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Puccini: La Bohème

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Performer: Katia Ricciarelli, José Carreras, Ashley Putnam, Ingvar Wixell
  • Orchestra: Covent Garden Royal Opera House Chorus, Covent Garden Royal Opera House Orchestra
  • Conductor: Sir Colin Davis
  • Composer: Giacomo Puccini
  • Audio CD (5 July 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Philips
  • ASIN: B000004191
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 72,597 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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Disc 2
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Product Description

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I honestly can't think of a better recording of La Bohême. In my opinion the whole cast is doing a superb job here. Carreras in his early thirties (this recording is from -79) is the ultimate Rodolfo, it's almost like the role was created for him personally. His voice is like velvet on your senses and to me he is irresistible. He sings passionate and like always he is able to perfectly communicate all the different moods of his character to the listener in a way that makes your spine tingle.... No one surpasses Carreras when it comes to expressing honest and heartfelt emotion.
Ricciarellis Mimi is equally beautiful. Ricciarelli possessed one of the loveliest voices in the 70s and some of the 80s.I especially like her for not "screaming her head off" like many other sopranos. It's a real treat to hear her sing - so soft and "floating", it feels like the music could go on forever....And she's a perfect fit for Carreras. You can't help but falling in love with Rodolfo and Mimi.
Ashley Putnams Musetta is very convincing. The three other Bohêmians; Marcello, Schaunard and Colline are beautifully portrayed by Ingvar Wixell, Hakan Hagegard and Robert Lloyd. It sounds like they really enjoyed themselves when recording this opera. And they all manage to sound equally crushed at the end when it's evident that Mimi is dying.
Act one when Mimi and Rodolfo meets is like reliving the time when you first fell in love and their break-up in act three makes you devastated. And by the end of act four when Mimi dies and the crushed Rodolfo is crying "Mimi... Mimi....." you're really sobbing. (How someone can manage to put so much feeling into just one word/name is a mystery to me.) So this opera should definitely be sold with lots of tissues to go with it....
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Format: Audio CD
Make no mistake, this is a fine Boheme; decently sung, decently conducted and with decent sonics. However, La Boheme has been lucky on record and this particular recording does fall slightly short of the best of them for me, in particular the classic Karajan, Beecham and Serafin sets.

For whilst Katia Ricciarelli and José Carreras do make an affecting pair of lovers, there's no getting away from the fact that Mirella Freni and Luciano Pavarotti from a couple of years earlier on the Karajan set are even more involving, as well as more vocally pleasing - Ricciarelli's tone always had a tendency to go sour when under pressure, which it does occasionally here and Carreras, whilst a fine Rodolfo in his time, always sounds "small scale" here when compared to Pavarotti, as well as Bjorling and Bergonzi. One point to note is Carreras decision to sing his final note offstage at the end of Act I as written in the score, rather than as an octave higher as with tradition - Domingo does the same on the Solti set with Caballé, likewise Tucker on the underrated Leinsdorf set with Anna Moffo, both RCA. This is considerably more poetical than when the tenor tries to match the soprano by taking the top note (always a bit too much of a good thing in my books), although do seek out the very rare EMI German set with Lucia Popp and Francisco Araiza to hear how it can be done beautifully (a very fine recording all round too, in spite of being sung in German!)

Secondary roles on this Davis set are decently taken with Ingvar Wixell as Marcello, Hakan Hagegard as Schaunard and Robert Lloyd as Colline.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a very lovely recording of La Boheme. The sound quality is good, both vocally and musically. I'm very pleased with this CD.
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