Notes and Editorial Reviews
Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro alla Scala, Bruno Bartoletti
Director and Sets: Franco Zeffirelli
Picture Format: 16:9
Sound Format: LPCM stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Running Time: 116 mins
Booklet Languages: GB, F, D
Recording Date: February 2003
TDK presents a recording of a marvellous new opera production from La Scala, Milan on DVD, directed by the ever-inventive genius of Franco Zeffirelli.
Zefffirelli staged Puccini's masterpiece La Bohème with international opera stars in a set true to the touching story of Mimì and Rodolfo. It features one of opera's hottest new stars Cristina Gallardo-Domâs, a wonderful lyric soprano with an expressive voice and vivid stage presence, and Marcelo Álvarez, hailed by critics as "one of the hottest tenors on the international scene".
Subtitles in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish. Extras: Interview with Franco Zeffirelli, in Italian with subtitles. Time: 134 minutes.
R E V I E W S
"GallardoDomâs proves that she need not fear comparison with any of her distinguished contemporaries in the field and little from the best of her predecessors. By dint of her unimpeachable musicality‚ the sheer beauty of her truly Italianate tone and her exemplary way with words‚ she makes every track … an individual experience to treasure - and of how few singers can that be said? … Her Puccini readings seem the very best of all." GRAMOPHONE
While Franco Zeffirelli’s approach to La Bohème, and opera in general, may not be to everyone’s taste these days, the 40-year-old production, the costumes redesigned, looks just as fresh today as it did in its early years. A major advantage of this new DVD is that the singers are actually singing rather than lip-synching. Cristina Gallardo-Domâs and Marcelo Alvarez as the doomed lovers are virtually ideal, poignant as singing-actors so that the end becomes a veritable four-hanky affair. And both sing extremely well, whether in the high jinks of act II or the lyric effusions. Hei-Kyung Hong (usually Mimì) is a vivacious Musetta, the music always flowing, which is not the case for all sopranos who take on the role. The Bohemians are a rag-tag lot without the individual qualities to be seen in the earlier version. Roberto Servile succumbs to Musetta’s charms, not always with conviction, while Natale de Carolis and Giovanni Battista Parodi (Schaunard and Colline) make little of their respective roles. Bruno Bartoletti keeps the show moving, though his rallentandos sometimes come to a standstill, unlike other conductors (Serafin, Beecham, Karajan) whose slow tempos in this opera nonetheless retained a forward impulse. The director for television encourages the antics of a large cast of extras, something not seen in the earlier version, but remains focused on the principals when they are figuratively stage-center. The DVD concludes with an interview with Franco Zeffirelli, in which he defends his concept, convincingly, while launching occasional barbs at today’s operatic fashions.
- Joel Kasow, FANFARE