Puccini’s La boheme is one of the most beloved and enduring operas of all time. In this guide, William Ashbrook evaluates the opera’s initial reception, the reasons for its wide appeal and Verdi’s influence on the composition. Nicholas John discusses the tortuous evolution of the libretto over the course of three and a half years and gives a synopsis, outlining the main themes of La boheme. Edward Greenfield presents an essay on the musical structure and consistency of the opera, whose ‘very accessibility tends to obscure the musical genius behind the score’. Finally, Joanna Richardson surveys the Bohemians in Paris portrayed by Henry Murger, whose stories formed the basis for Puccini’s work. This edition has over twenty photographs, a detailed thematic analysis and the original libretto with a facing literal translation by William Weaver. It also has an up-to-date bibliography, discography, DVD and website details. The guide is essential reading for anyone interested in the background to this opera, its themes and composition.