The Metropolitan Opera - La Boheme (Puccini )

 
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Product Description

The first recording of Puccini's La Boh¨¨me to be issued on DVD is the best visual treatment of this opera that anyone's ever likely to see. Director Franco Zeffirelli always seems to have television in mind when he directs an opera production, and his orientation toward visual impact and acting skills comes across effectively. Teresa Stratas (Zeffirelli's soprano of choice in one unforgettable production after another) is totally convincing as Mimi, and Jos¨¦ Carreras is nearly as impressive as Rodolfo--most notably in the frequent closeups where acting skills are most crucial. Renata Scotto's Musetta is properly flirtatious, fickle, and verbally violent in Acts?II and III, and warmly sympathetic in the heartbreaking finale. The supporting cast is superbly chosen and directed. There have been slightly better voices in some other Boh¨¨mes (Pavarotti, for example), but the solo singing here is good, the chorus and orchestra are wonderful, and the visual treatment is magnificent. This should be considered a first choice among available DVDs. An interesting alternative is the fresh, innovative Australian Opera production, directed by Baz Luhrmann and updated to the 1950s. --Joe McLellan

Customer Reviews:

  • Breathtaking in everyway
    This production of La Boheme is a masterpiece. The voices blend beautifully, and the sets and costumes are simply amazing. This is a must see for any opera buff! The Met performances shown on PBS's "Great Perfomances" are all wonderful and I wish that I could find more on VHS, but, for now, I will make due with La Boheme!...more info
  • Best overall available
    I have all the Bohemes availabe on VHS and Laser and still come back to this one to show anyone new to opera as it's the best video available. The version spoken of from the UK I have only been able to find on VHS and it is truly excellent. Not seen it on DVD but would buy it the minute it is released. Until then this production and cast can't be beat. Scotto is getting by on her acting ability, not her voice as Musetta. That high note is not unlike a cat getting its tail trod upon. I agree with all the comments about Stratas and enjoyed Carreras' performance very much. James Morris as Colline is a surprise. If you collect opera on video this is a must buy. The production is glorious and the overall atmosphere created is the standard for Boheme....more info
  • Dessert Island DVD
    This is an absolute opera to have...i have the laser disc version and i have been watching it numerous times since I bought it in 1993. At least few times a month and now plan to buy the DVD. Stratas and Carreras and Scotto were in perfect form...Stratas interpretation of Mimi in my opinion is amongst the top Mimi on CD and DVD. Her aria melts my heart everytime and Carreras sensitive Rodolfo....so caring and so extraordinarily sung. I am now speechless, this video is definitely one of the BEST opera on screen....more info
  • Hidden at Amazon: Luciano Pavarotti's 1989 La Boheme on DVD
    I must tell you of another great La Boheme DVD, also available - but hidden, at Amazon.com. The DVD title is: "Boheme - Comp Opera" (a search by: "Boheme", will find it). Maybe not as lavish as this production, but just as wonderful. Performed in 1989 by the San Franciso Opera Company, stars Luciano Pavarotti. I had to wait several weeks for delivery - but well worth it!...more info
  • a beautiful Mimi and Rodolfo
    First of all, how can a tenor in his early thirties can be past his prime? Many opera singers do not have international careers until they are in their thirties. Admittedly Carreras started at a very early age, but one would almost think that he hit his peak at twenty five and then went into a vocal decline! Sorry for the rant, but I am getting a little tired of seeing the phrase "past his prime" being applied to this artist. Having said that, this is the most beautiful and believable La Boheme on video. If I am introducing people to opera, I show them this performance...it never fails to move them and they always want to see and hear more....more info
  • Great performance, so-so presentation
    While I agree with most of what other reviewers say about this DVD, I have to disagree with both Amazon's editorial review on one point - about this being "the best visual treatment of this opera that anyone's ever likely to see." I highly doubt that: Not only is the lighting very dark throughout and the picture not widescreen, one would think that, for a DVD, the producers would film without an audience as has been done for several other opera DVDs in my collection.

