by Giacomo Puccini
This is the signature piece of the New England Marionette Opera. It was presented opening night, May 15, 1992, and ran for 64 consecutive performances that season. It was brought back the following year for another 16 performances and in 1996 was again the lead-off production for the home season.
Eighteen marionettes adorn the stage during a performance of La Bohème. Because marionette strings penetrate the costumes, any scene calling for a "costume change" will, in this unique theatre, require a "marionette change". For instance, the feisty, flirtatious Musetta who bounds into the Cafe Momus in Act Two of the production in her bright yellow dress and furs, is dramatically different from the subdued and anxious friend who brings sickly Mimi to the cold garret in Act Four.
Many of the marionettes in the production were modeled after notable people of the theatre with Mimi bearing a striking resemblance to Judy Garland, Musetta looking like Lucille Ball, and Rodolfo a young Pavarotti.
The poignant story is about a group of young artists trying to make ends meet in the 1890's in Paris. In order to provide heat in their cold garret, they resort to burning manuscripts. But soon they discover that only love can truly warm the heart.