Welcome! Log in or Register

Puccini: La Bohème - Giacomo Puccini

  • image
£10.69 Best Offer by: base.com See more offers
1 Review

Artist: Giacomo Puccini, Bertrand de Billy, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Rolando Villazón / Box set / Audio CD released 2008-05-12 at Universal Classics

  • Sort by:

    * Prices may differ from that shown

    More Offers
  • Write a review >
    How do you rate the product overall? Rate it out of five by clicking on one of the hearts.
    What are the advantages and disadvantages? Use up to 10 bullet points.
    Write your reviews in your own words. 250 to 500 words
    Number of words:
    Write a concise and readable conclusion. The conclusion is also the title of the review.
    Number of words:
    Write your email adress here Write your email adress

    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    1 Review
    Sort by:
    • More +
      09.09.2008 07:52
      Very helpful
      (Rating)
      9 Comments

      Advantages

      Disadvantages

      The newest recording of Puccini's La Boheme

      Puccini's most popular opera, La Bohème is based on a novel by Henri Murger. The opera takes place in 1860 bohemian Paris, where starving artists are trying to make their name in the world. The poet Rodolfo meets seamstress Mimi and they fall in love and despite hunger and cold, they enjoy a whirlwind romance, surrounded by their friends. But fate is against them, as Mimi is dying, and things cannot end well. Some of you may recognize this story from the musical "Rent" and you'd be right in linking the two, since the musical is basically an updating of this old story. But for those of you who prefer the original, I'm pleased to tell you that the most recent recording is probably the best available to date.

      Here we have the young Mexican tenor, Rolando Villazón, playing Rodolfo, who we can see from the cover actually looks the part. And so does the lovely Russian soprano Anna Netrebko who plays opposite him as Mimi. These two have been called opera's newest 'dream team', and while they aren't romantically connected in real life, on stage they have as much chemistry as Bogart and Bacall. And that chemistry translates beautifully into their voices as well.

      In this particular production, Villazón's tenor voice just soars through the score like a hot knife through butter. His lower register comes out as clear and neat as his higher notes both in piano and forte modes. He sounds young and energetic as the part requires, and gives an effortless performance. His vocal personality is slightly reminiscent of a young Domingo in its clarity and depth, but with a maturity that Domingo only achieved later in his career. While some critics were unhappy that he doesn't hit the high C in 'Che Gelida Manina' (which means "your tiny hand is frozen"), people should remember that going that high was an improvisation on the part of some tenors, and isn't in Puccini's original score. I'm reminded that once the very bulky Pavarotti sang this particular aria to an equally enormous soprano and their sizes were so opposite the lyrics that they were booed off. This couldn't happen with Villazón, as he is small, slim and handsome enough to convince any audience that he's truly Rodolfo.

      Anna Netrebko also looks the part of Mimi, being even smaller in stature than Villazón, but no less powerful of voice. I should state that her soprano tones are closer to that of a Mezzo's, meaning it isn't quite as light and airy as I would have liked in a Mimi. While she doesn't sound muddy in the lower ranges, her mid and higher sounds have a slightly gruff quality to them that goes slightly against the grain of a sweet and innocent young girl that Mimi is supposed to be. On the other hand, in the later acts when Mimi is really ill, this weight of voice works in her favour, and even with the depth, her quieter passages sound scarily like someone coming close to death. Her interpretation here combined with Villazón's makes for an electric combination that's hard to find equal to, even in the older recordings.

      The supporting cast here also doesn't let this production down, and the two who stand out are American mezzo-soprano Nicole Cabell who sings Musetta and Israeli baritone Boaz Daniel in the part of Marcello. Now, I'm not a big fan of lyric soprano voices as they often tend to be very thin or weak. Thankfully, Cabell brings a lovely fullness to this performance without sounding heavy that has been described as both "sparkling" and "sassy" and I couldn't agree more. With Boaz, it is lovely to see Israeli singer make headway internationally, and having seen him on stage at home, I always knew his rich baritone would take him far, and his voice is as handsome as he is physically. This recording proves me right and he pulls off this part with such sensitivity it is hard not to get a lump in your throat when you hear his duet with Mimi.

      What really gets me about this recording is that it is from a live performance. That means we can expect to hear certain flaws - perhaps a bad note from the orchestra or someone singing a tiny bit off key, or maybe the balance between orchestra and singers might be a bit off. Thankfully, the technical aspects of this recording were carefully taken care of and even the applause has been diminished to keep it from distracting the listening experience. And while I'm mostly unfamiliar with the conductor Bertrand de Billy, I found his pace and control in this production to be spot on. Even the choruses sound good, although the children's chorus does get a touch lost in a couple of spots. In short, this is a well rounded production that is musically one of Puccini's finest works, if not his best, and has been executed as close to perfection as is humanly possible for a live recording. I'll give this a full five stars and highly recommend it to any La Bohème lovers out there.

      Thanks for reading!