    Aside from the so-so presentation, the music is wonderful and the performances are excellent. I just wish the audience wasn't clapping over all my favorite parts....more info

  • Great cinematography
    I remember this production being televised in the mid 1980s and what impressed me was that it was done on a set rather than on a stage. There was no audience, so it was basically a movie of an opera rather than a video of a stage performance. I don't know, if, as in the making of movies, there were multiple takes until the producer (Franco Zeffirelli) and director (James Levine) were satisfied or if it was recorded straight through, as a stage production would be. Regardless, I think the movie style production worked extraordinarily well. Such a production allows for great cinematography, such as closeups of the facial expressions of the singers and switching camera angles, etc.

    Stratas is compelling, her performance both vocal and acting is moving. Her facial expressions indicate that she truly feels the role as a great movie actress would. Obviously, in casting an opera, paramount is the artistic ability of the performer, not the physical characteristcs. Thus, "the fat lady" often sings when if her character were cast in a play or movie, someone younger and more demur would be tapped to play the role. The reason that this movie style production works so well is because Stratas is well cast as Mimi. She is beautiful and her acting is magnificent.

    Renata Scotto, as Musetta does a convincing job. Her voice was always wonderful. In fact, around the time that this production was filmed, I had seen her in Adriana Lecouvrer at the Metropolitan Opera. I know that this is a huge digression but, I must mention that Scotto was quite a prima donna. You should have seen her well practiced curtseys and bows during the curtain call. Anyway, suffice it to say that a cast that includes Scotto as well as Jose Carreras makes this an all star production. As I noted earlier, the suitability of the singer to the role as an actor is crucial in staging an opera in this manner (as opposed to running the camera while it os performed on stage) but, when this type of production works, it works extraordinarily well. To me, this production is a grand slam....more info
  • Superb male cast in this heart wrenching Boheme.....
    I'm relatively new to opera, but still an ardent Carreras-fan who thinks his singing is heavenly and I think he makes a more than convincing Rodolfo here. And his looks at the time is certainly no drawback for him. His acting skills are in my opinion very good; his facial expressions projecting his feelings perfectly. (I prefer a subtle actor instead of someone overacting to compensate for poor voice.)It's heartbreaking watching and listening to him singing in the final scene where Mimi is dying. I can't help but being almost as crushed as him when he realizes that she's actually dead.

    Since I'm not an "educated" opera-listener I can't say it bothered me that he had transposed down "che gelida manina". His singing in act III is outstanding; the break-up between Mimi and Rodolfo is heart wrenching. I can feel Rodolfo's despair because he knows Mimi is dying. One of the things that bothered me somewhat in this Boheme is actually Mimi. Teresa Stratas' voice is not something I would call beautiful, by no means. And it disturbed me that she was rotating her tongue in her mouth whenever singing. But apart from that she's actually a sweet Mimi. In my opinion she's a much better actress than singer. And she certainly lookes ill enough for this part. In act IV the duet (O Mimi, tu piu non torni) between Rodolfo and Marcello is outstanding. The duets between Mimi and Rodolfo are also very moving.

    Renata Scotto was probably the biggest disappointment. I haven't seen her on stage before. To me she seems affected and I think she is just too much; especially in the second act. Her singing is not what I expected. She sounds shrill and squeaky, although I have to admit she sounds better towards the end of the opera.

    Richard Stilwell as Marcello is a gem. His singing as well as his acting is superb and he makes a very amiable painter. He is someone you would like being your friend. The two other Bohemians portrayed by Allan Monk and James Morris are superb. The "coat song" is beautifully sung by James Morris.

    I have watched this film a few times and each time I discover something new. I have to say I love just watching the facial expressions of the singers, especially the four bohemians'. Sometimes you just get a brief glimpse of it, but it's still hilarious. (Like the look on Carreras' face when the land-owner Benoit knocks on the door in the first act.) I'm sure I will discover a lot of other things about this Boheme the next time I watch it, which probably will be very soon. The more I watch, the more addicted to it I get.

