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Puccini: La Bohème Box set

4.8 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 36.07 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

  • Performer: Mirella Freni, Luciano Pavarotti, Elizabeth Harwood, Rolando Panerai, Nicolai Ghiaurov, et al.
  • Orchestra: Berliner Philharmoniker
  • Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
  • Composer: Giacomo Puccini
  • Audio CD (Aug. 28 1987)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B0000041TD
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #13,171 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Disc: 1
1. La Boheme: Act One - Questo mar rosso
2. La Boheme: Act One - Pensier profundo!
3. La Boheme: Act One - Legna!
4. La Boheme: Act One - Si può?
5. La Boheme: Act One - Lo resto
6. La Boheme: Act One - Chi è la?
7. La Boheme: Act One - Si sente meglio?
8. La Boheme: Act One - Che gelida manina
9. La Boheme: Act One - Sì. Mi chiamano Mimì
10. La Boheme: Act One - O soave fanciulla
See all 16 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. La Boheme: Act Three - Ohè là, le guardie! Aprite!
2. La Boheme: Act Three - Sa dirmi, scusi, qual'è l'osteria
3. La Boheme: Act Three - Mimì !
4. La Boheme: Act Three - Marcello. Finalmente!
5. La Boheme: Act Three - Mimì è una civetta
6. La Boheme: Act Three - Mimì è tanto malata!
7. La Boheme: Act Three - Donde lieta uscì al tuo grido
8. La Boheme: Act Three - Dunque è proprio finita!
9. La Boheme: Act Four - In un coupé?
10. La Boheme: Act Four - O Mimì , tu più non torni
See all 15 tracks on this disc

Product Description


From the exquisite phrasing of the opening orchestra, this recording establishes itself as the standard by which all others should be measured. Herbert von Karajan's orchestra is no less than perfect, as much a virtuostic performer as the singers, evoking each moment's unique mood. Can there be any doubt that Luciano Pavarotti and Mirella Freni were born to sing Puccini? Their sweet, creamy voices splendidly blend, creating a complete aural portrait of the bohemians' souls. Elizabeth Harwood is a wonderfully high-strung Musetta, with the vocal talent to support her many moods. The greatest recording ever of the world's most beloved opera. --Barbara Eisner Bayer

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I love Pavarotti's voice and for me Freni is a lovely Mimi, but I think the Serafin recording with Tebaldi and Bergonzi is better. Personally I find Karajan completely overblown whenever he conducts Italian opera, listen for example to the Butterfly with Pav and Freni which is totally over the top. Serafin conducts a much more "Italianate" opera (with a clear beat!) without pushing things to exageerration, which is all too easy with Puccini-kitch. His tempi are too broad and deliberate. Listen for example to Che gelida manina in Act 1- where Pav is completely out of time before going up for his high C (other people have written about this aria without noticing that Pav is out of time throughout this passage). But who can blame him when Karajan is slowing and speeding things up? Mind you the "money shot" - i.e. the top C- is magical and unique in sound. Tebaldi on the other recording is not as sweet as Freni but more gutsy. Bergonzi has none of the Pav tone but is much more musical in his singing. The Berlin Phil are, as usual, awesome. So, my verdict is 4 stars: great sound, lovely voices, but all a bit stagey and contrived: I guess it is a stylistic point about the Italian school of conducting and playing versus the German approach, but what happened to the Karajan of the 50s with that fantastic Lucia??.
(PS If you want to hear real characterisation of Mimi try the Callas. The voice is ugly comparared to Tebaldi or Freni but the singing is much superior.)
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Format: Audio CD
I understand that this opera may be considered to be something of an 'old chestnut' by some, but I am a newcomer, pretty much, to classical music and I like such things anyway, old chestnuts or not. The minute this set was delivered I played it simply incessantly and thought the world of it. This is still true sometime later. Because I really know nothing about classical music (and am only able to learn what I can about it and enjoy it, really, thanks to my CD player, which continues to work well, plus wherever I get my information, especially as I have so very little money), I will not try to say much more about La Bohème, except that I continue to play it because it's beautiful, and, if you buy it, you will find it to be also. I highly recommend it, therefore.
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By A Customer on Jan. 10 2004
Format: Audio CD
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.
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Format: Audio CD
A few years ago, opera aficionados on a panel during a Metropolitan Opera broadcast were asked which opera was their first love. Each panelist said La Boheme, and each could remember a particular cast that made the opera magical. One panelist said "I think we all remember our first Boheme." I do not recall the cast, but I do remember the first time I heard this opera. I was a senior in high school and I purchased a budget recording of the work. The fact that the quality was sub par did not matter, because I did not know the difference anyway. I had to listen with headphones since my siblings did not appreciate opera the way I did. At the beginning when Marcello sings about his masterpiece to be, a painting of the Red Sea and Rodolfo spoke about his writing, I knew they were both geniuses in the making. Even though I had yet to fall in love, I knew that Rodolfo meant every word he sang when he "O Soave Fanciulla" to Mimi, he meant every word. I understood the struggles between both parts of lovers in Act III even though I had never struggled to keep a rocky relationship alive. When Musetta prayed before Mimi's death, I believed the sincerity of her intentions. And I shared Rodolfo's grief when Mimi breathed her last. After the recording was finished, I recall feeling so moved I could not speak. I can still recall these feelings when I hear the opera performed, or listen to a recording, and Karajan's version of this magnificent work can do it to me all the time.
What can anyone say about this recording that has not already been said? Luciano Pavarotti, Mirella Freni, and Nicolai Ghiaurov were all in their prime at the time this recording was made, and it captures the magic that each vocalist offers.
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