- La bohème, opera
Three years after recording Puccini's beloved La Bohème for EMI, France's great tenor hope Roberto Alagna stars as Rodolfo in another version for Decca. Here Alagna sings opposite his wife, Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu, and their musical and dramatic chemistry is unique. Mr. and Mrs. Tom Cruise should only make such a convincing couple. In the famous First Act aria, "Che gelida manina," he actually tells Mimi something, instead of delivering a tenor bonbon. Always a gifted singing actress, Gheorghiu offers a startlingly gothic Mimi who seems doomed from her first entrance. Baritone Simon Keenlyside is extraordinarily mellifluous as Marcello, Rodolfo's sidekick, following in the tradition of stellar British opera singers like Sir Thomas Allen. Conductor Riccardo Chailly opts for fleet tempos, which keep the La Scala Orchestra and Chorus on their toes. While not matching the exquisite refinement that Antonio Pappano achieved with the Philharmonia Orchestra in Alagna's previous Bohème, this is still an endearingly youthful and brilliantly recorded version of Puccini's irresistable love story.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Finally! A set to rival the brilliant recordings of the the 60s and 70s. The cohesion of this cast is truly remarkable and is the best ensemble assembled in more than a decade. Alagna is in tremendous voice, and brings such drama to the role of Rodolfo. His clear resonant tone is suited perfectly to Puccini's beautiful phrasing. Keenlyside offers a jealous yet tender Marcello and the chemistry between he and Ms. Scano (who has the perfect tone for Musetta, light and coquettish) is palpable. Their scene with the "shoe incident" where Marcello takes up one of the main themes of the opera is truly moving. Ildebrando d'Arcangelo enhances the role of Colline with his rich bass-baritone. His small aria sung to his coat very late in the opera is very nice and it is good to her him in a lighter role and genuinely having fun with the part. The star of the show is no doubt Angela Gheorghiu. She is quite possibly the best soprano in the world at this point in her career. Her chemistry with Alagna is amazing (they are husband and wife, after all). The final scene in the opera moves me to tears every time I listen to it. Finally we have singers who are not afraid to stop singing and act. Rodolfo's spoken lines and Marcello's "corragio!" are beyond description. Pick this one up! Forget the Baz Luhrman version, this is the Boheme to own.