The Agony of Invention: The Arduous Creation and Final Triumph of La bohème, a lecture by Professor Gabriele Dotto

Jan 01, 2019 275

Thursday, January 17, 2019 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago - 500 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1450 - Chicago, Illinois 60611. To hear La bohème for the first or for the hundredth time, one is struck by its dramatic cohesion and the wonderful unity of its construction. The listener is almost tempted to imagine the composer writing under the feverish spell of an unbroken flow of inspiration.

Yet the composition of La bohème was a laborious affair, involving innumerable changes of mind and revisions that nearly drove Puccini’s librettists (and his publisher) to distraction. The premiere, conducted by Toscanini, was beautifully prepared and executed, but the local critics were unimpressed: one went so far as to claim that “This opera won’t leave much of a trace in the history of lyric opera.” 

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