      Davida Chazan (c) August 2008

      ~~~~~
      Technical Stuff:

      You can find out more about this opera from Wikipedia's page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_boh%C3%A8me#Selected_recordings

      This CD is available from Amazon.com for $28.99 or new through Amazon.co.uk for £17.99, or through their market place from £13.95. By the way, the American site has a video clip with an interview with Villazón and an excerpt of the performance, which is worth a watch.
      ~~~~~

      Comments

      Login or register to add comments
    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 "Questo Mar Rosso" - Boaz Daniel, Rolando Villazon, Vitalij Kowaljow, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      2 Pensier profondo" - Vitalij Kowaljow, Boaz Daniel, Rolando Villazon, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      3 "Legna!" - Rolando Villazon, Boaz Daniel, Vitalij Kowaljow, Stéphane Degout, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      4 "Si può" - Tiziano Bracci, Boaz Daniel, Stéphane Degout, Vitalij Kowaljow, Rolando Villazon, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      5 "Io resto" - Rolando Villazon, Boaz Daniel, Vitalij Kowaljow, Stéphane Degout, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      6 "Chi è là?" - Rolando Villazon, Anna Netrebko, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      7 "Si sente meglio?" - Rolando Villazon, Anna Netrebko, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      8 "Che gelida manina" - Rolando Villazon, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      9 "Sì. Mi chiamano Mimì" - Anna Netrebko, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      10 "Ehi! Rodolfo!" - Stéphane Degout, Vitalij Kowaljow, Boaz Daniel, Rolando Villazon, Anna Netrebko, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      11 "O soave fanciulla" - Rolando Villazon, Boaz Daniel, Anna Netrebko, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      12 "Arranci, datteri!" - Stéphane Degout, Vitalij Kowaljow, Rolando Villazon, Anna Netrebko, Boaz Daniel, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy, Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Udo Mehrpohl
      13 Chi guardi? - Rolando Villazon, Vitalij Kowaljow, Anna Netrebko, Stéphane Degout, Boaz Daniel, Kevin Connors, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy, Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Udo Mehrpohl, Kinderchor des Stadttheaters am Gärtnerplatz, Verena Sarré
      14 "Viva Parpignol" - Boaz Daniel, Anna Netrebko, Stéphane Degout, Vitalij Kowaljow, Rolando Villazon, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy, Kinderchor des Stadttheaters am Gärtnerplatz, Verena Sarré
      15 Ch'io beva del tossico! - Boaz Daniel, Rolando Villazon, Stéphane Degout, Vitalij Kowaljow, Tiziano Bracci, Nicole Cabell, Anna Netrebko, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy, Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Udo Mehrpohl
      16 "Quando m'en vo" - Nicole Cabell, Boaz Daniel, Tiziano Bracci, Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazon, Stéphane Degout, Vitalij Kowaljow, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      17 "Chi l'ha richiesto?...Caro! - Fuori il danaro!" - Vitalij Kowaljow, Stéphane Degout, Rolando Villazon, Boaz Daniel, Nicole Cabell, Anna Netrebko, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy, Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Kinderchor des Stadttheaters am Gärtnerplatz, Verena Sarré

      Disc #2 Tracklisting
      1 "Ohè, là, le guardie!" - "Aprite!" - Nicole Cabell, Tiziano Bracci, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy, Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Udo Mehrpohl
      2 "Sa dirmi, scusi" - Anna Netrebko, Gerald Haeussler, Tiziano Bracci, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      3 "Mimi!" - "Speravo di trovarvi qui" - Boaz Daniel, Anna Netrebko, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      4 "Marcello. Finalmente!" - Rolando Villazon, Boaz Daniel, Anna Netrebko, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      5 "Mimì è una civetta" - Rolando Villazon, Boaz Daniel, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      6 "Mimì è tanto malata!" - Rolando Villazon, Anna Netrebko, Boaz Daniel, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      7 "Donde lieta uscì" - Anna Netrebko, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      8 "Dunque è propio finita!" - Rolando Villazon, Anna Netrebko, Boaz Daniel, Nicole Cabell, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      9 "In un coupé?" - Boaz Daniel, Rolando Villazon, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      10 O Mimì, tu più non torni - Rolando Villazon, Boaz Daniel, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      11 Che ora sia? - Rolando Villazon, Boaz Daniel, Stéphane Degout, Vitalij Kowaljow, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      12 "Gavotta" - Vitalij Kowaljow, Boaz Daniel, Rolando Villazon, Stéphane Degout, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      13 "C'è Mimì..." - Nicole Cabell, Rolando Villazon, Stéphane Degout, Anna Netrebko, Boaz Daniel, Vitalij Kowaljow, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      14 "Vecchia zimarra, senti" - Vitalij Kowaljow, Stéphane Degout, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      15 "Sono andati" - Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazon, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      16 "Che avvien?" - Stéphane Degout, Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazon, Boaz Daniel, Nicole Cabell, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy
      17 "Che ha detto il medico?" - Rolando Villazon, Boaz Daniel, Nicole Cabell, Stéphane Degout, Vitalij Kowaljow, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bertrand De Billy