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Puccini: La Bohème
     

Puccini: La Bohème

5.0 1
by Luciano Pavarotti, Mirella Freni
 
Before he produced melodramatic works like Tosca and Turandot, Puccini was a verismo opera composer, focusing on the travails and passions of ordinary people. The consumptive Mimi may not seem particularly real: She's become as iconic a figure of the repertory as the slave girl Aïda or the Gypsy Carmen. But in fact, Mimi, Rodolfo, and the

Overview

Before he produced melodramatic works like Tosca and Turandot, Puccini was a verismo opera composer, focusing on the travails and passions of ordinary people. The consumptive Mimi may not seem particularly real: She's become as iconic a figure of the repertory as the slave girl Aïda or the Gypsy Carmen. But in fact, Mimi, Rodolfo, and the rest of the bohemians were immediately accepted into the operatic pantheon, because their impoverished but noble existences are so accessible. In this recording, Herbert von Karajan and his Berliners beautifully handle this most Italianate of Italian operas, and the doomed lovebirds are spectacularly sung by Mirella Freni and Luciano Pavarotti. Recorded in 1973, this is a reminder of how Pavarotti sounded in his prime, and it's truly unbelievable; "Che gelida manina" induces shivers. And Freni (who still sounds pretty great some three decades later) is every bit his equal. Growing up together in Modena, Italy, apparently prepared the duo to become expert collaborators. La Bohème is one of the most popular of all operas, and this is among the best of its many recordings.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
There is no lack of stellar, gripping versions of "La bohème" on disc, and by most reckonings, this one stands toward the front of the pack. Having a cast of superstars is no guarantee that an opera recording is going to have the chemistry to knock you off your feet, but the performers here live up to the expectations that their fame raises. Luciano Pavarotti is an ardent Rodolfo; his youthful impetuosity is completely convincing, and he sings with the passionate but unforced creaminess that characterized his performances at the height of his career. Mirella Freni is also vocally in top form. Her Mimi is deeply felt and her voice is sweet, pure, and soaringly lyrical. Rolando Panerai was into middle age when he made this recording, but he is persuasively youthful and he sings with warmth and vigor as Marcello. Elizabeth Harwood is more effective in Musetta's serious moments than in her fiery ones, but she has a very lovely floating top. The smaller roles are exceptionally well taken; it's real luxury casting to have an artist of Nicolai Ghiaurov's caliber as Colline, and Michel Sénéchal is marvelously funny as Benoit and Alcindoro. The Chorus of the Deutschen Oper, Berlin, sings with a great sense of character, and the Berlin Philharmonic plays as if this quintessentially Italianate music was in its blood. Herbert von Karajan leads an extraordinarily nuanced and expressive reading of the score. Felicitous details of orchestration that are frequently lost are clearly audible here, often to revelatory effect. Decca's sound is exemplary in its clarity and depth. Its engineers are scrupulous in their stereo separation; the stage movement is so precisely calibrated that it's easy to tell the spatial relationship between characters. This altogether exceptional version has much to recommend it to fans of the opera, and listeners coming to it for the first time could hardly find a more compelling introduction.
Gramophone - Alan Blyth
Pavarotti's Rodolfo, in Karajan's reading for Decca, is perhaps the best thing he has ever done.... This recording is a reminder that Pavarotti is an artist of intelligence and delicacy as well as splendour of voice. His Mimi, Freni, sings most beautifully and sensitively.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/25/1990
Label:
Decca
UPC:
0028942104921
catalogNumber:
421049

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. La bohème, opera

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Puccini: La Bohème 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago