House of Ricordi (1954) - full transcript

Nel 1807, a Milano, Giovanni Ricordi, dopo aver comprato a Lipsia una nuova stampante, in cambio dell'impegno a lavorare gratis per il Teatro La Scala, ottiene tutti i manoscritti musicali che giacciono negli scantinati del Teatro. Ha inizio così la dinastia musicale della Casa Ricordi che vediamo svolgersi per tutto l'ottocento con Giovanni e Tito e Giulio e con i grandi dell'opera italiana: da Rossini a Bellini con la sua morte precoce, da Donizetti a Verdi e alla sua crisi all'avvento della musica nuova di Wagner, per finire il secolo con Puccini all'ombra della torre Eiffel.


In view of the immanent triumphant
arrival of Emperor Napoleon in Milan

By one hour after vespers each citizen
shall be in their house and not in the street.

Hey there, citizen! Don't move!

He must be a conspirator.
Come on!

It was November 12, 1807.
I remember it exactly.

From that very morning
I finally owned a copperplate press.

A wonderful machine that in an hour did
a day's work and with absolute precision.

My tired fingers,
full of cramp and cold,

would have some rest.

I remember with emotion
the very first printed page.

I couldn't realize it then,

but that day my story
and that of my family began,

the history of Casa Ricordi.

Look how wonderful!

What sharpness!

And to think that you didn't want me
to go to Leipzig to buy it.

- This will make our fortune.
- Yes, yes.

I wonder how we'll pay for
your copperplate printing press.

Let people read my
announcements and you'll see.

- I stuck them everywhere.
- At night, with a curfew.

- You're so irresponsible.
- Why?

- Napoleon can attach his and I can't?
- A fine comparison.

With the difference that Napoleon,

throughout the whole Empire,
doesn't even have an heir,

while I, instead, soon...

Citizen Giovanni Ricordi?

That's me.

Are you going around
attaching these sheets?

- Yes.
- Come with us.

- Giovanni, dear me!
- Let's not make a fuss.

- We're in a hurry, let's go!
- Oh, Giovanni! - Listen, please...

Don't frighten her,
she's going to have a baby.

Pardon, madame.
Nothing to fear.

I'm not taking him to prison,
but to the Teatro alla Scala.

Best wishes, madame.

At the...

To La Scala?!

To La Scala!

Excuse me.

- Sorry.
- Me?

What are you doing?
Are you crazy?

- You're crazy. - Me?
- Do you know what this is?

- Paper.
- It's music! - Well?

Di Cimarosa, signed.
But it's sacrilege!

All very fine stuff as you say,
but it's only paper.

- There's loads.
- Where?

Under the stage.

There are tied up bundles,
piled so high.

May I? Excuse me.

The superintendent
is busy with Cavalier Barbaja.

You'll have to wait.

Monsieur Ricordi!

Monsieur Ricordi, you can enter.

The superintendent is waiting for you.

Good morning, Ricordi. Come.

I called you because
I need in three days

200 copies of this anthem for marching

which must be
performed all over Milan

for the arrival of His Majesty
the Emperor Napoleon.

You assure me that with this...

What's it called?

Copperplate printing press, Superintendent.

I don't want to brag, but
I'm the only one in all Milan

to be able to deliver
the 200 copies in three days.

If you don't keep your commitment,
I won't give you a penny.

Very well.

Indeed, I'll keep my commitment
and you still won't give me a penny.

- What?
- I don't want money for my work.

Bravo! Did you hear, Barbaja?

You who doubt the civic sense
of the Milanese.

This is true patriotism.

Yes, but, when people don't want
money, then I start to worry.

What does it mean
"not a penny"?


For the job I would like

the sheet music that is
rotting under the stage.

What sheet music?

Waste paper. Old manuscripts of the works
that have been presented at La Scala.

But I prefer to do things properly.

- How much do you want?
- Superintendent,

for that waste paper I can commit myself

to provide La Scala forever for free

all copies that are requested of me.

Are you serious?


It seems to me an acceptable proposal.

- It's urgent, sir.
- It's always urgent.

- What's in your head?
- That music will be lost!

The rats eat it or the
workers make hats out of it!

- And you hope to make
your coat, suit and shoes? - Yes.

But not just me,

those who wrote it too.

Then we are understood, young man.

You give me copies in time
for the emperor's celebrations,

undertake to be
our copyist for free

- and all the old scores are yours.
- Very well, thank you very much.

- Thank you too.
- Best wishes.

He's really crazy!

I say he's not.

- What are you doing?
- Good morning, Mr. Monti.

A little surprise
for my clients.

- Business goes well for you, then!
- I can't complain.

Ricordi Edition! Ricordi Edition!

Terribly sorry.

- Good morning, Mr. Ricordi.
- Goodbye. And thanks.

- Nice press.
- Yeah.

I bought it with the money
you made me earn.

How may I help you?

I need the full scores

of "The secret wedding" by Cimarosa,
of "Anacreonte" by Cherubini

and "The Barber of Seville"
by Paisiello.

- Do you have manuscripts?
- At La Scala they told me

that all the originals are in your hands!
- Ah, yes.

I forgot that now whoever
wants copies of a work

must turn to me.

What price will you give me me
now that you're mechanised?

- 10 scudi.
- 10 scudi ! But I've always paid you 10 lire!

- Eh... Times have changed.
- You have changed!

You've become a profiteer!

- Take that back! Bloodsucker,
take it back! - Yes, I take it back!

Listen to me.

For years you've
exploited the authors and me.

And when I said you were paying little,

you told me:
"If you like, fine, if not, go elsewhere".

Now it's I who say it to you!

And that's not all.

From now on you others
must cough up for the musicians.

But if they are already paid on
delivery, with what right do you...

With that of the author.

And one more thing...
Show more respect!

Signor Giovanni!
Here we are, labour pains!

- Call the midwife, quick!
- Me?!

Oh God! But...

The midwife... The midwife...

- You... Go get the midwife. - Me?
- Hurry! The corner of Santa Margherita.

Come back in a week, you'll find
all the scores. But hurry! - I'm going!

Giovanni Ricordi
and Son

You know me?

I'm dad. Dad.

How small he is.

What a voice! No, no, no.

You don't have to be a singer.
A publisher you'll be.

How much work we'll have together!

For now, however, there's not so much.

But with you the "Casa Ricordi" is born

and all the great musicians
will come to us, right?

And you will help them write masterpieces.

Hurry up,
because it says outside:

"Giovanni Ricordi and son".

What is it?

It's done.
We've christened the new sign.

- Mister Giovanni! There's a customer!
- A customer.

Let's hope he pays well.

Wait a moment, talk to
the boss first. There he is.

- What is it? - He says that
for 12 lire it's still too expensive.

Too expensive? You should know
the prices. You're a theatre agent, right?

Ah, I understand.



For you I'll do it
for 3 lire only, okay?

Of course, 3 lire isn't much,

- only...
- You don't even have those?

"The touchstone".

- It's a rather funny title for an opera.
- I didn't choose it.

"The Barber of Seville"!
Here's a title, and what a plot!

You're too late, Paisiello
has already set it to music.

And... your opera...

- Have you found anyone to represent you?
- I hope so.

- Ragù?
- Yes, for the tagliatelle.

Well, give it back. I'll end up
finding a copyist who'll credit me.

- An imbecile!
- More or less.

I'm that imbecile.

But you agree to leave me the manuscript.

