I was lucky when I started out listening to opera to buy this "Boheme" even though Beecham's was the only name I recognized back in 1966 -- it was on the cheap EMI imprint Seraphim. When I heard Bjoerling's voice in the first moments, I was hooked, and de los Angeles a little later enchanted me too. It still sounds OK on CD, though the sound is a bit boxy, and it can't really do justice to the Momus scene (for that, see Solti/Domingo/Caballe). Having heard a lot more Bjoerling since, I can say that he wasn't in absolutely his best voice here (see his 1952 "Trovatore") but it's pretty darned good. Merrill, Reardon, and Tozzi are fine rollicking bohemians, though Lucine Amara isn't an ideal Musetta. But the big moments come off well, with De los Angeles's "Donde lieta" being particularly eloquent (though not eclipsing Tebaldi in her account with Bergonzi), and the duet at the end of Act 1 ("O soave fanciulla") is quite marvelous. Beecham conducts very positively, and if the sound is a bit congested and constricted in places, it doesn't seriously impede enjoyment. The sound is my main reason for withholding a fifth star, especially with lots of good sounding Bohemes on the market. My own favorite is the 1959 Serafin/Bergonzi/Tebaldi, but Karajan's isn't bad (the lily a bit over-gilded!), nor is Solti's. I have a sneaking admiration for Freni/Gedda/Schippers too! But you'll find much to enjoy with Bjoerling and de los Angeles.