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Puccini: La Bohème / Karajan, Freni, Pavarotti, Et Al


Release Date: 10/25/1990 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 421049   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Luciano PavarottiMirella FreniRolando PaneraiGianni Maffeo,   ... 
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic OrchestraSchöneberg Boys ChoirBerlin Deutsche Oper Chorus
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 50 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


This is the most sumptuous of all recorded Bohèmes, with conductor Herbert von Karajan coaxing ravishing playing and singing from the Berlin Philharmonic and his thoroughly-in-their-prime cast. He indulges in tempos that seem oddly slow at first but that soon add to the drama and make us hear Puccini’s orchestration—and drama—more clearly than ever; moreover, his cast can sing the composer’s lyric lines in long, sustained, legato breaths with ease and beauty. He doesn’t stint on the fun of the first and last acts either, with singers and players percolating with excitement. You can practically envision lavish sets. Pavarotti is in full bloom, with golden sound pouring forth and impeccable
Read more diction; vocally this Rodolfo hasn’t a worry in the world, and Pavarotti has ardor and feelings to spare. Freni is, if not the best, then surely one of the best Mimis of the last half-century; she is infinitely believable. The others are just as involved and sound just as good. This recording is a warm, loving experience.

-- Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com [4/2011]
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Works on This Recording

1. La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti (Tenor), Mirella Freni (Soprano), Rolando Panerai (Baritone),
Gianni Maffeo (Baritone), Nicolai Ghiaurov (Bass), Michel Sénéchal (Tenor),
Gernot Pietsch (Tenor), Hans-Dietrich Pohl (Baritone), Hans-Dieter Appelt (Bass),
Elizabeth Harwood (Soprano)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Schöneberg Boys Choir,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/1972 
Venue:  Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin 
Length: 110 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Language: Italian 

Sound Samples

La Bohème / Act 4: "Oh Dio! Mimì!"
La Bohème / Act 1: "Questo Mar Rosso"
La Bohème / Act 1: "Pensier profondo"
La Bohème / Act 1: "Abasso, abbasso l'autor!"
La Bohème / Act 1: "Si può" - "Chi è là?"
La Bohème / Act 1: "Io resto"
La Bohème / Act 1: "Chi è là?"
La Bohème / Act 1: "Si sente meglio?"
La Bohème / Act 1: "Che gelida manina"
La Bohème / Act 1: "Sì. Mi chiamano Mimì"
La Bohème / Act 1: "O soave fanciulla"
La Bohème / Act 2: "Arranci, datteri!"
La Bohème / Act 2: "Chi guardi?" - "Ecco i giocattoli di Parpignol"
La Bohème / Act 2: "Viva Parpignol..." - "Una cuffietta a pizzi"
La Bohème / Act 2: "Oh!...Essa!...Musetta!"
La Bohème / Act 2: "Quando m'en vo'" (Musetta's Waltz)
La Bohème / Act 2: "Chi l'ha richiesto"
La Bohème / Act 3: "Ohè, là, le guardie!" - "Aprite!"
La Bohème / Act 3: "Sa dirmi, scusi"
La Bohème / Act 3: "Mimì! - Speravo di trovarvi qui"
La Bohème / Act 3: "Marcello. Finalmente!"
La Bohème / Act 3: "Mimì è una civetta"
La Bohème / Act 3: "Mimì è tanto malata!"
La Bohème / Act 3: "Donde lieta uscì"
La Bohème / Act 3: "Dunque: è proprio finita!...Addio, dolce svegliare"
La Bohème / Act 4: "In un coupé?"
La Bohème / Act 4: "O Mimì, tu più non torni" (Duetto) - "Che ora sia"
La Bohème / Act 4: "Gavotta"
La Bohème / Act 4: "C'è Mimì..."
La Bohème / Act 4: "Vecchia zimarra, senti"
La Bohème / Act 4: "Sono andati"
La Bohème / Act 4: "Oh Dio! Mimì!"

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Great Buy August 2, 2014 By Marjorie S. B. (Fort Myers, FL) See All My Reviews "This recording is an amazing collection of some of the best singers in the last 100 years. Pavarotti, Freni and Ghiaurov, all in one CD of Puccini's La Boheme.........make up the best recording possible. Direction by Herbert Von Karajan adds to the beauty." Report Abuse
 Magnificent In All Respects February 10, 2014 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "In my opinion, La Boheme is the crown jewel in Puccini's collection of operatic gems, and this wonderful 1974 interpretation offers compelling evidence to back up my assertion. There is one basic characteristic about this recording that you can take to the bank- it clearly ranks among the finest opera recordings that you will ever encounter. Everyone is at the top of their game here. For starters, consider the heroic, impassioned singing of Mirella Freni (Mimi),Elizabeth Harwood (Musetta),Rolando Panerai (Marcello), Nicolai Ghiaurov (Colline), Gianni Maffeo (Schaunard), and of course Luciano Pavarotti (Rodolfo). Then there is the comprehensive artistic vision needed to balance the singers with Puccini's incredibly beautiful orchestral score. In what can honestly be viewed as a demonstration of near-superhuman conducting, Herbert von Karajan shows that he has this vision and uses it to produce a near perfect blend of voice and orchestra- the results clearly speak for themselves. Finally, a special compliment must be awarded to the sublime performance of Maestro von Karajan's Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Little effort is required on the part of the listener to sense, understand, and appreciate the lustrous sound world provided by the BPO, establishing a solid foundation upon which the singers can build. Puccini's score for La Boheme is presented with deep, lushly romantic string playing, biting brass, and poignantly effective winds, all with wide dynamic range and absolutely crystal clear sound. In short, here is a demonstration of a world class orchestra performing at its absolute peak, at a time when many considered it the finest orchestra in the world. The combination of all these considerations is, for want of a better phrase, a match made in Heaven, and the result is a recording filled with panache, emotional ferver, and downright artistic brilliance. Although I am well aware that other fine La Boheme recordings are available (just look at Arkivmusic's total offerings- over 100!), I have a hard time imagining how any could top this outstanding analog version, especially if orchestral excellence and overall sonic qualities matter. In summary, even if you own another, Karajan's majestic La Boheme unquestionably merits a valued place in your collection. This recording has 'Special' written all over it, so don't hesitate- try it and see for yourself!" Report Abuse
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