This is a classic Boheme. But let me tell you an "open" secret. There are even better Boheme's out there.
Yes, Pavarotti can hit all those high notes. But somehow, he can't match Domingo's intelligence of portrayal. And Freni simply cannot match Caballe's exquisite piannisimi. Caballe is, well, Caballe. You can't replace Caballe with Freni. It just doesn't work. Freni works 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".
I guess this forum must be flooded with Pavarotti fans. Fact is I owned this set for a long time slightly dissatisfied. I was told that this is the best. But it goes to show how influential critics can be. Whatever they say, the public just swallow - lock, stock and barrel.
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.