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Puccini - La Boheme / Neil Shicoff, Ileana Cotrubas, Thomas Allen, Marilyn Zschau, Gwynne Howell, Lamberto Gardelli, Covent Garden Opera (2005)

Neil Shicoff , Brian Donlan  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Puccini - La Boheme / Neil Shicoff, Ileana Cotrubas, Thomas Allen, Marilyn Zschau, Gwynne Howell, Lamberto Gardelli, Covent Garden Opera + Puccini - La Boheme / Pavarotti, Scotto, Niska, Wixell, Plishka, Levine, Metropolitan Opera + Verdi - Rigoletto / Luciano Pavarotti, Ingvar Wixell, Edita Gruberova, Victoria Vergara, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Riccardo Chailly
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Product Details

  • Actors: Neil Shicoff, Brian Donlan, John Gibbs, Yevgeni Nesterenko, John Rawnsley
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kultur Video
  • DVD Release Date: December 20, 2005
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BZIT5M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,870 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The Royal Opera, Covent Garden. Puccini's tragic love story is set in the Latin Quarter of Paris among the bohemian students whose hectic gaiety only partially masks the despair and pain that threaten their lives. It remains one of the most popular of all operas with its stark contrasts of lively humour and poignant tragedy. This recording of the well-known Covent Garden production by John Copley, in Julia Trevelyan Oman's authentic settings, stars Romanian soprano Ileana Cotrubas and American tenor Neil Shicoff as Mimì and Rodolfo, whose tender love affair is doomed from the start. "It is only when one sees and hears a performance so truthful and genuinely musical as that…at Covent Garden under Lamberto Gardelli's secure and loving direction, that the wonder of the score's unerringly poised structure is fully realised" DAILY TELEGRAPH Of Ileana Cotrubas: "…just the right voice for this role. There is a touch of ineffable sadness to her singing - it is singing with, as it were, tears on it" THE LISTENER Of Neil Shicoff: "…his Rodolfo was much more than a mere tenor. One could believe in him as a sensitive writer in a wretched environment, showing Mimì his work, involved with her, undergoing ecstasy, torment and grief as a real person" THE STAGE Music by Giacomo Puccini, Mimì: Ileana Cotrubas, Rodolfo: Neil Shicoff, Marcello: Thomas Allen, Musetta: Marilyn Zschau, Colline: Gwynne Howell. With The Royal Opera Chorus and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House; Conductor Lamberto Gardelli. Program language: Italian with Subtitles in English / French / German / Italian / Portuguese / Spanish / Japanese.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful sung and drmatically very moving! February 20, 2006
Owned this stunningly sung Boheme on VHS and now finally it makes its glorious way to dvd. Caught in their absolute prime, Cotrubas and Schicoff are deeply moving as they soar in their musical lovemaking. A Gem. Sets are wonderfully traditional. No subways, tunnels, interplanetary travel to contend with. Thomas Allen stands out with honors along with Marilyn Zschau to complete an unbeatable quartet. The Royal Opera House orchestra under Gardelli are an aural treat. Opera on DVD has come of Age and not soon enough. At least grab the opportunity to experience this performance. It's a Winner! No weak links in this magnificent performance. This production is to DVD what de los Angeles, Tebaldi and your favorite soprano are to audio CD. I don't deny the other great Bohemes available but for me, and taste is always personal, is something very special. Schicoff is one of the most sincere and real of singers and at this stage his voice has a full, rich, ringing timber. Much the same can be said of his fellow performers! Oh, what a gift! And do have a glass of wine at the Cave Momus while in attendance. It will stir your soul! Make it a ten star vintage while you're at it.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definite La Boheme DVD/VHS December 23, 2005
By Herfinn
Of all the versions I have seen, this is the one I enjoy the most. The singing is excellent, Neil Schicoff (Rodolfo) in particular is brilliant both as a singer and as an actor, and the turbulent relationship of Marcello and Musetta is hilarious without turning into a parody as in so many other productions.

