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La Boheme

20 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Oct. 12 1999)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • ASIN: B00001IVPD
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #68,296 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Disc: 1
1. La bohème, opera: Quadro Primo: Questo Mar Rosso Mi Ammollisce E Assidera
2. La bohème, opera: Quadro Primo: Pensier Profondo!
3. La bohème, opera: Quadro Primo: Legna! - Sigari! - Bordò
4. La bohème, opera: Quadro Primo: Si Può?
5. La bohème, opera: Quadro Primo: Lo Resto Per Terminar L'articolo Di Fondo
6. La bohÃ, opera: Quadro Primo: Chi È Là?1 - Scusi
7. La bohÃ, opera: Quadro Primo: Si Sente Meglio?
8. La bohÃ, opera: Quadro Primo: Che Gelida Manina
9. La bohÃ, opera: Quadro Primo: Si. Mi Chiamano Mimi
10. La bohème, opera: Quadro Primo: O Soave Fanciulla
See all 16 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. La bohème, opera: Quadro Terzo: Ohè, Là, Le Guardie! Aprite!
2. La bohème, opera: Quadro Terzo: Sa Dirmi, Scusi, Qual' È L'osteria
3. La bohème, opera: Quadro Terzo: Mimi! - Speravo Di Trovarvi Qui
4. La bohème, opera: Quadro Terzo: Marcello. Finalmente!
5. La bohème, opera: Quadro Terzo: Mimi È Una civetta
6. La bohème, opera: Quadro Terzo: Mimì È Tanto Malata
7. La bohème, opera: Quadro Terzo: Donde Lieta Uscì Al Tuo Grido D'amore
8. La bohème, opera: Quadro Terzo: Dunque È Proprio Finita!
9. La bohème, opera: Quadro Quarto: In Un Coupé?
10. La bohème, opera: Quadro Quarto: O Mimì, Tu Più Non Torni
See all 14 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Get ready to hear Puccini's star-crossed bohemians as you've never heard them before. To be sure, not only is La Bohème probably the most widely performed opera, but it's one of the most frequently recorded, from the superb account under Thomas Beecham to Karajan's famous Decca version (still a best seller after nearly 30 years). And it's precisely because of the opera's popularity that clichés and overromanticized distortions have settled around performance practice. Riccardo Chailly's goal in making yet another Bohème was to clear these away, using a new critical edition of the score and respecting Puccini's own stated views on how the music should sound, how the drama should unfold. The result is a profoundly moving work of restoration that deserves to join the ranks of its formidable predecessors.

To begin with, this Bohème features a young cast--all in their 30s--of some of today's most characterful singers who together convey the necessary vital sense of ensemble. Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna (the couple first met performing the opera at Covent Garden) bring overwhelming chemistry to Mimì and Rodolfo. For once, we hear the arias of their famous encounter in Act I not as set pieces but as part of a larger momentum in which both are swept up. Alagna, with a thrillingly full sound to his top range, portrays a many-faceted Rodolfo, from dreamy poet and ardent lover to the man broken by loss, while Gheorghiu's radiantly sympathetic Mimì is a study in the use of subtle vocal coloring to dramatic effect. Elisabetta Scano sings an unusually light-voiced Musetta, as transparent as a boy soprano--a fascinating contrast to Simon Keenlyside's robust and charismatic Marcello.

Chailly's urgent, unsentimental approach to the score is, quite simply, a revelation, and the story moves forward briskly. His insight into tempo relation between the "big" numbers and transitional sections highlights Puccini's effect of comic high spirits mingling with intense pathos. Whether it's the aching solo cello in "Mi chiamano Mimì" or the impeccable diminuendo of the final tragic bars, Chailly's well-known mastery of detail foregrounds a lucid variety of colors and dynamics from La Scala's orchestra--its first recording of the opera in more than 30 years--that are often neglected in the music. The result is categorically a Bohème for our time. --Thomas May

