Search - Puccini - La Boheme / Pavarotti, Scotto, Niska, Wixell, Plishka, Levine, Metropolitan Opera on DVD

Puccini - La Boheme / Pavarotti, Scotto, Niska, Wixell, Plishka, Levine, Metropolitan Opera
Puccini - La Boheme / Pavarotti Scotto Niska Wixell Plishka Levine Metropolitan Opera
Actors: Renata Scotto, Luciano Pavarott, Maralin Niska, Ingvar Wixell, James Levine
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2005     2hr 3min


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Movie Details

Actors: Renata Scotto, Luciano Pavarott, Maralin Niska, Ingvar Wixell, James Levine
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, DTS, Classical
Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 10/11/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1977
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 2hr 3min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: Italian
Subtitles: German, English, Italian, Spanish, French
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Member Movie Reviews

Reviewed on 5/6/2023...
La Boheme - A must for Opera, Broadway and Concerto fans! Luciano Pavarotti, Mirella Freni and others are at the top of their game!

Movie Reviews

Classic Puccini
Mike Birman | Brooklyn, New York USA | 01/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"La Boheme is certainly one of the top three performed Operas worldwide, along with Carmen and Aida. It is not my favorite Puccini Opera; that distinction goes to Manon Lescaut which, as opera critic Irving Kolodin so perfectly phrased it, is "the most of the promise, with the least cost of the fulfillment." I don't begrudge Puccini his popularity: his music is often beautiful, the emotions direct and heartfelt. His librettos seem designed to tug the heartstrings in a plebian grab for popularity, like a television show tested by a focus group. But that's OK. So when I see a production of any of Puccini's most popular operas, I tend to concentrate on sound: the beauty of the instrumental music, the vocal qualities of the singers. I usually ignore the plot. A misguided fear of being manipulated by a master? Probably. I'm weird that way!

So when I say I loved this DVD of La Boheme, that I was engrossed by the drama as well as the music, then it must be something special. The Met usually mounts traditional productions. When they stray from that conservative path, the audience tends to get ornery. This Boheme is a classic production: no "artistic license" shifting the action to the surface of Mars with a cast of farm animals and an orchestra of kazoos! I like a traditional Boheme, the way Puccini envisioned it. The emotions are less over-the-top, the drama more organic. The libretto is direct, even simple. That simplicity is the source of this production's excellence.

Produced live on 15 March 1977 and the inaugural telecast of the PBS "Live at the Met" series, the DVD transfer effectively reduces many of the artifacts inherent to a 30 year old taped program. The image is still a little fuzzier than we're now used to, but not enough to drive you screaming up the wall. The DTS 5.1 sound is clear and full. As for the singing, both Pavarotti as Rodolfo and Renata Scotto as Mimi are at their absolute peak!

This Boheme features a sublimely sung Rodolfo. All of the things Pavarotti was famous for are in evidence here: crystalline tone, perfect diction, fluidity of vocal quality. And this younger, svelter Pavarotti actually acts! I was moved by his performance in a part he obviously identifies with. As for Scotto, a leading soprano at the Met for two decades, her singing is lovely, with a limpid quality that heightens the emotionalism of her superb acting. The excellent cast includes Maralin Niska as Musetta and Ingvar Wixell as Marcello.

James Levine had come into his own as a Conductor around this time. He offers a nearly perfect rendition of this verdant score. The Met Orchestra, obviously on the rise as one of the world's great ensembles, sounds wonderful. Watching them hang on Levine's every gesture, turning on a dime as they negotiate every twist and turn of this score, is one of the pleasures unique to the DVD format. As for the production design by Fabrizio Melano, it is simple and direct. It just looks right!

I don't know if my atitude towards Puccini as a dramatist will ever change. But productions like this one, saved for posterity, are a clue as to why audiences adored Puccini in the first place. Before time and popularity seemed to cheapen the drama until it resembled a High School production of Cats. I love Puccini just like everyone does, of course. It's just that every now and again I need to be reminded why I love him. I strongly recommend this superb DVD. It's the jolt you need to get you in touch with your inner Rodolfo and Mimi.

Mike Birman"
Prima Donna of the highest order
Robert Petersen | Durban, South Africa | 09/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The first ever MET telecast, featuring 2 operatic greats at the height of their powers. Pavarotti, slimmer looking (but almost didn't make the high C in his aria), sings his siganture role magically. Scotto, my favourite soprano, portrays Mimi differently to what we are used to seeing and hearing. Watch the bonus interview and you will understand what I mean! 1st class - a Boheme in the old style - highly recommended"
Classic performance
pm444 | Okemos, MI USA | 10/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a video of the first live Met telecast, recorded in 1977. Therefore, the video image is not up to the standards we're accustomed to seeing today. There are problems with focus and at times the image is downright blurry. This is particularly noticeable in scenes with very little light.

However, it doesn't matter, because Pavarotti and Scotto win you over with their beautiful singing. I expected a youthful Pavarotti to be outstanding, and he is. What I didn't expect was to be so moved by Scotto's performance. I've heard her on many recordings, and admired her singing, but never found her to be particularly engaging. But after watching her in this production, I can see why she is so highly revered by so many fans.

The rest of the cast is what you would expect from a Met performance in the late 70's: highly talented and professional. The orchestra under Levine's leadership is excellent. The stage production is somewhat lackluster compared to the Zefirelli production that came to the Met later, but as with the video's somewhat fuzzy quality, it just does not matter. It's all about the voices and the music, and it doesn't get any better than this."