Paris, mid 19th century.
It’s Christmas, here too, in the Latin Quarter, where four destitute students lead a meager but carefree life.
They are Rodolfo the writer, Marcello the painter, Schaunard the musician and Colline the philosopher. Together they freeze and starve in a life, in which a warm meal, a heated room and money for rent are considered luxury.
To celebrate Christmas Eve, they decide to go to Café Momus. Everyone leaves, except Rodolfo, who has to finish an article.
When there is a knock at the door, it is the neighbour Mimi, a young seamstress, who asks for fire for her candle.
This is where one of the most famous arias in opera history begins.
When Mimi enters Rodolfo’s apartment, she suffers a weakness attack and loses her key. Rodolfo doesn’t want her to find the key too fast, puts it in his pocket and blows out his candle.
During the search their hands touch and both begin to tell of their lives. First Rodolfo in the aria “Che gelida manina”, then Mimi in the aria “Mi chiamano Mimi” and finally, in a moment of togetherness in love, both start the duet “O soave fanciulla”.
At the end the two lovers follow their friends to Café Momus.