The better it goes, the more it earns.
A system invented by me.

- What if it's a fiasco?
- We'll share that too.

- I like the risk.
- And I like ragù.

Deal done.
If you invite me to lunch, of course.

- Rosina, lay another plate! Come.
- Thank you.

I kept inviting him
to lunch for many months.

It didn't take me long to understand that
the better Rossini ate, the better he worked.

I managed to have him write
one masterpiece after another.

One day the impresario Barbaja
signed him and took him to Naples.

The Neapolitan cuisine is certainly
not inferior to that of my Marietta

and so the successes continued.

It wasn't indigestion
that stopped them.

- Rascal, coward, traitor!
- Slave driver, usurer, thief!

A nice way to act.
You should be ashamed!

- But I swear...
- Domenico, please.

- You haven't bought up my whole life!
- Some gratitude!

If I not for me, you'd be playing
a mandolin in a tavern!

I work as I like,
where I like and when I like!

Yes, go to Rome.
Go do "The Barber of Seville".

We'll see how you'll manage
after Paisiello!

You've lost a friend, remember!

You'll regret planting me
mid-season like an artichoke!


I even asked him to be
best man at our wedding.

What an imbecile I am!

♪ Lo in the smiling sky, ♪

♪ the lovely dawn is breaking, ♪

♪ and you are not awake, ♪

♪ and you are still asleep? ♪

- Damn, my sauce!
- It's the third time you've interrupted me.

Wretch! Maestro, maestro!

- Maestro, do you realize?
- Yes, but...

I'll put in some red wine.
It's better. Want to taste?

In two weeks we go on stage
and you're still on the first act!

Don't shout so much,
I'll ruin the sauce.

I've already told you it's all
in my head, I only have to write it.

- Please don't set foot here again.
- What?

I am tired of hearing your shouting,
you'll ruin the opera too. Come on

Alright. I'll give you another 5 days.

- An hour late and I'll apply the penalty!
- Yes.

Come on, out!


Isabella, don't be cross with me.

I had to leave suddenly
for the new contract.

Why did you leave me like this,
without a word, not even a farewell?

I don't count for you, do I?

It is precisely because
you matter too much that I left.

Should I play hide and seek
between you two?

Have him come through one door
while you leave out the other?

Compose music next to you and play it
to him immediately afterwards? No, no.

There is another way:

- tell him everything frankly.
- Yes sure.

But how can one do it?
He always talks to me about you.

You should have tried yourself.

Do you believe it's that easy?

He always talks about your music.

He's in a dead end, Barbaja.
And yet, I owe everything to him.

- I can't steal his woman.
- You've already stolen her.

I can't love him anymore.

But before you left, you could at
least say goodbye, if only a word.

No... I don't like goodbyes.

Without orchestra accompaniment.

And then, I distrust tears,
I never know how to dry them.

But what do you want?
I'm no hero.

I'm rather... a Pulcinella.

And like a clown
you also joke about serious things.


Do you think the trip to
Rome only cost me the ticket?

I thought so much of you
that I forgot everything,

music, singers, impresario, everything.

Even the sauce on the stove!


- What is it?
- Look.

- Where?
- Down there.

- Of course he was spying on you.
- I thought he was in Caserta on business.

If he thinks I'm afraid,
we'll show him!


In here.

Don't be afraid, I'm here.

We have to decide.

- Tell him everything, please.
- Yes, sure.

But for now don't move. Here.

- Well...
- Well?

You didn't expect to see me here?

- Really... - Water under
the bridge, I forgive you.

Besides, you couldn't have done otherwise.
- Honestly, no.

- Tell the truth, you lost your mind.
- Completely.

- Only, you're not the first.
- What?

"What"... Paisiello has already
set it to music, you know, don't you?

- Ah! You came to talk...
- Of "The Barber of Seville", yes.

- Where are you at?
- I've to deliver the opera in 5 days.

5 days?
Then you did nothing.

Like in Naples, always chasing women!

There's a convent nearby.

Listen, Maestro Rossini,
Paisiello's admirers in Naples

consider it an insult
that a youngster like you

allow yourself to make
a copy of "The Barber".

And want to destroy
your opera by their whistling.

The theatre has been sold out for a week.

Know where the tickets are?
In the hands of Paisiello fanatics.

- What music you'll hear!
Not yours, theirs. - Better.

I hesitated and now I'm determined.

Look, I think I already have
a cue for the slander aria.

I don't want this music
to be whistled at! Listen to me.

Write a nice letter to Paisiello now,
with your heart on your sleeve.

Paisiello will be moved
and you won't be bothered.

- Think so? - I'll ask him
to compose something for San Carlo.

And I'll also give him
some nice advance.


- You really are a friend.
- Leave it, I know you can't say "thank you".

But admit it was a dirty trick
walking out on me.

You have to admit it.

Don't make me talk nonsense.

"Distinguished or
Very Distinguished Maestro"?

As you wish. Me I'd write
the whole letter very clearly

so that he understands what you say.

Put that you consider him your teacher,
that your work is a kind of homage

- and that you don't even hope to equal his.
- Very true.

- My "barber" will shave him.
- I'm sure,

but don't dream of writing it.

The Neapolitans adored you,
we hope they forgive you

as I forgave you.


Very good.
A little short, but it will do.

I'll leave then.
See you on the day of the premiere.

Isabella will be there too, you know?

I think the change of air will benefit her.

- She's not been too well
these past few days. - Thank you.

I owe you so much.

Get that slander aria down
before you forget it as always.


Yes, you did well to leave.

And now it would be wrong of me...
to stay.

- Sforza Cesarini is not at home,
he's at the Argentina Theatre. - Fine.

Let's go to the Argentina!

Come on, sing!

- Come on!
- What shall I do?

Enough, it sucks!

Did you see what happened?


Come on!

Go on!

Go on!



Silence! I said "silence"!

Thus ends the first performance
of "The Barber of Seville"

by Gioachino Rossini.

As for you, gentlemen whistlers,

I am sure you have been
paid better than our performers

and whoever directed it
is certainly better than me.

We congratulate
you on your success

and we offer you our applause!

Do you know, dear?
Mr. Giovanni Ricordi.

- How could this happen?
- Well, it happens.

- You promised Rossini you would stop it.
- Who told you that?

- Rossini himself.
- You believe it? Not me.

- What are you saying?
- I don't believe you either, my dear.

Don Bartolo lets himself be hoodwinked,
not me. You should have known.

It was you!

- You! - My dear, please.
- What wrong did he do you?

He did it to himself and me
to avoid doing you wrong.

True, we love each other,
but we haven't betrayed you.

You can ignore what loyalty means,
you've always ignored it.

But he doesn't!


Performed at very popular prices

- What happens?
- I took over the show.

The impresario has a 39° fever
and dropped everything.

40 to be exact.
I saw him a little while ago.

I had the same idea, but you were quicker.

Yes, I'm sorry, okay?

And you were right, it's a great work.

- Where's Rossini? - Who knows?
He's not been seen at theatre or home.

The work will be fine all the same
as there are no people from yesterday!

See you later.

Young man, let me see me a moment.

A place in the gallery.

- Weren't you here yesterday too?
- Of course I was there.

- I was the only one who applauded.
Look here. - Yeah.

- Why are you coming back?
- Return punches if necessary.

Rossini is a genius.
I understand him, I'm a musician too.


Change this gallery
for a good seat in the stalls.

Your name?

Donizetti, Gaetano Donizetti.

- Donizetti?
- With a single "Z".

- Here's my card.
- Thank you.

If you pass through Milan, come and see me.

But you don't even know me.

You appreciate Rossini,
you are young, a musician.

For me a young musician
is always a hope.

Go, it's starting.

Baked pears.

Baked pears!

Want one, maestro?

Tonight no?

- News of Isabella?
- She left the hotel around 8:00 pm

and hasn't come back yet.

♪ Ready for everything by night or by day, ♪
♪ always in bustle, in constant motion. ♪

♪ A better lot for a barber, ♪
♪ a nobler life does not exist. ♪

♪ La la la la. ♪

♪ Razors and combs, lancets and scissors, ♪
♪ at my command everything's ready. ♪

♪ Then there are "extras", ♪

♪ part of my trade ♪

♪ business for ladies ♪
♪ and cavaliers… ♪

♪ Business for ladies... ♪

♪ And cavaliers... ♪

♪ Ah, what a merry life, ♪
♪ what gay pleasures, ♪

♪ What gay pleasures ♪

♪ for a barber of quality! ♪

♪ All call for me, ♪
♪ all want me, ♪

♪ ladies and children, ♪
♪ old men and maidens. ♪

♪ I need a wig, ♪
♪ I want a shave, ♪

♪ leeches to bleed me, ♪
♪ here, take this note. ♪

♪ All call for me, ♪
♪ all want me. ♪

♪ I need a wig, I want a shave, ♪
♪ here, take this note. ♪

♪ Figaro, Figaro... ♪

♪ Heavens! What a commotion! ♪

♪ Heavens! What a crowd! ♪
♪ One at a time, for pity's sake. ♪

♪ One at a time, one at a time, ♪
♪ for pity's sake! ♪

♪ Figaro! I'm here. ♪

♪ Hey, Figaro! I'm here! ♪

♪ Figaro here, Figaro there, ♪
♪ Figaro here, Figaro there. ♪

♪ Figaro up, Figaro down, ♪
♪ Figaro up, Figaro down. ♪

♪ Quicker and quicker ♪
♪ I go like greased lightning, ♪

♪ make way for the factotum of the city, ♪
♪ of the city, of the city. ♪

♪ Ah, bravo, Figaro! ♪
♪ Bravo, bravissimo. ♪

♪ On you good fortune ♪
♪ will always smile. ♪

♪ On you good fortune ♪
♪ will always smile. ♪

♪ I am the factotum of the city. ♪

♪ I am the factotum ♪
♪ of the city, of the city, ♪

♪ of the city. ♪

♪ Calumny ♪

♪ is a little breeze, ♪

♪ a zephyr, ♪

♪ so gentle ♪

♪ that insensibly, subtly, ♪

♪ lightly and sweetly, ♪

♪ commences to whisper. ♪

♪ Softly softly, ♪

♪ here and there, ♪

♪ sottovoce, ♪

♪ sibilant, ♪

♪ it goes gliding, it goes rambling. ♪

♪ it goes buzzing, it goes buzzing. ♪

♪ Into the ears of the people, ♪

♪ it penetrates slyly, ♪

♪ and the heads and brains, ♪
♪ and the heads and brains ♪

♪ it stuns, it stuns ♪
♪ and it swells. ♪

♪ From the mouth re-emerging ♪

♪ the noise grows crescendo, ♪

♪ gathers force little by little, ♪

♪ runs its course from place to place, ♪
♪ seems the thunder of the tempest ♪

♪ which from the depths of the forest ♪
♪ comes whistling, muttering, ♪

♪ freezing everyone in horror. ♪

♪ Finally with crack and crash, ♪
♪ it spreads afield, its force redoubled, ♪

♪ and produces an explosion ♪

♪ like the outburst of a cannon, ♪

♪ like the outburst of a cannon, ♪

♪ an earthquake, a whirlwind, ♪
♪ a general uproar, ♪

♪ which makes the air resound. ♪

♪ An earthquake, a whirlwind, ♪
♪ a general uproar, ♪

♪ An earthquake, a whirlwind, ♪
♪ which makes the air resound. ♪

♪ And the poor slandered wretch, ♪

♪ vilified, trampled down, ♪

♪ vilified, trampled down, ♪

♪ And the poor slandered wretch, ♪

♪ vilified, trampled down, ♪

♪ sunk beneath the public lash, ♪
♪ by good fortune, falls to death. ♪

♪ sunk beneath the public lash, ♪
♪ by good fortune, falls to death. ♪

♪ sunk beneath the public lash, ♪
♪ by good fortune, falls to death. ♪

♪ Yes, falls to death, ♪
♪ yes, falls to death. ♪

♪ Yes, falls to death! ♪


How could they have
whistled a masterpiece like this?


I've been looking for you everywhere.

- Why?
- I've left Barbaja.

You are crazy, Isabella.

After the fiasco of last night.

I have to start all over again.

I have to regain the trust of
the public, of the impresarios.

And that's not enough.

Finding confidence in myself.

This is the most difficult thing.

I don't know if I'll have the
courage to start all over again.

You will find the courage.

Love, you have already left me once
and I suffered so much.

I don't want to lose you again.

Come. Look!

Bravo, Rossini! Bravo! Hooray!

Bravo! Long live Rossini!

♪ So happy a reunion ♪
♪ let us remember for ever. ♪

♪ I put out my lantern, ♪
♪ I am no longer needed. ♪

♪ May love and faith eternal ♪
♪ reign in both your hearts. ♪

♪ May love and faith eternal ♪
♪ reign in both your hearts. ♪

♪ May love and faith eternal ♪
♪ reign in both your hearts. ♪

♪ May love and faith eternal ♪
♪ reign in both your hearts. ♪

♪ In you reign, ♪
♪ in you reign, in you reign. ♪

Best wishes, rogue!

You'll be our best man!

Long live Rossini!

- Mr. Giovanni Ricordi.
- He's very busy.

Good sign, it means that
business is good. Announce me.

This is not a good time.

Give it to Signor Giovanni.

- Are you making fun of me?
- Less chatter, go.

Your name is Ricordi?

Give it to your master and add
that it's Donizetti, with only one "Z".

You should have understood that when I
say no it's no and when I say yes it's yes!

I told you it wasn't the right time.

I'm not in the chorus!
And I marvel at you, Mr. Ricordi,

backing up these two exploiters!

If you think to take advantage
because I'm a woman, you're mistaken!

- Who's in there? - Virginia Marchi,
she sings at the Carcano Theatre.

- If she sings like she screams, a real
phenomenon. - They fight to hear her.

And she fights with the impresarios
who don't listen to her. A plague.

You're exaggerating.
Enough of your demands!

Stop! I have a contract
and you'll respect it!

Engage the tenor I've chosen
or I'll go to court!

- You're blackmailing us!
- Call it what you like, I don't care.

But I'll win the case and
seize the theatre from you!

- A fine woman.
- Yes, but I want nothing to do with her.

I do.

There's nothing to do.
I know Virginia well.

- I was hoping my mediation...
- What a tigress!

You know how cold gets to me.
Well, I've never warmed up so much.

Yesterday the costumes,
today that cheap poseur.

Tomorrow it will certainly be
the start date of the performances.

She does nothing but cause trouble.

Mr. Giovanni...

- What is it? - There's a man
who insists on talking to you.

You don't say "a man",
you say "a gentleman".

