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.