La Bohème

Concept Scenic Design

Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Bohème follows the story of a group of mischievous Bohemians in Paris France. The year is 1830 and it is Christmas time. The group of artists believe in the beauty of the world and have no desire for monitorial life and high society, they are all artists who convey the world as they see it. Rodolfo ends up falling in love with a young woman named Mimi and they all go to a Café to celebrate where they find a woman named Musetta, she has struck it rich and is a past lover of Marcello. By the next act they are all located on the outskirts of Paris and Mimi finds them, she is sick and needs to see Rodolfo. The final act commences with the death of Mimi. The story conveys the beauty and lust people can feel for one another and show the raw passion we all have. The opera is an insight into the lower class to show they are just like everyone else, if not feel more because they have less to loose. The inspiration for my design came from the Romanticism paintings of the 1800’s and the juxtapositions of death and life along with the beauty of the natural world. The designs are all in a swirling circular composition similar to the paintings of the era, The raw realism matched with the theatrical whimsey portrays Paris as the Bohemians see it.

White Board Model Scale : 1/4″

Act 1
Paris 1830

Act one’s inspiration came from a rooftop image I took in Paris, the buildings and angles were all tossed together creating a sweeping motif of lines and textures. The building windows peek out from the stone to show the smaller tablous of individuals, cresting picture frames into other people’s lives. I wanted to show vignettes into the lives of these poor people who had a lot to offer with their artistic approach. The bisecting of the attic space provides an abstracted and theatrical touch with the beams and shingles that are fragmented. The raked stage platform shows the wooden floor and all of the period furniture onstage. The design of this act shows a romantic city scape rooftop with the romantic city of Paris behind them. The rooftops of the surrounding buildings all angles around the attic space to draw focus towards the center of the stage.

Wall Elevation

Research Images

Act 2: Latin Quarter

Act two mimics the Parisian lifestyle and the small swooping streets bring in the twists and turns of the city. The star configuration of the paris footprint was inspiration for the design, where the buildings converge at small intersections. The tall buildings move into a smaller perspective upstage and using the theatrical technique to make the back street seem further away. The majority of the stage is the street scene with the carts and many different people. The walls create a barrier that acts as a street with charming towering Parisian buildings. Cafe momus is set into the building and fragmented to seem like they are still inside but have a large section of stage to house the cafe.

Cart Design and Design Elevation

Research Images

Act 3

Act 3 is a stark winter land that mimics the romanticism paintings of the 1800s and the curvature of the trees bring in naturalism and the deep stage provides a perspective and a stark environment of a vast wasteland. The cold winter storm is supposed to be a pivotal point in Mimi’s story when she comes to the inn. The inn was inspired by small chateau in france and the charming yet small nature of them brings in the classical design aspects into the design while staying simple with a cool tone of stone ties in with the cold nature of the act.

Research Images