Perhaps one says so,
but he certainly isn't.


- He's here?
- It was you who insisted on engaging her.

- She's a great singer!
- Yes!

But I'd do anything to get rid of her!

Maybe I have an idea.
Virginia has an iron contract:

costumes, scenes, dates, artists,
everything must be approved by her.

Or by him, right now.

Yes, now she has this
whim for the tenor Maselli.

- If we don't bend over...
- Pay the penalty.

If not Maselli,
she'd invent something else.

No. She surely devises things up at night.

I say it, but...

- If I'm not mistaken, she has no right
to refuse an opera. - Ah, no!

- What's that got to do with it?
- If you put up a new opera

- and Virginia doesn't like it and
refuses to sing it... - Maybe!

It would be she who broke the contract.

But what do we know
that Virginia will refuse?

I know her, I told you.

I have a work that
Virginia will slap in our faces.

An indescribable hodgepodge,
a mess, one of those...

Have you nothing to do?


It's by Donizetti.

- His last work flopped.
- Is it really bad? - I'm an expert, right?

- It's done! Do you have the score?
- More than that, I have the author.

- He's out there waiting for me.
- Fine, thanks!

You are the Napoleon of publishers.

You'll thank me later.


- Dear Donizetti, how's it going?
- Fine, thanks.

Do come in.

- Maestro Gaetano Donizetti.
- What a pleasure!

We read your opera,
it's wonderful.

- New, magnificent! Bravo!
- Bravo!

♪ Softly a furtive teardrop fell ♪

♪ shadowed her sparkling eyes ♪

♪ Seeing the others follow me ♪

♪ has caused her jealous sighs ♪

♪ What is there more to prize? ♪

♪ What is there... ♪

No, no, no! You're falling!

Don't you realise?
Sustain the note! Up, up!

"Up, up"! I couldn't even get
up there with a fire ladder!

Dear Maselli, if I were a fireman
holding onto his ladder,

I certainly wouldn't lend it to you.

I've been trying to get something
into your head for half an hour!

Yet there's a lot of void, good God!

How dare you,
the author of this jingle?!

Shut up, dog!
You're fired! Out!

Outside, before you're forced to
use your lousy voice to shout for help!

We'll see what
Miss Marchi will say about it.

- We'll see!
- What is it?

I fired Maselli.

What? You've fired Maselli?
At the first reading?

Sorry if I've been so late.

Oh, good.

I'd like to point out that the rehearsal
was scheduled for 10:00 am.

It's almost 11:00 and the
soprano is nowhere to be seen.

- I won't work like this!
- You're quite right, maestro!

- But I'm convinced...
- Good morning.

- Here she is!
- Good morning.

- Good morning, Miss.
- Good morning.

Good morning. Have you read the score?
We'd like to hear your opinion.

My opinion is that I'll end up
suing the lot of you.

- You won't get rid of me like this.
- I'm very sorry,

but we believed that the opera...
- Who mentioned the opera?

It's the dressing room you gave me. You
couldn't find a dirtier, darker, wetter one!

I care about my voice, and you should too,
that's where your earnings come from!

You must excuse us, miss,
but we didn't think...

Who should sing this stuff,
me or you?

- Does that mean you'll sing this opera?
- Of course!

- Thanks, it's very kind of you.
- The author?

Bravo, I like you music.
It doesn't happen very often.

Mister author, at your command.


I wish everyone to leave the stage.

During rehearsals
I can't stand distractions.

And where is Mr. Maselli?

He'll be running after some cat.

- You've...
- Yes, he's a dog.

I thought I'd replace him with a singer.

Well, let us start.

That's how you freed us
of this mad woman, huh?

But it looks like she's settled down.

You assured us that the work was bad.

I was lying!
I knew instead that it was beautiful.

But I also knew you wouldn't accept to
stage a work by a composer under a cloud.

So you...

♪ Love for the cruel Isolda ♪
♪ in Tristan's heart, ♪

♪ though vain was all his yearning ♪

♪ fate had not meant it to be. ♪

♪ Then he implored... ♪

No, no.

Please, no flourishes.

- What's that?
- I'm not the one to follow you,

it's you who must follow me!

♪ Then he implored to save him ♪

♪ a magical enchanter, ♪

♪ who an elixir gave him ♪
♪ made from a wondrous plant ♪

Whatever's happened to her?
I've never seen her submit like this.

It's not enough that she likes
the work, the public must like it too.

Yes, and pray to God
that it is so, dear Ricordi.

The Napoleon of publishers!

But remember that Napoleon
also had his Waterloo.

♪ What affection! ♪

♪ And I, how cruel, ♪
♪ to torment that noble heart! ♪

♪ She's in love: ♪
♪ and wants the elixir. ♪

♪ How cruel! ♪

♪ Then, 'tis certain... ♪

- Cold?
- No fear.

♪ Has, at length, his love requited! ♪

♪ He's to every feast invited ♪
♪ where the women are delighted ♪

♪ And of which damsel has he choice made? ♪

♪ Prey, on whom has his preference fallen? ♪

♪ In faith then like a butterfly ♪
♪ from flower to flower he flies. ♪

♪ - Some dark fiend, twas sure, ♪
♪ did tempt me... - She's in love. ♪

♪ - to reject that noble heart! ♪
♪ - and wants the liquor. ♪

♪ And I, how cruel, ♪
♪ to torment that noble heart! ♪

Dad, I like it.

So small and already understands?

♪ With tender look I'll charm him, ♪
♪ With a modest smile invite him, ♪

♪ With a tear or sigh alarm him, ♪
♪ With a fond caress excite him. ♪

♪ Never yet was man so mulish ♪
♪ That I could not make him yield, ♪

♪ Sir! Nemorino's fate's decided ♪
♪ when Adina takes the field. ♪

♪ My receipt is in my eyes, ♪
♪ There the true elixir lies. ♪

♪ Ah, you baggage, 'tis most certain, ♪

♪ that your art mine far surpasses. ♪

♪ 'Tis most certain, 'tis most certain ♪

♪ Ah, you baggage, 'tis most certain. ♪

♪ That your are mine far surpasses ♪
♪ Your eyes are harming glasses ♪

♪ Within whose all absorbing focus ♪
♪ Just as though 'twere hocus-pocus ♪

♪ You, my hussy, can distil ♪
♪ Just whatever love you will ♪

Go away, imbecile!


- Donizetti!
- Bravo!

- How hot! I'm sweating!
- Bravo!

Thank you, Ricordi!

- Bravo!
- You were right.


Come in.

Virginia, I hate melodramatic ways,

but allow me to devotedly kiss your hand.

You were magnificent, sublime!

Hackneyed words, but I can find no others.

How to thank you,
for your goodwill during rehearsals,

for your precision, your punctuality.

They told me you were a sort of tigress,

instead you're an angel.
I owe my first real success to you.

One moment,
don't think it's all over.

- I owe a debt to you too.
- What?

This will teach you
to humiliate me in front of people,

firing my tenor, putting on airs like a
great man and always giving orders!

Now you know that Virginia Marchi
never leaves an outstanding account.

And pays in hard cash.

Unbearable third rate composer!

For two months this slap
has been burning my fingers!

Now it's done.

Now you can leave.

May I at least ask you why
you put up with me so much?


Strange question.

I'm sorry, but you always do
the opposite of what I expect

and I'm caught unprepared.

If you'll allow, this time
I'd like to live up to the situation.

