MMM | Franco Zeffirelli's "La Bohème"

Author: sounding images

Franco Zeffirelli's "La Bohème" with Mirella Freni, conducted by Herbert von Karajan, made opera history.

  • MMM | Franco Zeffirelli’s “La Bohème“ | Copyright: © Unitel

    © Unitel

  • MMM | Franco Zeffirelli’s “La Bohème“ | Copyright: © sounding images

    © sounding images

  • MMM | Franco Zeffirelli’s “La Bohème“ | Copyright: © sounding images

    © sounding images

This magic moment of music opens a window into the tender and melancholically intimate story of Mimì in bohemian Paris. The studio-made opera film was the first musical to be directed by Herbert von Karajan and was Franco Zeffirelli’s first opera film production.

Zeffirelli's production of "La Bohème" at La Scala in Milan was such a resounding success that Herbert von Karajan and Zeffirelli were compelled to turn it into an opera film. The soundtrack, featuring Mirella Freni and Gianni Raimondi, among others, was recorded first. The stage was recreated in a film studio and the production was shot in Technicolor – the best film technology available at the time. The young Mirella Freni, who sang the role of Mimì for over 50 years, gained fame the world over, not least because of her natural and pure voice.

The screen adaptation of Puccini's masterpiece of "La Bohème" was a bold attempt to marry the art of film with the opera stage. Zeffirelli's staging and the film's international success have made "La Bohème" one of the most-performed operas of all time. The original production has been revived again and again and is still performed today.

South African soprano Pretty Yende, who was a student of Mirella Freni and later sang in Zeffirelli's production of "La Bohème", recounts her experiences with her mentor. As a very young tenor, Franco-Italian singer Roberto Alagna sang alongside Mirella Freni in the Zeffirelli production and is grateful to count himself among the great tenors – thanks in large part to his performance in "La Bohème".

Duration 43 min / 52 min
Author Anaïs Spiro
Producer Claus Wischmann, Lily Küntzle
Executive Producer Christopher Janssen
Original title of music work "La Bohème", Giacomo Puccini
Production Company ZDF/Arte, sounding images, 2023



The Film Festival on Vienna Rathausplatz kicks off!

IMZ International Music + Media Centre

With its mission to engage new audiences for the performing arts, the IMZ augments one of Vienna’s finest spaces to engulf your senses for 64 hot nights.

Exciting updates regarding the Golden Prague Festival

Czech Television

Some exciting updates regarding the upcoming 60th anniversary edition of the Golden Prague Festival are here!


Auditorium Films

"The Pixies are back in Paris! In front of an ecstatic Olympia, the rock stars perform their traditional hits and new ones from the Doggerel album.

The Silence of Sound Berlin premiere

Elekin Arts

Alondra de la Parra's celebrated multimedia concert production "The Silence of Sound" arrives in Berlin with "Chula the Clown" & Filmorchester Babelsberg.


Benefit from exclusive insights + opportunties with a thematic variety of IMZ Mailings to choose from.

By clicking "SUBSCRIBE" you consent that your data can be processed by the IMZ International Music + Media Centre for the purposes of processing your inquiry.