Rodolfo can have some time together. Alone for the first time since the spring, the two sing the duet, “Sono andati?” recalling their first meeting, the candles, lost key and their time together. Rodolfo presents Mimi with the bonnet he bought for her the night they first met. Mimi is overcome by his romantic gesture. The gang returns with medicine and a muff to warm Mimi’s cold hands. They have called a doctor, but Mimi falls unconscious. Musetta takes Mimi’s hand and begins to pray. A last breathe escapes Mimi, Schaunard checks her for any sign of life and turns his head sadly towards Rodolfo. Mimi is dead. Rodolfo cries out her name and falls to the floor weeping.