Remember, son, often in life to get
something you have to ask the opposite.

- Understand?
- No, dad.

It's better this way.
What a thing to teach a child!

I was telling him for when
he grows up. Right, Tito?

I always kept
my father's words in mind.

Even before growing up,
the theory of asking the opposite

of what one wants came in
handy on many occasions.

Strange, it was with my
father that I got the best results.

I started not wanting
the rocking horse,

then not wanting long trousers,

then absolutely wanting him
to make me work harder,

even on the night shift.

- Adieu, mon amour. A bientôt.
- To the station.

Écris-moi! Je t'attends à Paris!


- Mr. Tito, good morning.
- Hello. Has Dad already arrived?

- An hour ago.
- Damn! Give me your duster.

If the old man still sees me
in coat-tails, he'll eat me alive.

Mr. Tito, the night
is made for bed.

I say so too. And I always
find some little woman who agrees.

- And that?
- It's the title page of "La sonnambula".

- Still here? It's urgent!
- No lithography.

You father ordered
to engrave it in copper,

he doesn't like new ideas.
But it's a shame.

You didn't do it right,
I know how to convince him.

Let me do it.

- About time!
- Good morning, dad.

I heard talk of lithography
for this title page, is it true?

No, I said copperplate!
They're all gaga!

I said, "How is that possible?
Dad isn't the type to take risks."

"He drags his heels
in these things!". I was right.

Eh? What's this?
Who's dragging his heels?

You do well. You never know what
comes out with this lithograph.

Let us leave these things
to the Vallardi Brothers.

- Why the Vallardi?
- They've been doing it for a while.

Listen to that idiotic talk.
Are we less than the Vallardi?

I'm against it. If you
want to take responsibility...

Sure I'll take it!
Get it done in lithography, alright?

- Really? - Do you take me
for a silly old fuddy-duddy?

No, dad.
Neither old nor a fuddy-duddy.

Nor silly.

- Not even the time to change, this time.
- Well...

Where did you spend the night?

- Women, of course.
- No, dad, friends from the university.

Ah, well, then...
the fuddy-duddy is you.

As soon as it's ready
I'll send a copy to Bellini in Paris.

- Of course.
- All right.


About Bellini, I wanted
to talk to you. I'm worried.

- What's the matter?
- I haven't heard from him for two months.

He didn't even show up for
rehearsals of "The Puritans".

- Strange. - I wrote to Rossini,
he replied that he'd never seen him.

- Miss Grisi will certainly know something.
- No.

Rossini wrote to me that they broke up.

He's involved with another woman.

He'd found the woman who was
right for him, simple, calm, serene.

It would also have benefited his health.
No, sir.

- What can one do, dad?
- I don't know.

That boy worries me.

Maybe someone should be sent to Paris.

But don't think of sending me, dad!

- Why not?
- I can't go, I'm busy here.


What? Have you made up your mind
to be indispensable here?

I'm not saying that, I just
don't want to go to Paris. And then...

I'd rather not.

- You don't want to go?
- No.

Then I won't send you to Paris.

- You'll stay here, my dear young man.
- What's with you, dad?

It is that...
I've taught you this little game.

I still have enough brains to remember.

If you had as much as I have,
the shop would run much better.

You're a good-for-nothing,
you just like to have fun!

I'll go to Paris.
Out of the way.

- Dad...
- Scram!

But I say...

- Good morning, Mr. Tito.
- Hello. - Good morning.

Lithograph, immediately.

Good morning.

- By tonight.
- Mr. Tito, some proofs must be done.

It's the first time. If you're wrong?
Once it's engraved, it's engraved.

- Is the stone ready?
- Yes, Mr. Tito. - Give it to me.

Clear up here.

- Where are the burins?
- Immediately.

- It's a nice job!
- Magnificent!

- You can say so.
- It deserves a bonus.


What's going on?

Not working?

Go wash and change immediately,
or you won't be on time for departure.

Come on!

I was in Paris for 5 wonderful
but too short days ahead of me.

I had no time to waste.

I'd have gone straight
to the theatre to Miss Grisi,

A woman in love and disappointed
is worth more than 10 policemen.

I would have known something for
sure, just to obey dad and please him.

Personally I was more than
relaxed about Vincenzo Bellini,

but this time, unfortunately, I was wrong.

Au plus tôt,
as soon as possible.

- She keeps running after him.
- After whom?

- Him, always to him.
- Bellini?

Looks like he's sick now.

- I'll wait for you, ma'am.
- Yes. I won't stay long.

Belfagor, quiet! What is it?

Don't you recognize me anymore?

Go to the kennel, come on!

Ah, it's you.
What are you doing here?

Good evening.
I'd like to know how he is.

The first performance is
on Tuesday, you must talk to him.

Don't worry, miss,

he and I will be on
strictly professional terms.

- Don't be afraid. - Me, afraid?
I think you're mistaken, ma'am.

Especially since Bellini isn't here.

- What?
- Yes, he's much better.

To heal completely he went to
the countryside for a few days.

- Where?
- Plombière,

but he'll return for
the premiere of "The Puritans".

- To Plombière this season?
- Yes, he got this idea

and when he gets an idea in his head.
But you know only too well, don't you?

- Congratulations on your tact.
- And mine for your obstinacy.

Yes, it's true, in that respect
we're not alike.

- I would have accompanied him.
- He preferred to go alone.

He didn't want you to follow him.

Then your right,
he's completely healed.

he's completely cured of you.

And I can assure you that
there is no danger of a relapse,

therefore I advise you
to give up your trips here.

And I wish you goodnight, ma'am.


Who was it?

I don't know, Signor Bellini,
a woman.

- Where did Luisa go?
- She's coming up, don't fret.

Here she is!

- Who was it?
- Nobody.

A woman who wanted to
know if the house was for sale.

What is it?

Strange, I had the impression of
recognizing that way of ringing the bell.

Why did friends forget me?

My love, calm down.
Yesterday I went looking for Rossini,

but he's no longer in Paris,
otherwise he would certainly have come.

- Has the premiere been set?
- Not yet, but we'll know soon.

And so,
I have nothing more to say, Mr. Ricordi.

Except that eternal loves,
as they call them,

last no longer than the others.

I don't see any mystery in it.
It's simply...

A man passing from the arms of one woman
to those of another, as in the quadrille.

But it doesn't matter, does it?
The dance continues.

Sorry, Giulia.

There's no need to apologize.

All of Paris laughs at Grisi.

It seems to me impossible that he
didn't show up tonight at the premiere.

Of course he's hidden somewhere.

And we'll see him pop up
at the first applause.

- I know my colleagues.
- The Lord willed it!

It would be so nice, not for me,

but for him and for the opera.

We had so looked forward to this day.

We wanted, if it was a success,
to celebrate it alone, he and I.

Come, hurry.
Do you want an empty stage?

And keep the tears for the great duet,

you'll need them all. Go.



So, Doctor, is he any better?

Tell me something!

Today I'm really worried.

This agitation that
increases by the minute...

Yet he never sees anyone,
I watch over him.

You watch him too much.
It's a cure I didn't prescribe.

All the more reason to do it.
Ever since you've treated him...

Listen to me, miss,

the situation is so serious that
I cannot hide the truth from you.

This absurd and suffocating
love of yours is slowly killing him.

- You're crazy! Your insolence...
- It's not insolence, miss,

it's a diagnosis.

