Rodolfo the poet is alone in the four bohemians’ garret when there is a knock at the door. There stands Mimi, a winsome, consumptive embroiderer in search of a light for her candle. Rodolfo gives her a glass of wine, she loses her key, both their candles go out, and their hands touch to the sound of a sforzando in horn, clarinet and harp, which is where you take over from Rodolfo: “Che gelida manina! / How cold your little hand is!”
The edition is based broadly on the 1897 reduction by Carlo Carignani for Ricordi, with a few tweaks from the 1920 Ricordi full score and several clarifications of prosody from the singers below.
- A two-page PDF solo part in the solo transposition and clef requested, with the Italian lyrics to help you figure out how to phrase it. Here’s a sample of the solo part in tenor clef for trombone.
- An seven-page PDF score containing the piano part and the solo part. Here’s a sample.
Some performance ideas, from Enrico Caruso (1906), Beniamino Gigli (1931(?) and 1936), Mario Lanza (1949 and 1951), Nicolai Gedda, Jussi Björling and Luciano Pavarotti (1965):
Some will lament my omission of Fritz Wunderlich, who I adore, but who I think is too sentimental in Puccini.
(The gallery images are of Adolf Hohenstein’s designs for Rodolfo and Mimi for the première of La bohème in Turin in 1896.)