G. Golding | Seattle, WA | 06/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone who has read my reviews knows that I am the biggest Freni fan imaginable. She does not disappoint me here. Yes, at this stage, her voice is a size too large for Mimi, more suitable for heavy verismo such as Tosca, Fedora and Manon Lescaut. The voice is far heavier than in her two previous studio recordings from the 60's and 70's. The vibrato is also a trifle wider than it was but all this is amply excused by her warmth and mature insight into the role. The tragedy of Mimi has never before been so heartfully portrayed. The emotions are stronger than before and by the end of the opera she totally hits her stride and a quarter of a century melts away. This is a must for all Freni fans.
Pavarotti, unfortunately, does not begin to match Freni's contribution. As many singers, such as Freni, experience a lowering of voice and a widening of vibrato, they become greater interpereters, greater artists. For Pavarotti, you don't find this. As his vocal resources diminish, so does his artistry. he sings faster than before, without as much inspiration. Still, he musters up some of the old magic and, in the end, provides a decent, if not splendid partner to Freni.
The rest of the cast is pretty darn good. The voice of Musetta may not be the most beautiful, but she provides much pleasure for this viewer. Quilico is a great Marcello! So is Ghiaurov as Colline, the one bass that can dominate an ensemble. The conducting doesn't set me on fire, but it's not bad.....serviceable. I love the staging and the sets."
Pavarotti and Freni pretending to be bohemians
Rafael Fernandez Fernandez | Madrid, Madrid Spain | 01/17/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"One thing I find dissapointing in many Pavarotti opera productions is that everything seems to be adapted for Pavarotti instead of Pavarotti being adapted for the plot (or the music). Everyone knows who is the star, there is no Rodolfo in Paris having a romance with a ill-fated girl; it's just Pavarotti with a wig pretending he is still able to sing a good Rodolfo and some other singers trying not to distract us. Excellent Freni does awful singing in this production and her overacting ruins her singing many times."
A special thrill for fans of Mirella Freni
Raymond Yee | Berkeley, CA USA | 11/10/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As someone fell in love with Mirella Freni as Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro and who heard of her pre-eminence as a Puccini interpreter, I have been quite satisfied with this DVD. Because I am not a particularly devoted or knowledgeable fan of Puccini, I cannot really compare the merits of this version of La Boheme as opposed to any other. Nevertheless, not being immune to Puccini's legendary ability to write music that goes directly to the heart, I am invariably transported into a painful but beautiful world every time I watch this DVD."
Happy Birthday MIMI
maiden pa. | bedford, pa United States | 02/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Today I received this in the mail. It arrived on Mirella Freni's 71st birthday. So I did watch it and really enjoyed it. I'm a really big Freni fan and enjoy her in this role. I like the Karajan one from the 60's better,but this one has better sound. I own the Pavarotti with Scotto one, which is also excellent and the one from Austrailia, both fine additions to any collection. However, Karajan was right when he told Mirella Freni that she was Mimi. So Happy Birthday Mirella Freni. You have been a great gift to the opera world. You are Mimi."