When passion overcomes certain limits,
it becomes a monstrosity,

which only pathology can define.

You say terrible things!

You've deprived Bellini
of his friends, of his work,

of all that still gave him
the strength to live.

And if life leaves him now,
it's your fault,

- your terrible jealousy.
- Doctor!

You didn't even allow
Rossini to approach him.

He who has helped him so much
and who loves him like a brother.

Because you're ashamed to let people know to what
a pitiful state you've reduced Vincenzo Bellini.

Get out!

Get out of here!
And you never come back, did you hear me?

Never again!


- Stefano! - Ma'am.

Go to the pharmacy
and get the medicine.

- I'm going right away.
- Hurry up! - Yes Ma'am.

♪ Here his voice, his voice so gentle ♪

♪ Invoked my name then died away ♪

♪ Vows of love and truth he plighted ♪

♪ Vows of love, vows of love ♪

♪ And then, oh cruel, ♪

♪ And then, oh cruel, scorned to stay. ♪

♪ Never more ♪

♪ shall we, united, ♪

♪ Never more, shall we, ♪
♪ united taste the joy... ♪

- Any news?
- Nobody knows a thing about him.

What could have happened?

I don't know, but not showing up
is just exhibitionism.

♪ Or let life itself be over! ♪

♪ Oh, restore me hope once more ♪

♪ or let ♪

♪ life itself be over! ♪

Vincenzo... Vincenzo...

I will never know if it has been successful,

my latest work.

Why? Why?

Don't talk.

You know, when
life begins to leave us,

you think about what is outside.
The streets, the people passing by,

the trees, the earth.

I would like to see it all, all.
To hear the bustle of life.

I think of the friends
who abandoned me

and I have no compassion
for your sacrifice for me.

I pushed your friends away.

Yes, me.

I didn't know I'd hurt you so much.
I never knew.

And the Grisi?
I didn't even apologize to her.

A love that lives on
the pain of others is monstrous.

Our love is not monstrous.

There is nothing greater,
stronger than our love.

But it burned everything,
even you and me with you.

Poor love, my angel.
My dearest love.

♪ The herald's trumpet? ♪

♪ Is it a message? ♪

♪ What can it be? ♪

♪ Let exultation fill the hearts of all! ♪

♪ The power of the Stuarts is overcome. ♪

♪ Pardon has been to all captives granted. ♪

♪ In England, liberty's supreme! ♪

- Bellini is dying. - What's that?
- Come au plus tôt!



Hurry! Faster!





My love, we are here next to you.

Your friends,
just as you wanted. Forgive me.

It's my fault.

It's my fault.

He was so young.

O Lord, welcome our friend.

We ask you to love him in Heaven

as we loved him on earth.

How many things
happened all at once.

After almost 40 years
I decided to leave the old house,

where I was born and where my
father had recently passed away.

But, like people, companies
grow when they are healthy,

so I chose a larger and more
beautiful location in via degli Omenoni.

It was March 18, 1848.

But if that date has gone down in history,

it wasn't the on account of Casa Ricordi.

- Ambrose, what's going on?
- Nothing, the usual demonstrations.

They've heard that Palermo has risen up
and don't want to be left behind.

Ah, God willing!

A fine day we chose to move.

Let's hope my son
doesn't get caught up in it.


- What are you doing?
- We're moving house. And you, when?

You've notified the police?

Yes. You must notify them
even if you need to scratch yourself.

- Jawohl! Check load.
- Why?

Be good, sir. Keep calm.

What are these papers?

What do you want them to be?
Music, manuscripts, sheet music.

Let's see.

- "The Lombards at the first crusade"
by Giuseppe Verdi. - Who's he?

- Never heard of him. - Sooner or later
you will, and also his music. - Was?

He says, at the theatre. You'll go
when you have a day of leave.

Weg! Gut!


- What's up?
- Our men occupied the Governor's palace.

The Austrians are disarming
the civic guard!

In Borgo Monforte it's bedlam, let's run!

I was sorry to leave our old home.

He was so fond of it, poor dad.


- I'm worried about Giulio.
- Don't worry.

He's a serious, peaceful boy
with his head on his shoulders.

- What's going on?
- The Austrian cavalry!

- They passed Piazza del Duomo!
- We must cut them off!

Come, there's a wagon!
We must make a barricade! Come on!

- Move the cart!
- Whip the horse! Come on!

- Take the mattress!
- Halt! Stop here.

- Watch out, they're coming!
- Long live Italy!

- Can you use it?
- I hope so. - Bravo!

When I said that Casa Ricordi
had no merit in those glorious days,

in a way I was wrong.

My son Giulio, I knew later, fought like
an old soldier, and was only 16 years old.

That evening he came home for
a moment to hug me and say goodbye.

He went to Turin to join
the army of Carlo Alberto.

Leaving he was a child.
I would see him again a grown man.

If I can today,
with confidence towards myself,

accept the management of
the company that my father,

to give himself
a well-deserved rest, entrusts with me,

and if I can look to
the future with serenity,

I owe it to you, Maestro Verdi.

The words you said to me when I wanted
to persist in continuing my military career

have remained etched in my mind:

"Your duty is to continue the
work of Giovanni and Tito Ricordi".

This duty has become my pride.

Because I'm proud, however small
my contribution may have been,

to have continued in his shadow the
uninterrupted repetition of his successes

which are the affirmation and triumph
of Italian melodrama in the world.

And if one day I too can,
like my father, deserve a little rest,

I will have the joy of remembering my
whole life listening again to your music,

for my every step has been
accompanied by the echo of your notes.

Ever since, as a boy on the barricades,
I sang "The choir of the Lombards".

Bravo, Giulio. Beautiful words.

But remember that your father here
and your grandfather up there

expect music from me,
facts from you.

♪ A joke or madness ♪
♪ is such a prophecy. ♪

♪ A joke or madness ♪
♪ is such a prophecy. ♪

♪ How their credulity ♪
♪ amuses me! ♪

♪ How their credulity ♪
♪ amuses me! ♪

♪ A joke! ♪

♪ Madness! ♪

♪ How their credulity ♪
♪ amuses me! ♪

♪ How their credulity ♪
♪ amuses me! ♪

♪ Their credulity amuses me! ♪

- What does it say?
- Nothing.

The usual Wagner fanatics.
Sorry, dad, I'm going to Verdi.

What's this?

Don't worry, it's a prank.


Let's leave, Giuseppina.

- Maestro...
- Maybe they're right. Goodbye, Giulio.

What did I tell you? Abroad, music is
renewed and we're still at the brass band.

- They say Wagner is too difficult.
- Who says so?

Those who impose a monopoly
of Verdi's music on us.

Aren't we enough to fight them?

- Yes, but all we do is talk.
- Quite right!

Tonight we'll start with whistling.

No whistles! Wagner's music
will be enough to bury him!

Well done!

Well done. To enhance
Wagner, you want to bury Verdi!

Poor deluded fools!

At war you sang his hymns and
it took away your fatigue and fear.

When music reaches this point, there is
no need to change your mind to destroy it.

Even Farewell, my Darling, Farewell
was sung.

- But the war is over and Verdi too!
- Wagner will come to Italy,

this is what we're all fighting for.

Wagner or Verdi?
Music ancient or modern?

Maestro Verdi
renew or die

Notes for Otello

Giuseppe, what are you doing?

A week ago
they sent the census sheet

and now they've come
to get it, do you want it?


