Michael Steen OBE was born in Dublin, studied at the Royal College of Music and was organ scholar at Oriel College, Oxford. As well as pursuing a successful career in the City, he has been chairman of the Friends of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and of the Royal College of Music Society, and is Treasurer of The Open University. Michael saw his first opera in 1960 when he was 15, and was enchanted. Michael saw his first opera in 1960 when he was 15, and was enchanted. He now goes to the opera at least once a month, often much more, and has seen performances all around the world, for example in Milan, Bayreuth, St, Petersberg, Vienna, Dresden, Moscow, Sydney, New York, Wexford, Berlin, Budapest, Paris, Cape Town and many across the UK. His previous books include The Lives and Times of the Great Composers – described as \u2018hugely informative and deliciously gossipy\u2019 by the Spectator – and Enchantress of Nations. His Great Operas – bringing together guides to twenty-five of the world\u2019s finest musical experience – is published by Icon Books in November 2012.
Puccini's La Bohème: A Short Guide to a Great Operaby Michael Steen
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Puccini’s obsession with detail ensured the success of La Bohème, his opera about the impoverished ‘artistes’ in Paris in the 1830s. Soon after its première, people started calling their baby daughters Mimi. The story of this seamstress, her hectic but fraught love affair with the poet Rodolfo and her tragic death from consumption (tuberculosis), never fail to touch the audience. Che gelida manina, Mi chiamano Mimì …, and O soave fanciulla have become some of the most popular operatic excerpts, sung by stars ranging from Callas to Gheorghiu, Caruso to Pavarotti. Written by Michael Steen, author of the acclaimed The Lives and Times of the Great Composers, ‘Short Guides to Great Operas’ are concise, entertaining and easy to read books about opera. Each is an opera guide packed with useful information and informed opinion, helping to make you a truly knowledgeable opera-goer, and so maximising your enjoyment of a great musical experience. Other ‘Short Guides to Great Operas’ that you may enjoy include Madama Butterfly, Tosca and Turandot.
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