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Puccini: La Bohčme / Schippers, Freni, Gedda, Basiola, Et Al

Release Date: 11/06/2007 
Label:  Emi Great Recordings Of The Century Catalog #: 91998   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Ferruccio MazzoliMario SereniMirella FreniMariella Adani,   ... 
Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House OrchestraRome Opera House Chorus
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

PUCCINI La bohème Thomas Schippers, cond; Nicolai Gedda ( Rodolfo ); Mirella Freni ( Mimi ); Mario Sereni ( Marcello ); Mario Basiola ( Schaunard ); Ferruccio Mazzoli ( Colline ); Mariella Adani ( Musetta ); Rome Op House O & Ch Read more class="BULLET12b">• EMI 91998 (2 CDs: 103:08 Text and Translation)

This recording of La bohème undoubtedly belongs to the best things Thomas Schippers ever recorded on disc. Although initially, Victoria de los Angeles was planned to be cast for the role of Mimi, it was later decided to offer it to a young rising star at the time, Mirella Freni. It would prove to be a wise decision. It was eventually Freni’s magnificent and disarming charm that made this performance so unique. Recorded some five years before her sumptuous Decca recording with Pavarotti and Karajan, it has preserved an enchanting youthful freshness.

Nicolai Gedda, EMI’s ever-reliable and versatile tenor, was brought in for the role of Rodolfo. Together, Freni and Gedda formed quite a remarkable couple. Maybe one cannot find the same warmth as on the Decca recording, but it’s still a very impressive one. Gedda’s voice is powerful and straightforward; but, especially in the beginning of the first act, his voice sounds a bit pale and flat. Fortunately, this gets better and better towards the middle. The rest of the cast is very homogeneous; Mario Sereni is a humorous Marcello—Mario Basiola and Ferruccio Mazzoli are both noteworthy as Schaunard and Colline.

The orchestra’s playing is precise and secure—a pleasant experience, since that’s usually not something you’d expect from an Italian orchestra in the 1970s. Schippers’ conducting is energetic and his eye for detail proves that he was a really great conductor. It’s a pity that his life was cut short by lung cancer, from which he ultimately died in 1977.

The digitally remastered sound offers good spatial depth and detail. The shrill sound of the brass and the boxy (but colorful) orchestral sound of the strings are the only things that remind us of the earlier days of recording history.

FANFARE: Bart Verhaeghe
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Works on This Recording

La Bohčme by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Ferruccio Mazzoli (Bass), Mario Sereni (Baritone), Mirella Freni (Soprano),
Mariella Adani (Soprano), Nicolai Gedda (Tenor), Mario II Basiola (Bass)
Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Language: Italian 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Freni's first complete opera recording June 17, 2013 By D. Scamehorn (Kentwood, MI) See All My Reviews "I almost passed over this disc--"one of many, many recordings"--but I'm glad I didn't. This young cast (young conductor too) seems perfect for an opera that is, after all, about being young and in love. And for an added bonus, to hear the young Mirella Freni in her first complete opera recording--she is so natural! Lovely voice, singing in her mother tongue--what's not to like? No more analysis--get this recording, and enjoy." Report Abuse
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