La bohème on New Year's Eve


La bohème on New Year's Eve

A painter, a musician, a philosopher and a poet are having a night on the town. Café Momus is too pricey for them — they've nothing to weigh down those moth-eaten pockets. But why worry? The landlord is sorted, the bar tab can wait. They're young and their lofty ideals will keep body and soul together.

And then there's love. Ah, love. That tingle of electricity as two hands meet. The fire in the eyes of the girl you want so badly. Love will keep us warm, won't it?

Nearly 120 years after Puccini wrote his smash-hit La bohème, this story of first love still tops the list of most performed operas around the world.

Perhaps the tale of four friends living for their art reminds us of a person we weren't brave enough to become. Perhaps Puccini's talent for capturing emotion in music takes us back to the first time we felt love stir in our hearts.

Perhaps it's just that La bohème is a story we understand. It's about friendship and falling in love.

It's about sacrifice and never giving up, even if it means parting with your lover — or your favourite coat.

Gale Edwards' glittering production provides a perfect setting for these utterly human emotions: in the bohemian streets of 1930s Berlin, in the colour and chaos of street fairs and burlesque bars, fairylights and fishnet stockings. Maija Kovalevska makes her Australian debut as Mimì after stunning audiences in the role at the Metropolitan Opera New York, LA Opera, and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Andrea Molino returns to Australia to conduct.

New Year's Eve at Sydney Opera House

New Year's Eve is the night when Sydney puts on the bling, kicks up its heels and shows the world what a gorgeous thing it is, as a festival of fire explodes across the midnight sky. 

Ringside seats to the greatest show on earth are hard to come by, but we've saved some great ones, and you're invited.

Leave the crowds behind as you enter the Sydney Opera House.

Choose to settle back for an evening with Rodolfo, Mimi, Marcello and Musetta in Puccini's La bohème.

Then, with a heart full of song, watch the fireworks the whole world watches. Interval is timed for the 9pm fireworks and the Sydney Opera House stays open well past the midnight fireworks.

There’s nowhere in the world like Sydney on New Year’s Eve and there’s nowhere closer to the action than Sydney Opera House. Make this your most glamorous and memorable New Year ever.

It's guaranteed to end with a bang! 

Conductor Andrea Molino
Director Gale Edwards
Revival Director Matthew Barclay
Andy Morton
Set Designer Brian Thomson
Costume Designer Julie Lynch
Lighting Designer John Rayment
Mimì Maija Kovalevska
Rodolfo Diego Torre
Musetta Lorina Gore
Marcello Andrew Jones
Colline David Parkin
Schaunard Shane Lowrencev
Benoit Graeme Macfarlane
Alcindoro Adrian Tamburini
Parpignol Benjamin Rasheed
Officer Clifford Plumpton
Sergeant Malcolm Ede

Australian Opera Ballet Orchestra

Opera Australia Chorus

Opera Australia Children's Chorus

Add pre-performance dinner and/or the Midnight Party when you book your tickets for La bohème.

Pre-Performance Dinner $359 (SOLD OUT)
Look out over Sydney Harbour as you dine to a three-course menu, designed by Matt Moran of ARIA Restaurant, matched with premium wines and beverages in the Northern Foyer from 5:30pm. Add this option to your cart after you've selected your seats for La bohème.
Midnight Party $279 (SOLD OUT)
Canapes, drinks and live entertainment from 10:30pm, with views of the midnight fireworks from the Northern Foyers. Add this option to your cart after you've selected your seats for La bohème.
Platinum Package $1,110-$1,190 (SOLD OUT)
Pre-performance dinner, Premium seats at the performance of your choice, a program, drink at interval, and the Midnight Party. Book a Platinum Package.

Important Times

Pre-Performance Dinner (5.30pm)

The Northern Foyers of the Concert Hall and the Joan Sutherland Theatre will open for pre-performance dinner patrons at 5pm. Dinner commences at 5.30pm.

Foyers (6.00pm)

The foyers of the Joan Sutherland Theatre will be open from 6pm.

La bohème (7.45pm)

The performance commences at 7:45pm and runs until 10:30pm, with an interval timed for the 9pm fireworks.

Midnight Party (10:30pm)

The party commences immediately after the performance in the Northern Foyer of the Joan Sutherland Theatre and finishes at approximately 1.30am.

Running time: approximately 2 hours & 15 minutes, including one 20-minute interval

Performed in Italian with English surtitles.

The best New Year's Eve in the world

Photo Gallery

The best New Year's Eve in the world

Watch the trailer


Watch the trailer

La bohème: A listening guide


La bohème: A listening guide

La Bohème production photos

Photo Gallery

La Bohème production photos

Julie Lynch's Costume Design Sketches for La bohème

Photo Gallery

Julie Lynch's Costume Design Sketches for La bohème

The Story Hide

A poet, a painter, a musician and a philosopher walk into a bar (no really!) to celebrate a sudden windfall in a lean winter. It’s Christmas Eve, and the poet has just felt the first pangs of great love. When a seamstress knocks on his door searching for candlelight, the pair fall in love faster than she can sing “Yes, they call me Mimì…”

Between the ideals of love and art and the cruel realities of cold winters, bitter jealousies and empty pockets, two sets of lovers are trying to find their way.

By the time the curtain falls, you’ll know the answer to an eternal question:

Is love enough?

Not afraid of spoilers? Read the full synopsis.


It is Christmas Eve. Rodolfo, a poet, and Marcello, a painter, are freezing in their studio. Marcello is painting The Crossing of the Red Sea. Colline, a philosopher, arrives as the fire Rodolfo has lit with one of his manuscripts, flickers and dies. Schaunard brings reinforcements – food, wine and fuel for the fire, bought with unexpected money from his earnings as a musician.