Good morning, maestro.
- Good morning.

- Maestro, good morning.
- Good morning.

- Good morning.
- Good morning.

Good morning.

- How's the harvest going?
- Well.

Since you've been in charge,
each year is better.

- Maybe because I don't allow you
to steal anymore! - What's that?

Just joking.
Hey, Beppe!

- Here I am, master.
- Come here. Climb up.

- Goodbye.
- Good morning, maestro.

I want to go to Parma,
to the land registry.

In 7 years I've not yet
fixed that border.

♪ O willow ♪

♪ Willow ♪

Here. And get me the
carriage, I want to go to Parma.

But I told you there's trouble in Parma.

- It doesn't matter. - The guards
fired on the labourers yesterday.

One dead and three injured.
The situation is serious.

Do as I told you.

♪ Willow! ♪

♪ Come sing! ♪

- No! - What are you doing?
Are you crazy?

Well? What are you doing here?
What do you want?

- I wrote Giulio to come.
- What did you hope for?

To do something for you.

My long wait has been useless.

- I hoped... - You did wrong!
- No, she did well!

If nothing else, I could see what
an absurd crime you're committing.

And if you won't listen
to me, listen to Boito.

My opinion may not count for much,
but I'm a musician too

and I wrote the libretto
of "Othello" for you.

I swear that Shakespeare himself would
be proud of how you set his drama to music.

What you've destroyed is the most
beautiful music I have ever heard.

It is evident that neither you nor
Shakespeare have heard of Wagner.

- Giuseppe...
- Only a bunch of fanatics could do this.

Your audience has waged war and today
works in the cities and countryside,

they have the right to your music!
- That's just words!

You might even convince me.

But don't you understand that
it is I who no longer trust myself,

that something is broken here inside?

In short...

I've made an irrevocable decision.
There's no going back!


Maestro, don't get in any trouble.

Beppe, where's the maestro going?

- For a document at the Parma registry.
- Parma?


Come on, in order!
Don't be afraid.

We must no longer allow
our rights to be trampled on!

Sound the alarm!
To your positions!

Let's go!


Save your breath!

Go back!
Don't force us to shoot!

We are not afraid!

For the last time, stop!



Are you crazy?

You are brothers! It's just 20 years
that you made Italy together!

- It's Verdi! - Yes, it's him!
- The maestro!

- Come on, cowards!
- Can't you see it's Verdi?

It's Verdi.

♪ Fly, my thoughts, on wings of gold ♪

♪ go settle upon the slopes and the hills ♪

♪ where, soft and mild, the sweet airs ♪

♪ of my native land smell fragrant! ♪

♪ Greet the banks of the Jordan ♪

♪ and Zion's toppled towers. ♪

♪ Oh, my homeland, so lovely and so lost! ♪

♪ Oh memory, so dear and so dead! ♪

♪ Golden harp of the prophets of old, ♪

♪ why do you now hang silent ♪
♪ upon the willow? ♪

♪ Rekindle the memories in our hearts, ♪

♪ and speak of times gone by! ♪

Giulio was right.

This is the audience that doesn't forget.

♪ Let no one fear me ♪

♪ if he still sees me armed. ♪

♪ Here is the end of my journey. ♪

♪ Oh, glory! ♪

♪ Otello is no more. ♪

♪ And you, how pale you are ♪

♪ and weary and mute ♪

♪ and beautiful. ♪

♪ pious creature born ♪

♪ under an evil star. ♪

♪ Cold as your chaste life ♪

♪ and received in heaven. ♪

♪ Desdemona! Desdemona! ♪

♪ Ah, dead! Dead! ♪

♪ Dead! ♪

♪ I still have a weapon! ♪

♪ Before I killed you, wife ♪
♪ I kissed you. ♪

♪ Now dying ♪

♪ in the shadow in which I lie ♪

♪ a kiss, ♪

♪ again a kiss. ♪

♪ Another kiss. ♪

Giacomo Puccini's 'Edgar'
coldly received in Turin Teatro Regio too.

I think it would be a good idea
to propose breaking the contract.

Greetings, Franceschi.

I'm sorry.

Pack the bags,
Puccini will need a friend.

- Rather than suspend his salary, I have
faith in that young man. - Yes, sir.

Huge success in Turin
for Puccini's "Manon".

Puccini and the publisher Ricordi leave for
Paris to find a historical drama by subject.

The group carved
in bronze depicts peace

on a chariot pulled by a quadriga

and surmounts the Arc de Triomphe du
Carrousel, masterpiece of the imperial style.

Inspired by the arch of
Septimius Severus in Rome,

it was erected in 1806 to
celebrate Napoleon's victories

and was placed in the centre between the
left and right wing of the Louvre palace.

The grandeur of this
architectural complex is underlined

from the view
of the Tuileries gardens,

designed by the architect Le Notre, who
also supervised the gardens of Versailles.

It is almost impossible to
imagine the enormous work needed

for the construction of
the Palace of Versailles.

Suffice it to say that
only after 23 years...

"Palace de Versailles"
would be a nice title, wouldn't it?


The central body of the
building built by Le Vau is flanked,

according to the wishes of Louis XlV,
with two wings designed by Mansart.

Louis XlV devoted
a large part of his life

to supervise and direct the work
for the construction of Versailles.

You can see him here
checking the layout of the famous gardens.

Around him,
the great artists of the time:

Le Brun, Le Notre, Hardouin, Mansart.

A little aside, on your right,
Jean Racine converses with La Fontaine

and on the left Madame de Maintenon,
recently the King's morganatic bride,

talks with Vauban,
Marshal of France.

And now please follow me
to the gallery of the Revolution.

In 1792, the royal family was
imprisoned in the temple tower.

In this tableau,

Queen Marie Antoinette passes out
at the news of the murder of her friend,

the Princess of Lamballe,
victim of the revolutionaries.

Around her the two children: the Dauphin
and Madame Royale, dramatically posed.

Madame Elizabeth, sister of the King,
and Cléry, valet.

King Louis XVI, to one side, listens
to the noises rising from the street.

Please note the realistic details and...


Off you go, see you at
18:00 at the Archevêché bridge.


No thanks.

Well then?

We leave tomorrow morning.
I've got tickets to Milan.

OK, as you wish.

It had been a wasted journey.

But the fault was mainly mine,
for being fixated on historical drama.

I read that book many years ago.

A French comrade in arms lent it to me.

I often read a passage in the evening.

It was a sad and carefree story
at the same time,

like our youth and the war we waged.

Come on, Giacomo, maybe this is it.

And the book?

- It's 2 francs.
- Oh, yes.

Thank you.

- Good evening.
- Good evening.

- What would you like?
- Cigarettes.

If you keep playing like this,
I'll throw you off the Eiffel Tower!

And who goes up there!
They told me there are no elevators.

These here.

- How much it is?
- 5 sous.

Could you tell me
where I could find the Café... Momus?

Café Momus?!

If you've got a date,
I fear you'll find her rather aged!

It's a long time since
there was any Café Momus.

I'm sorry.

Give the gentleman a calendar,
so he can see we're in 1895.

It's long gone, Murger's
Scenes of Bohemian Life.

Murger... Someone still
remembers him in the neighbourhood.

Of course, he owed everyone money!

Poets, what a disaster!
They eat and drink

and always on credit.

- Thank you, Mr. Felix.
Good evening. - Good evening.