    So my overall feeling here must be that this Boheme has a very good male cast, but the same thing can't be said about the sopranos. Where were Katia Ricciarelli and Agnes Baltsa at that time? Imagine them as Mimi and Musetta, respectively. Well, one can always dream......

    Still, I give this Boheme 5 stars. Earned by Jos¨¦ Carreras and James Stilwell, mainly. And I can easily put up with the flaws of this Boheme just to be able to watch and listen to Carreras singing the part of Rodolfo.
    ...more info
  • SUBLIME!
    Being a brand new opera afficionado I could never really understand why Jose Carreras is so loved by the opera public. But now I understand! He is so believable, his singing and acting is done with great emotion and tenderness. Theresa Stratas is excellent as usual, very dramatic and emotional. I just wish she wouldn't have looked so sick already in the first act. Scotto is a brilliant Musetta, a joy to watch.

    The production is unbelievably extravagant. I forgot at times I was watching a staged version rather than a film. Very well done.

    I have seen La Boheme before but it never moved me as deeply as this version. A must buy!...more info

  • Good Met Performance
    As far as performances in large opera houses of La Boheme go this must surely be up there with the best, however, I can't get past the fact that something just doesn't click in this performance for me. All of the singers sing well and act well, Miss Stratas in particular, but there seems to be no real relationships built up during the course of the opera, so that in the final scene the only thing that made me cry was the emotional soaring of Puccini's music, not that Rodolfo had finally lost his beloved Mimi. Now if you can find the Covent Garden performance directed by John Copley with Ileana Cotrubas and Neil Shicoff you get the full deal; the music, the singing and the relationships...and a truly believable and outstandingly sung Marcello in Sir Thomas Allen....more info
  • delightful production
    Just for the record, this is a video recording of the performance of January 16, 1982 at the Met, which features Teresa Stratas as Mimi, Jose Carreras as Rodolfo, Renata Scotto as Musetta, Richard Stilwell as Marcello, James Morris as Colline, Alan Monk as Schaunard, Italo Tajo as Benoit and Alcindoro, and Dale Caldwell as Parpignol. James Levine conducts.

    The performance as a whole is very enjoyable; the two principals look very credible on stage, and their voices blend successfully. Scotto does not overdo the coquettish nature of her role. All 4 Acts are well paced, sung, and presented. The costumes are distinguished, and Franco Zeffirelli attends to minor details in the production - as discussed in the excellent 20 minute interview which follows the opera - that often get overlooked. The sound quality for this medium is excellent. The total playing time is 141 minutes. At medium price, less than many CD recordings, this can be recommended with enthusiasm....more info

  • What a disgrace!
    Being a Opera fanatic, tenor fanatic, Puccini fanatic, Verdi fanatic, etc. etc. , I find this production dreadful. Why DID the Met chose THIS??

    Jose Carreras is not as good as he is now. His voice is scratchy, and rather squeaky during the start.

    Nessun Dorma and Che Geldida Mania are my favorite Puccini arias. Jose Carreras gave the worst performance of that aria I have ever heard in my whole life. Let's just say, he is so mis - cast as Rodolfo.

    The noise in the backround is beyond what can be accepted. There is coughing, wheezing, etc. Not my type.

    If you are a La Boheme fan and a Carreras fan, keep looking for another. Mostly, a La Boheme casting Pavarotti or Placido is not a bad idea to own.

