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.