20. "Mi chiamano Mimi"

...ma il mio nome è Lucia

They call me Mimi, but my real name is Lucia

Yes, they call me Mimi,
but my real name's Lucia.
My story is brief.
I embroider silk and satin
at home or outside.
I'm tranquil and happy,
and my pastime
is making lilies and roses.
I love all things
that have gentle magic,
that talk of love, of spring,
that talk of dreams and fancies -
the things called poetry ...
Do you understand me?

They call me Mimi - I don't know why.

I live all by myself and I eat all alone.
I don't often go to church, but I like to pray.
I stay all alone in my tiny white room,
I look at the roofs and the sky.

But when spring comes
the sun's first rays are mine.
April's first kiss is mine, is mine!
The sun's first rays are mine!
A rose blossoms in my vase,
I breathe its perfume, petal by petal.
So sweet is the flower's perfume.
But the flowers I make, alas,
The flowers I make, alas, alas, have no scent.
What else can I say?
I'm your neighbour, disturbing you
at this impossible hour.

Puccini's La Bohème (The Bohemians) is set in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the 1840s – Rodolfo is a poet, who lives with his artist friends, all striving to make ends meet, often sacrificing their artistic ideals for work that sells. Mimi, a quiet girl who works as an embroiderer and lives in the same tenement, comes to borrow a candle from Rodolfo, which leads to this tender blossoming of love as they share their first 'getting to know' you moments.

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