    So here I am shot down once again! Sorry....more info

  • Good Performance but Poor Production Quality
    The cast, music and scenes are as good as one can expect from a stage opera. Voices are beautiful. But the video quality is not even as good as VHS - the DVD is probably a digital copy of the analog VHS to begin with. In addition, the video compression is poorly done, with ghost images that occur with fast movements. Audience noices are a big distraction. I also own a Gulda Mozart concert DVD made by Pioneer, same problem, ghost images and audience noices. Someboy also mentioned that Pioneer's "Metropolitan Opera - Centennial Gala" is also a low-quality production. Music lovers, when it comes to Pioneer Classics, think twice before you buy....more info
  • Almost wonderful
    I've listened to this opera for years, but only seen it twice, both this production, first on VHS, now on DVD. Stratas was perfection as always, with her beautiful voice, and her acting, not that it matters that much, was touching too. The first time I saw this I cried. Carreras and Scotto also were wonderful, especially Scotto with her acting (as well as her voice). I felt that the other singers were adequate, they did good jobs, but were not in a class with the three I already mentioned. I do not like James Levine, I wish he'd stick to Wagner, they were meant for each other. The sets were colorful and beautiful. I read somewhere that this is considered the most loveable of all Italian operas. I can well believe it, especially with this production. ...more info
  • A Boheme to die for .....
    This version of La Boheme has never been available in England, at least I have never been able to track down a copy. I actually bought the DVD directly from the Met opera shop, ask for Jack and he will give you all the advice you need, although I should warn you that it is much cheaper to buy it from amazon.com. Even more so if you live in Europe, because the shipping is much less from amazon. I have always loved San Francisco's Boheme, probably because I am obsessed with Pavarotti and Freni, and I do believe that this is the most beautifully sung Boheme available on DVD. However, if you are after an emotive and perfectly executed Boheme in which the performers and production get right under the skin, of what can be very "card board cut out characters", then look no further than this Met production. Teresa Stratus has by no stretch of the imagination a beautiful voice, but her acting and total commitment and understanding of the role of Mimi counteract this. She delivers her line at the end of her Act I aria " Altro dime non le saprei narrare." absolutely perfectly. I have never seen anyone equal it; and her intense portrayal of Mimi is full of moments like this. Hers is a truly wonderful performance and interpretation. As is Carreras' Rodolfo. I have always considered Carreras to be the better actor of the three tenors, and although he can't match their vocal splendour, he here gives the performance of a life time. Mind you, try and get a copy of a VHS of him at La Scala in La Forza del Destino - and you will see it again. The rest of the cast, with the exception of Scotto's Musetta, pale into insignificance against these two - my only major critisism is "why does James Morris look so absurd as Colline"? The production by Zeffirelli is excellent. So in conclusion, if you want exemplary singing throughout - then go for San Francisco's production with Pavarotti. If you want a Boheme from the heart, then the Met production is for you. In an ideal world, have both!...more info
  • On stage motion has "Matrix" effect!
    Not having seen the VHS version, I can't say if it's the DVD transfer that is at fault. But of the two camera angles used, the main one shot from the rear is the only one that to me, exhibits this motion phenomena. Whereas, from the other camera angle, shots of the conductor and orchestra pit appear just fine. Maybe the low light and distance to the stage have something to do with it? Overall a wonderful production....more info
  • Just Another Boheme
    It puzzles me that words like "standard" or "bench mark" were used in praise of this La Bohme. Just exactly what is the "standard" for this probably most popular opera? The originality of art is anything but to be constrained by some sort of standard. If the good words were for the singing, it still would be too lavish of a saying for this production, at least for "Che gelida manina", which was transposed down half a key, and even the replacing B is very short and not so exciting. There are indeed some really good singings, like Stilwell's Mercello. The singing of the two leading roles, however, leaves something to be desired. While Carreras' singing is quite dramatic, it feels that something was missing, not just the top C, but the lyrical sheen and exuberance that otherwise would flow through Rodolfo's vocal lines. Stratas has crafted a convincingly consumptive Mimi. But you'd hope she could bring a bit glow of liveliness to the character in the first two acts when Mimi was not yet too ill, after all Mimi should be a luminous figure. Stratas' lips are shaking noticeably (on DVD) when she sings, which makes you worry. Scotto played an impressive Musetta, and her great acting brought some enjoyable moments on stage.

