Skip to main content
KPBS arts banner graphic


SPONSORSHIP | Become a sponsor today!

San Diego Opera Presents 'La Bohème': Leave Your World in the Rearview Mirror


  • WHEN Multiple dates from Oct 24 - Nov 1, 2020[days & times]
  • WHERE Pechanga Arena San Diego, 3500 Sports Arena Blvd., San Diego
    Map | Website
  • AGES Not available
  • COST $200 - $300

A Unique Drive-In Experience
At Pechanga Arena San Diego - Parking Lot

Live opera is back! This drive-in concept is inspired by a number of successful drive-in events in Europe and the United States. We have worked closely with industry leaders, medical professionals, stakeholders, county and government officials, as well as the artists and musicians to ensure everyone’s safety and security while we create a wonderful evening of opera.

This will be a La Bohème that you will not want to miss with Grammy Award winning soprano Ana María Martínez as Mimì and tenor Joshua Guerrero as Rodolfo in his mainstage Company debut in an innovative production that will recreate the bohemian story we all love.

For this event, guests will remain in their cars for the duration of the performance. The opera will be transmitted to car stereos via FM radio and large screens will show simulcasts of the singers on stage. Masks and social distancing protocols will be enforced when patrons briefly leave their cars to use the restroom.

Please also visit our FAQ page for additional information.

In his Paris study, Rodolfo struggles to write between daydreams. He finds himself reflecting on bittersweet memories of his not-so-distant past.

Act I
He is reminded of Christmas Eve in a Latin Quarter garret ten years earlier when he and painter Marcello, both near-destitute, try to keep warm using the pages of his latest drama as kindling for the stove. They are soon joined by their roommates, Colline, a philosopher, and Schaunard, a musician, who brings food, fuel, and funds he has collected from an eccentric student. As his three friends leave to celebrate their new fortune at Café Momus, Rodolfo remains behind to finish an article. There is a knock at the door; the visitor is a neighbor, Mimì, whose candle has gone out on the stairway. Rodolfo relights it. Mimì realizes she has lost her key, and in the confusion, both candles are blown out again. As the two search for the key in the moonlight, their hands touch. Rodolfo tells Mimì his dreams. She then recounts her life alone in a lofty garret, embroidering flowers and waiting for the spring. Expressing their joy in finding each other, Mimì and Rodolfo leave to join his friends.

Act II
Rodolfo remembers introducing Mimì to his friends that night at Café Momus. Marcello’s former sweetheart, Musetta, makes a noisy entrance, in the company of the wealthy Alcindoro. The ensuing mayhem reaches its peak when, trying to regain Marcello’s attention, she sings a waltz about her popularity. Sending Alcindoro off on an errand, she comes back to Marcello in dramatic fashion, and tells the waiter to charge everything to Alcindoro.

Rodolfo’s memory then wanders to a snowy morning on the outskirts of Paris, a few months after Christmas Eve. Mimì meets up with Marcello at a tavern where he is living. She tells him of her distress over Rodolfo’s incessant jealousy, and says she believes it is best that they part. When Rodolfo appears from the tavern, Mimì hides nearby, though Marcello thinks she has gone. The poet tells Marcello that he wants to separate from his sweetheart, citing her fickleness; pressed for the real reason, he breaks down, saying that her coughing can only grow worse in the poverty they share; he’s desperately afraid she will die from her illness. Overcome with sadness, Mimì stumbles forward to bid her lover farewell. While Mimì and Rodolfo recall past happiness, Musetta quarrels with Marcello, who has caught her flirting. The painter and his mistress part, hurling insults at each other, but Mimì and Rodolfo decide to remain together until spring.

Act IV
Rodolfo’s final memory is of his garret that following spring, where he and Marcello pine for Mimì and Musetta. As Colline and Schaunard return, all are quickly interrupted by Musetta who bursts in to tell them that Mimì is outside, too weak to come upstairs. Rodolfo sees to Mimi, while Musetta asks Marcello to sell her earrings for medicine and Colline goes off to pawn his overcoat. Left alone, Mimì and Rodolfo recall their first meeting and their happy days, but she is seized with violent coughing. The others return as Mimì is drifting into her final slumber. As Rodolfo recalls his grief and loss, he calls out Mimi’s name despairingly.

Sung in Italian with projected English translations.

Dates and times of events are subject to change without notice. Always check the event organizer's website for the most updated schedule before attending. Check local COVID-19 restrictions and updates.

SPONSORSHIP | Become a sponsor today!