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Puccini: La Bohème


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Product details

  • Audio CD (11 Mar. 2002)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B00005YUBI
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 173,850 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Questo 'Mar Rosso' Mi Ammollisce E Assidera
2. Aguzza L'ingegno
3. Lagna! ... Sigari!
4. Si Puo?...Chi E La? - Fernando Corena
5. Al Quartiere Latin Ci Attende Momus
6. Chi E La? - Jussi Bjorling
7. Oh! Sventata, Sventata! - Jussi Bjorling
8. Che gelide manina! - Jussi Bjorling
9. Si, Mi Chiamano Mimi - Jussi Bjorling
10. Eh! Rodolfo!
See all 17 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Ohe, La, Le Guardie!...Aprite - Lucine Amara
2. Sa Dirmi, Scusi, Qual'e L'osteria - Victoria De Los Angeles
3. Mimi!...Speravo Di Trovarvi Qui
4. Marcello. Finalmente
5. Mimi E Una Civetta
6. Mimi E Tanto Malata!
7. Addio ... D'onde Lieta Usci Al Tuo Grido D'amore - Jussi Bjorling
8. Dunque E Proprio Finita? - Jussi Bjorling
9. Che Facevi? Che Dicevi?
10. In Un Coupe?
See all 19 tracks on this disc

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By lionheart on 7 May 2007
Format: Audio CD
If you don't object to historical recordings with mono sound, then this is absolutely the set to have. Bjorling's sweet timbre seems to perfectly capture the idealistic Rodolfo, more introspective than some swaggering Italian tenors perhaps (Bergonzi, Pavarotti) but more tender. And De Los Angeles is unforgettably moving as Mimi, singing gloriously but characterising with such taste and tact, such discreet charm that she becomes REAL. One wants to hug the speakers and save this poor Mimi. One cares in a way that I never quite do with the robust and healthy Tebaldi or calculating Callas. This is rare and special singing.

The recording was made at the last minute when Beecham found all the singers available and a studio booked - it was a case of "Let's do Boheme" - and it worked. Beecham understood Puccini's ways and - to contradict another review - gives a yes, spacious, but tauctly structured view of the score. It's ebb and flow allows the story to to breath, but all the big moments have plenty of bite. Certainly more than Karajan for example.

I Adore this set and would never want to be without it. It seems to have such truth and love and warmth and life. I feel I really know rthe bohemians from this recording. An absolute classic, showing The Bohemian Life to the full.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 July 2000
Format: Audio CD
This recording was the result of a fortuitous availability of the singers and conductor. It was 'cobbled' together almost 'because they were there' - But the results are superb. The sound (mono) is excellent and very good on todays equipment. Beecham's conducting and pace bring everything to life whilst the quality of the vocal performance is spellbinding. Bjorling was sometimes thought of as perhaps lacking some expression - but not here. His voice on the realisation that Mimi has died sends chills down the spine, whilst the blending of soprano and tenor in the love duet ending Act 1 is tender and passionate. De los Angeles is perfect as Mimi and both Bob Merrill (who was principle baritone at the Met for maany years)and Amara are both in fine form. Chorus and small parts are equally good - parpignol and the boys choir superb in Act 2. I have older (Gigli) and younger (Pavarotti) versions of Boheme - but this is the one I come back to.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Hon Aubrey Wilson on 30 Dec. 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The obituary of Victoria De Los Angeles in the Independent in January 2005 noted that 'It is impossible to imagine a more purely beautiful voice than that of Victoria de los Angeles at the height of her career in the 1950s and early 1960s'. Add the staggering vocal gifts of Jussi Bjoerling - perhaps unequalled by another tenor since WWII, a superb supporting cast and Beecham's talent, and you have the makings of a very special recording indeed - possibly the best La Boheme yet recorded.

I feel privileged to listen to this performance on CD.

My message is simple: don't delay. Buy it. Enjoy it. Weep with it. Smile with it. This is a truly exceptional performance by some of the most gifted people the musical world has seen and heard.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By D. Bennett on 14 Sept. 2004
Format: Audio CD
A very fine set. Bjorling proves really fantastic, Victoria de Los Angeles has never been bettered and the supporting cast is very strong.
Mono sound is clear as a bell. For the finest sung Mimi and Rodolfo this set is the one to have.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bing-Alguin on 19 Aug. 2010
Format: Audio CD
Reviewing a more than fifty year old recording like Sir Thomas Beecham's legendary one of Puccini's La Bohème from 1956 seems to be a presumptuous and superfluous enterprise. It belongs to the EMI series of Great Recordings of the Century. And it certainly is such a treasure that it appears to be somewhat of a sacrilege to touch it with critical remarks. The casting is still extraordinarily superb, a remarkably harmonious ensemble, indeed: Victoria de los Angeles touching and vulnerable, and singing with a great emotional radiance, in a tremendously vivid co-singing with Jussi Björling, that incomparable tenor with his glowing crystalline timbre, and in this case with feelings and singing in perfect interplay; Robert Merrill as a virile and hearty Marcel, Lucine Amara as a cheerful Musetta, Giorgio Tozzi as a overwhelmingly melancholy Colline in his song to his old coat. And last but not least, Sir Thomas Beecham himself, with such an outstanding drive in his conducting as a Puccini opera demands to reveal all its dramatic qualities, the intensiveness of which is more or less unsurpassed in the history of opera. Beecham realized, according to the booklet, the marvels of Puccini's orchestration and his "flowing synthesis of words, music and action, and that highly developed inner visual sense which lies deep in the consciousness of all great theatre composers."
Even though the sound is slightly antiquated, it gives the listener a more than satisfying rendering of the golden voices and of the remarkably fine sonority of the RCA Victor Orchestra. In all, this disc beams forth a wondrous warmth and joy, despite the tragic events, and conveys an elated experience of great musical drama.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 Jan. 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Away with revisionist deviationism, say I. For most of my life Beecham's has been regarded as the Boheme to end all Bohemes, and I maintain resolutely that it still is that, for all the advances in recording techniques since 1956. The digital remastering dates from as recently as 2002, but Beecham used to obtain very good technical quality of sound for his day, and for the usual reason that he demanded it and there was no use in arguing. I also offer the following consideration as regards sound-quality - when it is a matter of large forces, say a symphony orchestra let alone the battalions necessary for grand opera, the nature of the sound that can be offered to us in our sitting-rooms simply cannot resemble other than distantly their real sound in the concert hall or opera house. The effect resides to some extent on power of suggestion over the listener's ear, and although I routinely welcome every extra ounce of sound-quality that I can get, in the last resort once a certain level of quality and realism has been attained anything over and above that is secondary so far as I am concerned.

In fact I thought that this set started very promisingly in the matter of `real presence'. The sound is quite forward and it `socked it to me' quite effectively. However as matters advanced the general impact (in the technical sense) seemed to recede somewhat. I believe that this is due in part to the style of the performance. I never heard a more beautiful or affecting Che gelida manina than I do here, but I have certainly heard many that were more vigorous. I believe, simply, that Beecham and Bjorling have decided to ration the quota of `can belto' in their presentation, and it is let loose principally in duets and ensembles.
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