    It is very interesting to compare this Zeffirelli's traditional and lavish production with other productions. Although it'll much depend on your taste to decide their effectiveness, among the numerous recordings and stage productions of La Bohme, you wouldn't want to miss the 1972 studio recording with Pavarotti/Freni, conducted by Karajan, especially if singing is solely what you are looking for. If besides singing, you also want to experience some vigorous Bohemianism on stage and dramatic details revealed by great acting, you definitely want to check out Baz Luhrmann's production for Australian Opera, in which the sets are simple but visually stunning, the characters are sung by new generation singing actors/actresses in fabulous voices. ...more info
  • Open your eyes for details, close them to the big picture
    I was so excited to watch this opera years ago. It was the first one I had ever seen, and had only heard highlights on a CD (with Pavarotti as Rodolfo). I was overwhelmed at first, because there is so much emotion in this opera: Act 1 is charming, Act 2 is exciting, Act 3 is depressing, and Act 4 is crushing...

    Probably my favorite part of this production is Act 2, in which there is an elaborate 2-story set (characteristic of Zefirelli), a gigantic crowd, and Musetta is brought in by horse and carriage (which I missed the first two times I watched it... see, lots of detail). The costumes were great, Mimi's make-up was too extreme in Acts 1 and 2, and I was absolutely pissed when I discovered that Carerras had transposed "Che gelida manina"!!! I had always thought Carerras was terrible, but this performance was the straw that broke the camel's back. I loved the snow in Act 3!!!

    I highly reccommend it as a grand introduction to opera and it's staging, but must insist that you purchase the Angela Georghiu and Roberto Alagna CD version of this opera. The music is absoltely perfect!...more info

  • LA BOHEME
    je voulais voir encore une fois si c est possibl...more info
  • Not for the average joe.
    I like Butterfly and Carmine but this Puccini pinches.
    For the diehead this may do. Not aye said the little brown rooster.
    The girl is funny looking, if you know what I mean....more info
  • If you only buy one La Boheme video, this is the one!
    Carreras is at his vocal best and Stratas as usual does a great job of acting and an adequate job of singing....more info
  • Ultimate rapture
    I have both of the Metropolitan Opera DVDs of la Boheme and consider this the finer production, Carreras and Stratas are not only vocally excellent they look the part. Renata Scotto is perfect as Musetta. In the other copy she plays Mimi and Pavarotti is Rodolfo. They are just too healthy to be dying of TB or look like a starving playwright. That copy I would rate as 4 stars....more info
  • Great production... but singers beware!
    There are two problems with this DVD that buyers,(especially singers)should know.

    Number one, subtitles, or more accurately, the lack thereof. The only subtitles available are in English and they cannot be turned off.

    Number two, I agree with other reviewers that Careras does a marvelous job of acting and of singing. But on this DVD, one thing he does not have that Pavaratti most certainly would is a high C! Che Gelida Manina is marked down a half-step and only goes to a B natural.

    I realize these things might not matter to the casual viewer, but as an opera singer I bought the DVD not only to watch but to learn as well. In order to do this I would have certainly appreciated subtitles available in the original Italian as well as all the music sung in the original key!...more info

  • The Best La Boheme Production on Video!
    Zeffirelli has struck again with a wonderful version of La Boheme. Beautiful voices are sharply contrasted with the tragic storyline. Zeffirelli's magic rules costumes and sets, creating an unbelieveable experience. Lovers and non-lovers of opera can appreciate this one!...more info
  • Frustrated
    I have been waiting and waiting for this opera to be back on DVD format. Lets get with it. I had it years ago on VHS, and now am waiting for the DVD version to be reissued.
    A marvelous opera with true Diva stars.
    Please restock this gem....more info
  • positive.I purchased the VHS
    Unfortunately the introduction by AMOZON cites G Puccini as one of the stars of this production ( which is of course true (in essence) but failure to mention MS Stratas is a major blow to us who use the discography of this fine companhy to do our shopping.In any case, the Zefferelli production at the MET is fine not only on the VHS but in person....more info

 

 
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