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Audio CD
If you've not yet heard this new critical edition of perhaps the world's most beloved opera, purchase it now! This is the "new critical edition" of one of Puccini's finest moments!
Firstly, the sonics of the recording, the orchestra, and the casting (with the exception of Scano, whom is a terrible choice for the fussy, fickle Musetta) is outstanding. Together with the new score, expert conducting, and upbeat tempi (FINALLY!!!), I listened enthralled for the entire length of the opera. Each character is so incredibly believeable, and by the end of Act 4, you'll feel the desolation of their loss. I took a new interest to the often neglected Act 3 since this cast put their hearts into it. I don't care what anyone says, Pavarotti cannot act or put emotion into his Boheme to save his life!!!
The orchestra is perfect in Act 2, which is unusual to hear even in studio recordings because of the difficulty of this act's orchestration and perpetual motion.
My only qualm is with the casting of Elisabetta Scano. I cringe when I hear Musetta's "Quando me'n vo'" as she is used to singing Mozart, not dramatic, flashy, brash Puccini roles. Other than that, this CD is perfect!
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By A Customer on Jan. 10 2004
Format: Audio CD
Karajan's was a classic Boheme. This is a great set. But let me tell you an "open" secret. There are even better Boheme's out there.
Yes, Pavarotti can hit all those high notes. Yes, Alagna is sweet of tone. But somehow, he can't match Domingo's intelligence of portrayal. And Freni simply cannot match Caballe's exquisite piannisimi. Neither can Gheorghiu. Caballe is, well, Caballe. You can't replace Caballe with Freni or Gheorghiu. It just doesn't work. Freni & Gheorghiu work well in theatre because she is beautiful. But when it comes to the voice, CABALLE is the ultimate Mimi.
And Karajan's conducting is simply too "beautiful". Where is the drama??? This is typical smooth and lots of legato Karajan without much else in it. Yes, it is beautiful but devoid of "verismo". Chailly is too inexperienced.
I guess this forum must be flooded with Pavarotti fans & Alagna. Fact is I owned the Karajan set for a long time slightly dissatisfied. I was told that that is the best. But it goes to show how influential critics can be. Whatever they say, the public just swallow - lock, stock and barrel. Then I bought the Chailly. But it still didn't work.
If you want to hear a REAL Boheme, get the Solti. After waiting a long time, I decided to explore the Solti set, and now I finally understand what Boheme is all about.
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By A Customer on Dec 5 2003
Format: Audio CD
this is the most passionate boheme. alagna and gheorghiu simply sizzle, especially in act 1. alagna is a fine rodolfo but it's gheorghiu who really shines. her duet with marcello in act 3 is the best that i've heard. her voice is beautiful, especially in the higher registers where many sopranos become a little unsteady and shrill. in the lower registers, though, her voice is a little too 'thick' for mimi, who's supposed to be a frail, slight girl. it works against her in the first act. freni still sings the best 'mi chiaomano mimi' imho.
this set is supposed to be based on a critical edition of boheme, but unless you compare it with another i don't think you'll notice. the tempo is a little faster. the casting of scano is my only big criticism of this boheme. her voice is too light to sing musetta. listen to ruth ann swenson on the paponna set to see how the role should be sung.
a good boheme. i still think beecham's is the best boheme, but chailly's is worth a listen, if only to hear gheorghiu sing act 3.
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Format: Audio CD
This is one of the best Boheme Recordings in recent years. Gheorghiu's Mimi is second to none in my opinion. Alagna's Radolfo is captivating and full of charm. The first thing that struck me about this recording was the passion with wich Gheorghiu and Alagna delivered their performances. Simply Fantastic.
Special praise must also go to Riccardo Chailly for directing this boheme at a very agreable pace. Too often Boheme is directed at such a slow pace as to detract from the beauty of Puccini's music. That is certainly not the case here.
Now for the down side. The reason I can only give this recording four stars is the second couple in this opera. Elisabetta Scano has a beautiful voice however it is too soft and light for the firey Musetta. She would make a very credible Mimi if given the chance but she is much too soft for Musetta.
Simon Keenlyside's Marcello is not bad its just bland. His voice is in fine form but he lacks the passion delivered by Gheorghiu and Alagna.
In conclusion if you are a fan of the Gheorghiu-Alagna team or if you love Boheme and wish to hear it sung with a passion and pace rarely seen before, this is a must for your collection
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Format: Audio CD
It's always interesting, to me, to read others' reviews of "La Boheme." As the most popular opera in history, any new or different recording is always guaranteed to get a rise out of people, and time and again any newer version gets automatically compared to one of the four "golden" sets of the past. Top of everyone's list, it seems, is the de los Angeles-Bjorling-Beecham set, followed by the Freni-Pavarotti-Karajan, Albanese-Peerce-Toscanini, and (for those of us who can abide old-time sound) the Albanese-Gigli-Berretoni recording.
Every single one of these recordings has merits, yet every one also has serious flaws. The Gigli set is the liveliest and most charming performance on record, but it is musically inaccurate throughout--largely due to Gigli, for whom "Boheme" was more of a personal comedy act than an opera whose music should be respected. Yet Tatiana Menotti is by far the best Musetta on records, having a full and lively (if somewhat overbrilliant) voice. The Toscanini set has the best conducting of any Boheme, and Albanese in much better form, but it suffers from a Rodolfo (Peerce) with absolutely no charm or romance in him, and a pallid Musetta (Ann McKnight) who makes some serious musical mistakes that should have been corrected. The Beecham set suffers from the really terrible singing of Lucine Amara as Musetta and a "hothouse" Mimi and Rodolfo who, for all their vocal luster, never convince you that they are passionate young lovers. And the Karajan set has too-slow tempos, a really nasty-sounding kids' chorus, and the blandest Musetta ever in Elisabeth Harwood.
What's funny is that each of these "classic" Bohemes were considered duds in their day. The Gigli set was always punished for its musical inaccuracies.
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