A knock at the door and Benoit, the landlord, arrives demanding the rent. The four Bohemians ply him with wine and then bundle him off. Marcello, Colline and Schaunard go off to join the celebrations at the Café Momus. Promising to join them soon, Rodolfo settles down to finish an article he is writing.

There is another knock. This time it is a neighbour, Mimì – a beautiful young seamstress, holding her key and an unlit candle. She begs a light and Rodolfo obliges. Mimì departs and drops her key. Together they search for the key, and their hands touch. They tell each other about themselves and Rodolfo passionately declares his love. The new lovers then set off into the night to join the others.


The square in which the Café Momus is situated is the Bohemians’ favourite haunt, bustling with shoppers and hawkers. Rodolfo buys his new love a bonnet.

At the café, Marcello’s old flame, Musetta, appears with a new admirer, Alcindoro. To attract Marcello’s attention, Musetta bursts into her famous waltz song. Marcello responds and Musetta, pretending that her shoe is pinching, dispatches Alcindoro to a cobbler. She joins in the revelry with Marcello and his friends. When they depart they leave a reminder for the hapless Alcindoro on his return – a huge bill!


It is daybreak just inside a tollgate. Snow lies on the ground. Mimì emerges from the throng of workers. She is looking for Marcello at a nearby inn where he and Musetta have been living for the past month. Pale and agitated, she tells him of Rodolfo’s jealousy which has made their life together impossible.

Mimì hides as Rodolfo suddenly appears. He declares her to be unfaithful, but then confides to Marcello that Mimì is very ill and blames himself and his poverty for not being able to help her. Mimì’s sudden coughing betrays her presence and the lovers sadly decide it is best that they part.

Their parting duet is interrupted by the sounds of a fierce quarrel between Marcello and Musetta. Mimì and Rodolfo decide to stay together until spring returns.


The studio, months later. Both pairs of lovers have now parted. Mimì and Musetta have found wealthy admirers.  Rodolfo and Marcello feign indifference, but neither can forget the memory of his love. Schaunard and Colline arrive with meagre food and the four sit down to a mock ‘banquet’.

While they are acting the fool, Musetta rushes in with news that Mimì is desperately ill and has asked to be brought back to Rodolfo to die. Musetta explains that the Viscount has discarded Mimì and she has been living on the streets for weeks sinking further into poverty and desperation. The Bohemians rally to the cause. Musetta pawns her earrings and Colline his beloved coat to buy medicine for Mimì.

Alone for a short time, Mimì and Rodolfo recall the past, reliving their short spell of happiness and their dreams together. Mimì, seized by a coughing fit, falls back, exhausted. When the others return, she weakly thanks them for their kindness and falls asleep.

It is Schaunard who first notices that Mimì is dead. Rodolfo is the last to realise, by seeing the truth on his friends’ faces.

With over 4,500 extra trains, buses, light rail and ferry services, public transport is the best way to travel this New Year’s Eve. Many roads are closed in the Sydney CBD, harbour foreshore, and various council areas; the city is no place for cars.

To assist you with planning ahead, check out the interactive road closure map prepared by City of Sydney.

Please approach the Sydney Opera House on foot along the Eastern side of Macquarie Street. Access may not be available from Circular Quay along the harbour front.

Due to the extensive road closures around  the city, driving is not encouraged. However, if you are driving, to access the Sydney Opera House car park you will need to be parked by 10am on 31 December.

Despite the fact that the car park will remain open all day, exit from the car park will not be possible until at least 4am or later on 1 January due to road closures surrounding the Sydney Opera House. For Sydney Opera House car park information contact 02 9247 7599.

We warmly welcome patrons with specific mobility requirements. However, entry to the Sydney Opera House on New Year's Eve can be challenging and needs careful prior planning. Any guests with specific needs, and particularly those with mobility support requirements must contact Opera Australia prior to the event to help plan their trip. Disabled patrons should also check for other access options including possible pre-booked options from Domain Car Park and St James station.

9pm fireworks

The interval has been specifically timed to conincide with the 9pm fireworks. Ticket holders will have the opportunity to access axclusive viewing areas which take in all aspects of the world famous Sydney Harbour fireworks display.

All foyer bars will be operational at interval.

Midnight fireworks

If you are not attending the Mightnight Party, you will be able to watch the fireworks from the Southern foyers of the Sydney Opera House. Theatre bars will be open and a range of beverages as well as hot and cold foods will be available for purchase.

Have your tickets ready to show at ticket check points

All patrons should enter via the Macquarie Street check point. Ticket holders are required to show their tickets at security check points to gain access to the Sydney Opera House precinct.

Pre booked tickets will be available for collection at the Sydney Opera House Box Office. Please bring and present your ticket confirmation and photo ID to the security checkpoint on Macquarie St to gain access to the site.

Dress code

It is always fun to dress up for a special occassion like New Year's Eve and make a glamorous night of it, but dressing up is not mandatory. A cloak room will be available.

Sydney Opera House Foyers will open from 6pm

We understand that you want to leave plenty of time to arrive at the Sydney Opera House on such a special night but arrival before 4:30pm is not encouraged. Foyers will be open from 6pm.

Security Requirements

As the Australian government has placed the country on High National Terrorism Public Alers, all bags will be checked at site entry points. Please be prepared to have your bags checked. Prohibited items will be removed. There are facilities to cloack your bags available once inside the Sydney Opera House.


Use the secure taxi rank.

Taxis cannot be booked to pick up in areas where there are road closures. If you wish to travel home by taxi, the secure taxi rank is located approximately a two kilmoetre walk from Sydney Opera House, on Elizabeth Street, south of Hyde Park.

See for details.