Bohemian Life now that
there's the Eiffel Tower, just think!

Good evening.

Another poet.


If I may, I'll carry one of your packages.

I've not the pleasure of knowing you.

- Actually it was you who spoke to me first.
- Me? - Yeah.

It's possible, but we were in public.
Alone it's different.

Sir, my pleasure.

You see? Happy now?
It's your fault!

If you hadn't stopped me,
I'd have kept my balance...

What a pity!

I can repay you.

But if I haven't paid yet!

- Let's do a rough account.
- Fancy words!

- One can see you're a foreigner.
- As you wish.

Miss, I've the pleasure of saying goodbye.

Now you leave me in trouble?
Very nice! Here, take it.

Let's hurry, at least.

- Don't you want to know who I am?
- No.

But it would be fun guessing.

A doctor.

You say so because you don't like doctors.

Not at all, they're often kind.
I like artists and doctors.

Others can throw themselves at my feet
or into the Seine, I don't care one bit.

I'm not a doctor.
I'm a musician.

- There's not much difference.
You play the violin? - No, piano.

Ah. It must be nice all the same.

I don't play the piano very often,
but I have others play it.

I write music.

- Songs?
- No, operas.

- Performed in theatres?
- Of course.

- I love the theatre! Will you invite me?
- Yes.

- Hey, you're kidding me?
- No.

Thank you.

Give it to me.

And what do you do?
You haven't told me yet.


Let's see, let's see...
Give me your hand.

No, the life line
isn't well drawn,

it's all zigzag and it's short.

- How many needle holes!
- Yes, I do daywork.

Before I was a model,
but now I've stopped.

- But why?
- It's too cold in the attics.

Heavens, my friends will be worried.

- Where are they?
- At my place!

We're taking advantage
of the owner's absence.

But it's difficult
to explain, come on!

Where have you put it, light of my life,
the luxurious dinner for our porters?

- I lost everything in the street.
- I'm sorry, it's my fault.

No, it's my fault.
Well, both of us.

And now the presentations.
My friends: Marcello, painter,

and Roberto, sculptor.
- At the moment, porter.

I told you I hate the
owners because my...

- He wants to seize her furniture.
- You're taking it away?

No, we're bringing it to Sebastiano.

And they're safe there, I paid the rent.

This is Sebastiano, a philosopher
who's writing a book.

Yes, to prove that
every exertion is futile.

- Mister...
- Giacomo Puccini, musician.

- A pleasure.
- Delighted.

So, Sebastiano, would you exert yourself?

- It's contrary to my principles.
- Maria!

- We'd be rather hungry.
- But you didn't bring anything.

Then, at Felix's place.

- You're coming too, eh?
- Yes, we'll join you. - Fine.

Here we are, this is my palace.

How much would you need
to make peace with the owner?

Don't think of it,
furniture's made to be transported.

Just don't get too attached to it.

And then, when I'm sad,
I have the roofs of Paris.

Nice to live on the top floor.
I don't like them walking overhead.

- You have canaries too!
- I told you I like music.

I'll go and make some coffee.

- Weren't you due to have dinner at Maria's?
- Yes.

But for once we decided to eat.

Poor Maria.

When she comes we must keep her happy.

- Yes, she told me she's leaving tomorrow.
- For the cure in Provence.

- Then it's serious!
- So says the doctor.

- Will they give your new opera here?
- No, in Italy.

- Too bad, I won't be there.
- You will, because I invite you.

My impresario here in Paris
will work out the trip.

I can see you in the theatre crowd.

Yes, in the first row of the
gallery. I love the gallery.

Wouldn't you like to be seated
in the stalls, at least for once?

No, I don't want to get into bad habits.

- When will it be?
- Who knows?

I hope it will be next winter.

- Winter's a long way off.
- Maria...


Time passes quickly.

I'll remember.

- Why don't you answer me?
- Be quiet.

What's wrong?
I'm so happy to have met you.

Ah, be quiet!

Did I say something to upset you?

- My friends downstairs are waiting for me.
- I'll come too. - No!

No, no, goodbye.

♪ They call me Mimì. ♪

♪ They call me Mimì ♪

♪ but I don't know. ♪

♪ The swallow comes back ♪
♪ to its nest to twitter. ♪

♪ My bonnet, my bonnet! ♪

♪ Do you remember when ♪
♪ I came in there the first time? ♪

♪ I remember it well. ♪

♪ The light had gone out. ♪

♪ You were so upset. ♪
♪ Then you lost your key. ♪

♪ And you began to grope for it. ♪

♪ I searched and searched. ♪

♪ My dear sir, ♪
♪ you might as well admit it: ♪

♪ you found it and hid it quickly. ♪

♪ I was helping destiny. ♪

♪ It was dark and ♪
♪ you couldn't see me blushing. ♪

♪ "How cold your little hand is, ♪
♪ let me warm it for you." ♪

♪ It was dark and ♪
♪ you took my hand in yours. ♪

What time does the last
train from Paris arrive?

It must have already arrived.
My son will be here soon.

- Then Maria too.
- Let's hope so.

- Why "hope so"? - She's moved
three times already, we've lost track.

No, Tito knows how much it means.

I'm sure he went out
of his way to find her.

♪ - Who's talking? ♪
♪ - It's me. ♪

♪ Musetta. ♪

♪ Oh, how lovely and soft it is! ♪

♪ At last. ♪

♪ No more pale hands. ♪

♪ The warmth will make them beautiful. ♪

♪ - Are you giving this to me? ♪
♪ - Yes he did. ♪

♪ You spendthrift. ♪

♪ Thanks, but it's dear. ♪

♪ You're crying? ♪
♪ I'm better. ♪

♪ Why are you crying like that? ♪

♪ Here, my love always with you! ♪

♪ My hands... in the warmth ♪

♪ and... to sleep. ♪

♪ - What did the doctor say? ♪
♪ - He'll come. ♪

♪ Blessed Mother, ♪

♪ be merciful to this poor girl ♪
♪ so that she won't have to die. ♪

♪ - We need a shade here ♪
- Here's Tito.

♪ because the candle is flickering. ♪
♪ Like that. ♪

♪ Let her get well. Holy Mother, ♪
♪ I know I'm unworthy of forgiveness, ♪

♪ but instead Mimì is ♪
♪ an angel from heaven. ♪

Hello. And Maria?

- Good evening, Tito.
- Hi Dad.

And Maria, didn't you bring her?

Marcello, she is dead.

Last month.

♪ Musetta, here. ♪

♪ - How is she? ♪
♪ - Do you see? She's resting. ♪

♪ What does that going back and forth mean? ♪
♪ Why are you looking at me like that? ♪

♪ Courage! ♪

♪ Mimi... ♪

♪ Mimi... ♪

It takes a strong heart
to live with musicians.

One ends up sharing their own joys
and their own sorrows.

It is a wonderful life.

And I, son, am beginning
to feel rather weary.

No, dad.

Good morning, Sig. Ricordi.

- Who is it?
- A young man waiting for you.

Sig. Ricordi, there are
important documents to sign.

See my son.

You're welcome, lad,
whoever you are,

a genius or a dreamer,
it's all the same.

Praise God that these rooms are
always full of you young people

and that your music fills the air
and there's always a ferment of ideas.

Only this sweet hubbub will tell me
that I've not finished in the red.

Because what has been
no longer matters.

What always and only counts is
what we'll be able to do tomorrow.

Subtitles: corvusalbus