4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Best version for most people,
This review is from: Puccini: La Bohème (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.