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Puccini: La Bohème [CD]

Mirella Freni, Herbert von Karajan, Elizabeth Harwood Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
Price: £20.33 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Composer: Giacomo Puccini
  • Audio CD (5 Aug 1987)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B0000041TD
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,415 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Product Description

Amazon.co.uk

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

Product Description

2CD Pavarotti/Harwood/Bp/Karajan

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dismayed by some other reviewers.... 25 April 2011
Format:Audio CD
La Boheme is not one of my favourite operas, but I'm adding my review because I'm dismayed and baffled by some of the mean-spirited reviews on this page.

Just to reiterate: this is one recording that certainly does justify the hype attached to it. Pavarotti and Freni - a pair of singers whose deep communicative bond was forged in childhood - were at the height of their powers when this was made; Karajan - the supreme Italian opera conductor of his time - for once was satisfied just to conduct and not to bother the engineers. The result is one of the finest (if not THE finest) recordings of the analogue era. I even know people who don't like Puccni, yet who own this set because it sounds so gorgeous....

Of course, it's probably not the only Boheme you need to own: the Beecham recording with Bjorling and de los Angeles is arguably at least as good as this musically, though the sound is mono. But if you want a great interpretation in stunning sound, this is the one you should go for. And ignore anyone who tells you otherwise....:)
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85 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most satisfactory modern recording 6 Jun 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Rodolfo was the role of Pavarotti's debut in his home town of Modena, and it was one he kept in his repertoire until the mid-nineties. This recording, from 1972, catches him in his prime, at the age of 37, and the voice is ideally poised between lyric and heroic. Long familiarity with the part, his superlative diction and thrillingly easy high notes, combine to make him the most completely satisfying Rodolfo on record. Bjoerling comes close with Beecham (EMI), but the voice lacks italianate bite. Bergonzi, Gedda and Domingo, though each possessing many virtues, fail to draw you into the world of the young poet as Pavarotti does.
He is equalled in every regard by Freni's exquisite Mimi. This, along with her Butterfly for Karajan (Decca), represents the great Modenese soprano at her best. Her long friendship with the tenor pays huge dividends, and she rivals Callas (EMI) in the huge emotional range she achieves. Listen to the variety of colour she brings to "Donde lieta" and the heart-stopping tenderness she achieves on the word 'bada' - de los Angeles (EMI) attempts something similar with Beecham, but the result is cloying.
Panerai, in his third recording of Marcello, is robust and alert, vividly conveying the painter's dog-like adoration of Harwood's Mussetta. The English soprano, sadly neglected on record, catches the 'tart-with-a-heart' essence of the woman, and combines with the excellent Ghiaurov and Matteo to produce an almost unbearably poignant fourth act.
Karajan avoids any of the exaggeration which often marred his later operatic recordings. He evidently adores the piece, and draws magnificent playing from the BPO. The sound production is of demonstration quality.
None of the more recent recordings is worth serious consideration - this is the Boheme to have on your shelf.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of Puccini's Best 5 Aug 2011
Format:Audio CD
Italian splendour with Puccini's most loved opera paired with Luciano Pavarotti and Mirella Freni at the top of their game. The score is treated in a wonderfully sumptuous fashion by von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic and the voices of Pavarotti and Freni mix in as though they were made for this moment.

As my favourite of Puccini's operas I have ended up with 3 complete versions of Boheme but this is the one that I return to time and again. A superbly romantic set and the sound quality is excellent. Although some of the earlier recordings have their fans too, the overall experience with these other sets can be marred by poor quality transfers, this is not a problem here.

Pour yourself a red wine, 2 if you are with someone else, put this disc on and bask in its warmth and beauty.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best version for most people 17 Feb 2012
By Trev-R TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
There are a huge number of versions of La Boheme on the market making it difficult to select one. This version recorded in 1972 at the Jesus-Christus Kirche in Berlin, with the Berlin Philharmoniker under the direction of Herbert Von Karajan is IMHO the best stereo analogue recording. The engineering is excellent and the listener is not distracted from the beauty of the music and singing.

Both Pavarotti and Freni are at the peak of their careers. Pavarotti sings Rodolfo with power while retaining full control and focus in delivering an outstanding performance. In act 1 Pavarotti sings 'Che gelida manina' with tenderness but the power of his voice allows him to move through the range hitting the top notes with such clarity, without any shrillness or cracking. Freni follows with 'Sì, mi chiamano Mimì' in a voice that has such a youthfulness to it, making her so believable as Mimi. Mirella Freni works so well with Pavarotti, as another reviewer has already mentioned, their professional relationship was very strong and added to the overall experience.

Sound quality is very good, if you like to play your opera very loud then you will find no distortion or discernible hiss.

Is this the best set available? I would say that if you want a modern digital recording you should go for the Villason/Netrebko 2008 recording La Boheme this is nearly as good as the Pavarotti/Freni version. However in my opinion the best version is the Bjorling/de los Angeles recording from 1956 under the baton of Sir Thomas Beecham Puccini: La Bohème The only drawback for some maybe that it is a mono recording.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic
Pavarotti and Freni at their best,( and also the much loved and missed Elizabeth Harwood as Musetta a lovely singer who did not record enough of her repertoire. Read more
Published 10 months ago by A. J. Valentine
4.0 out of 5 stars Not my usual music
I generally find opera not my scene. There are some beautiful pieces from different operas, but the whole seems less attractive to me. Read more
Published 12 months ago by weiver
5.0 out of 5 stars La Boheme par excellence
Can't help but agree with all the other five star comments this is a fantastic version with Pavarotti at his peak. Superb excerpts for in the car as all on one disc. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Aragon
5.0 out of 5 stars simply the best!
Freni, Pavarotti are on top form and no younger singers have even begun to match them, Surprisingly, the Berlin Phil catch the mood of the music wonderfully well.... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Ian Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning recording
Forty years on, this is still a superb recording. Mirella Freni is breathtaking when she sings, 'They call me Mimi' and Pavarotti's youthful interpretation of Rodolfo captures the... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Robert H Sprague
5.0 out of 5 stars top sweeping statement from karajan and his forces
First off, on my stereo at least, there is nothing wrong with the placement of either voices or orchestra in this recording. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Giancarlo Stampalia
3.0 out of 5 stars not as good as I expected
I had high hopes of this recording. After all, Freni, Pavarotti and Karajan - what more could you ask? A lot, actually. Read more
Published on 26 Mar 2011 by Mrs. C. A. Reichel
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Slow
I bought two versions this Christmas the Carreras, Stratos, Levine DVD and this Pavarotti,Freni,Karajan CD. I was amazed at Carreras. He was so handsome and his voice a dream. Read more
Published on 27 Dec 2010 by Gps Rogers
5.0 out of 5 stars La Boheme
An excellent recording of a popular opera. It is especially rewarding to hear the late Luciano Pavarotti recorded when in his superlative prime. Read more
Published on 1 Feb 2010 by Barrie Burke
5.0 out of 5 stars "Pav is Fab & Freni is Bene !!!"
There are so many other La Bohemes to choose from in this world it would be nonsensical to be completely definitive in answering the desert island choice. Read more
Published on 31 Dec 2009 by Mr. M. M. Waller
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