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Giacomo Puccini - La Bohème / Franco Zeffirelli · James Levine - T. Stratas · R. Scotto · J. Carreras · MET

44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Few operas enjoy the widespread popularity of Puccini's La Boheme. In the Metropolitan's more than one hundred years only Aida has received more performances, although La Boheme was not even premiered there until 1900. For this Metropolitan Opera production Franco Zeffirelli designed both sets and costumes of extraordinary realism and beauty. Perhaps even more astounding is Zeffirelli's direction that mirrors the music so closely in the action taking place on stage. Appearances by: Richard Stilwell, Jose Carreras, James Morris, Allan Monk, Italo Tajo, Teresa Stratas, Dale Caldwell, Renata Scotto, Glen Bater, and James Brewer.Conductor: James Levine

The first recording of Puccini's La Bohème to be issued on DVD is the best visual treatment of this opera that anyone's ever likely to see. Director Franco Zeffirelli always seems to have television in mind when he directs an opera production, and his orientation toward visual impact and acting skills comes across effectively. Teresa Stratas (Zeffirelli's soprano of choice in one unforgettable production after another) is totally convincing as Mimi, and José Carreras is nearly as impressive as Rodolfo--most notably in the frequent closeups where acting skills are most crucial. Renata Scotto's Musetta is properly flirtatious, fickle, and verbally violent in Acts II and III, and warmly sympathetic in the heartbreaking finale. The supporting cast is superbly chosen and directed. There have been slightly better voices in some other Bohèmes (Pavarotti, for example), but the solo singing here is good, the chorus and orchestra are wonderful, and the visual treatment is magnificent. This should be considered a first choice among available DVDs. An interesting alternative is the fresh, innovative Australian Opera production, directed by Baz Luhrmann and updated to the 1950s. --Joe McLellan

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Teresa Stratas, Josep Carreras, Renata Scotto, Richard Stilwell (III), Allan Monk
  • Directors: Kirk Browning
  • Format: Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Geneon [Pioneer]
  • DVD Release Date: August 4, 1999
  • Run Time: 141 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305079145
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,109 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Giacomo Puccini - La Bohème / Franco Zeffirelli · James Levine - T. Stratas · R. Scotto · J. Carreras · MET" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Derek McGovern on November 9, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this 1982 Zeffirelli production from the Met. It has much to recommend it: passionate singing from the underrated Jose Carreras, terrific acting from Teresa Stratas, an excellent supporting cast, great sets and direction, and first-rate conducting from James Levine.

I bought this DVD primarily because of Carreras, and it's a treat to hear him before the onset of his illness and vocal problems. True, he is pushing a little here at times, but his ravishing timbre more than compensates. Pavarotti may have the freer high notes, but Carreras' performance has a passion that most other interpreters lack. By his own admission not the world's greatest actor, he is nevertheless convincing as a young, idealistic poet, and this (along with Stiffelio, Don Jose and Andrea Chenier) ranks as one of his best roles. My only quibble is that he is a little hammy during Mimi's death scene (though few tenors can probably resist such a temptation!)

Teresa Statas is the consummate actress, and there is not one moment when her portrayal of Mimi does not ring entirely true. I was unable to hold back the tears during her aria in Act Three, so heartbreaking was her farewell to Rodolfo. Interestingly, she makes her impression without the benefit of a magnificent voice. This is a singing actress rather than a vocal great. Her voice strikes me as somewhat plain of timbre, lacking the beauty of, say, a Mirella Freni, but in this performance, at least, it simply doesn't matter. Her Mimi will stay with you for a long time. (I do, however, agree with one amazon reviewer who thought she looked too ill from the outset. The over-zealous make-up artist should have shown some restraint!
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 18, 2000
Format: DVD
Being a brand new opera afficionado I could never really understand why Jose Carreras is so loved by the opera public. But now I understand! He is so believable, his singing and acting is done with great emotion and tenderness. Theresa Stratas is excellent as usual, very dramatic and emotional. I just wish she wouldn't have looked so sick already in the first act. Scotto is a brilliant Musetta, a joy to watch.
The production is unbelievably extravagant. I forgot at times I was watching a staged version rather than a film. Very well done.
I have seen La Boheme before but it never moved me as deeply as this version. A must buy!
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful By N. Gallimore on August 11, 2000
Format: DVD
This version of La Boheme has never been available in England, at least I have never been able to track down a copy. I actually bought the DVD directly from the Met opera shop, ask for Jack and he will give you all the advice you need, although I should warn you that it is much cheaper to buy it from Even more so if you live in Europe, because the shipping is much less from amazon. I have always loved San Francisco's Boheme, probably because I am obsessed with Pavarotti and Freni, and I do believe that this is the most beautifully sung Boheme available on DVD. However, if you are after an emotive and perfectly executed Boheme in which the performers and production get right under the skin, of what can be very "card board cut out characters", then look no further than this Met production. Teresa Stratus has by no stretch of the imagination a beautiful voice, but her acting and total commitment and understanding of the role of Mimi counteract this. She delivers her line at the end of her Act I aria " Altro dime non le saprei narrare." absolutely perfectly. I have never seen anyone equal it; and her intense portrayal of Mimi is full of moments like this. Hers is a truly wonderful performance and interpretation. As is Carreras' Rodolfo. I have always considered Carreras to be the better actor of the three tenors, and although he can't match their vocal splendour, he here gives the performance of a life time. Mind you, try and get a copy of a VHS of him at La Scala in La Forza del Destino - and you will see it again. The rest of the cast, with the exception of Scotto's Musetta, pale into insignificance against these two - my only major critisism is "why does James Morris look so absurd as Colline"?Read more ›
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 14, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
La Boheme is one of the most beautiful operas ever written, and it's also one of the hardest to sing perfectly, but this comes about as close as any. First of all, Jose Carreras was a joy here. His Rodolfo was very moving and beautiful. Even Pavarotti's beautiful voice doesn't make up for his poor acting, but Carreras has both voice and stage presence. Teresa Stratas, next of all, is one of the most wonderful Mimi interpreters ever. her acting is also top notch, and she looks very believable, like she's truly ill. By the way, she also sang wonderfully in another part that requires illness (La Traviata.) The rest of the cast were all fine, especially Renata Scotto in the role of Musetta and James Morris as Colline. Scotto, having sung Mimi on an earlier recording with Alfredo Kraus as Rodolfo, knows this opera well and her Musetta is unique. Perhaps best of all are the sets, designed by Franco Zeffirelli. Levine was a great conducter and the choruses were well done. Buy this! I really suggest it.
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