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La Boheme [DVD] 
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Top Customer Reviews
Apart from anything else an alternative translation makes one more attentive. The old Pinkerton version can be heard complete only on the Chandos 'Opera in English' set. When La Boheme was first performed at Covent Garden in 1892 it was the same translation which was used.
The stage production is excellent and uses what looks like an authentic early 1930s Depression setting, as large scale as any I've seen in the second act. But the main achievement is to make the relationships between the characters so believable and involving.
Alfie Boe is good though his voice is a little thin to be a great Rodolpho, but his singing/acting carries it off. Melody Moore and Hanan Alattar as Mimi and Musetta are absolutely first class.
If I had to choose any opera to introduce someone to opera it would be La Boheme and it would also be this DVD. I would only warn any prospective buyer that the Mimi we have here is not the usual Romantic one but a slightly silly old-fashioned woman (reminding me of a type of older woman still common in the 50s and 60s as survivors of the pre-war years) perhaps 10 years older than Rodopho who is likewise not the usual Romantic poet but more of a slouchy literary 'bloke', probably writing mostly prose.Read more ›
Amanda Holden's translation into English is extremely good. I have never been a fan of Opera that is sung in a language other than what the Composer intended, but when it is done as well as this it has changed my prejudices. Similarly, Ingmar Bergman's Magic Flute which was sung in Swedish is just wonderful.
I really liked the camera work which refrained from unnecessary close-ups. The images are clear without being overly sharp. I find it doesn't add to the performance to see the singers' sweaty pores or facial hair or spray emanating from their mouths.
I notice one reviewer complained about the de-saturation of the image, I believe this was intentional as this gives the picture a simple unadorned 1930's look.
The ENO Orchestra and Chorus were excellent. The principals were perfect in their singing and acting.
American Lyric Soprano, Melody Moore brought a different dimension to Mimi that I had never seen before. A mature woman who is not the young schemer that she is usually portrayed as; but a woman who is genuinely in love and that also understands the fleeting nature and fragility of love. I found her performance heartbreaking, her singing and phrasing were outstanding.
For me, a good performance of La Boheme will always bring a tear to my eyes and when the final bars of this performance were played; my eyes were no longer dry.Read more ›
Alfie Boe is pretty good as Rodolfo, but Roland Wood is a bit too wavery on his long notes as Marcello for my liking. The other two characters of the friends lie in between, quite adequate for the job.
The garrett set is quite appropriately bleak and cold, I quite like it. When Melody Moore arrives the aspect changes, she has a richer voice than most Mimis, and though she is I believe classed as soprano, she sounds more of a Mezzo to me. She really grabs my attention, and gives the act a great lift. When Boe and Moore sing the acts final passionate duet, it is a real showstopper.
The act 2 set is also good, a cafe opens onto the street, and the crowd scene before the main action is rather well done. The highlight of this act should be Musettas waltz song, but Hanan Alattar is brash rather than coquettish, her voice is too shrill for my taste, and she is far too dominating in the ensemble.
Act 3 has an extremely good street set, and a nice touch is the casual comings and goings. Our four lead characters continue in the moulds as previously described, with Moore head and shoulders above the others and Alattar on the shrill side.
Back to the garrett for act 4, now bright with spring sunshine. The four male leads have some fun until the entrance of the two girls. Moore makes a very moving departure, and even Alattar tones it down a bit.
Of the five versions in my library I rate it fourth, as the Villazon film version does not quite gel.
The booklet is a bit sparse with only a couple of sentences synopsis for each act. The cast list is on the sleeve cover, and the inividual arias etc do not have timings or character listings.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
saw the same production in Barcelona a few months back .. excellent to have it now on DVDPublished 2 months ago by peter blackaby
Very different from the traditional productions but what a lovely change without spoiling the story or quality of singing and music.Published 6 months ago by Janet Moyse
I bought this after having seen the 'First Night' on television. I was slightly disappointed as this was clearly not a DVD of the first night. Read morePublished 7 months ago by andy ketley
Whilst this production is set in the 1930's it works well and the english translation is exceptionally good. Read morePublished 9 months ago by John N
Fabulous item, excellent value and very speedy delivery. Very many thanks. John BT.Published 11 months ago by John BT.