And for once all of the key caracters act really well. When all the friends are together in Rodolfo's apartment in act 1, there's a real chemistry between them, certainly better than in most films about friends, and they seemingly have no trouble fooling around with each other in a very natural way while still singing well. The production is traditional, but warm and with an old-time Disney flavour to it (in a good way), and the camera angles and cuts are tastefull and well considered.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful picture, poor audio transfer January 1, 2006
To give my background with this production, I first saw this on VHS several years ago and bootleg copied the VHS for my own personal viewing. It was this lovely production with its wonderful performance by Ileana Cotrubas and Neil Shicoff which led me to really get into opera. I remember being chilled to the bone when I first heard Che gelida manina and Si, mi chiamano mimi... So I was terribly excited to see that they FINALLY released this on DVD in the US. Well I listened to this as soon as I got and was noticed that they did their digital magic and cleaned up this over 30 year old video quite well. The colors and sharpness are as good as they can be, however, I was terribly disappointed with the sound. I'm not sure how this can be because of all the technology at their disposal. The voices sounded like they were in some large hall, and the balance with the orchestra was completely off. I know that Shicoff doesn't have the most commanding voice, but you could clearly hear him on the old VHS version. When both Shicoff and Cotrubas are being drowned out by the orchestra you have to wonder what went wrong. It isn't always noticeable, but severely diminished my enjoyment of my favorite parts, that being the arias in the first act between Rodolfo and Mimi. So, don't buy this DVD. What a terrible disappointment and waste of money. The most important part of a transfer of the opera HAS to be the sound!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars adding to the chorus of praise December 15, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This Royal Opera La Boheme is sterling in every way. Shicoff and Cotrubas are complete musicians first and foremost, and the singing is unconquerable. Neil Shicoff is one of the great tenors of his or any musical age, and his unfailing musicianship makes his singing beautiful beyond many others of more fabled estate. Perhaps no other singer (except Caballe and Ludwig) was more loved by orchestral musicians than Ileana Cotrubas, in equal measure for her impeccable musicianship and an unforgettable voice that carries a glow of tragedy deep in its emerald sound. She's a perfect verismo singer, though curiously few acknowledge it. With Cotrubas nothing is exaggerated, nothing out of pulse; she invests it all in actually singing, eschewing 'showing us' her singing - an unfortunately prevalent malaise. Thomas Allen's Marcello is bright and ardent, &the leaving scene with Rodolfo works up some vocal fire. Zschau exerts herself as Musetta, but not without delight. Gardelli marshals the Covent Garden forces with typical Royal Opera understatement and gets a huge ovation at the end. A traditionally staged Boheme recommended with passion to just about everybody. The singing's exceptionally bracing and beautiful. Cotrubas' revealing death scene can change your mind about Puccini. I think the VHS version has better sound, but the DVD is fine. I urge you to give this production a hearing.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely production March 28, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This video of La Boheme presents the performance given by Pavarotti and the Genoa opera in Beijing in the 1980s, during Pavarotti's visit to China. The sets are great, the ensemble singing is wonderful, and Fiamma Izzo D'Amico as Mimi and Madelyn Renee as Musetta as especially fine. The only jarring moment was the audience applause that broke into "Che Gelida Manina" as Pavarotti hit the high notes in the aria. This video is a welcome alternative to the San Francisco Opera Boheme with Pavarotti and Mirella Freni, and if Pavarotti is your preferred Rodofo, it's a treasure and a must.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Several reviews here discuss the wrong performance
Several of the reviews featured prominently here discuss the wrong performance. This is not John Copley's Covent Garden stagine with Cotrubas and Shicoff.
Published 3 months ago by Corliss Phillabaum
5.0 out of 5 stars I can only review this by comparing it to a Met / Pavarotti perfomance
Both recordings were of live performance. The Coventry Gardens recording is better in every respect. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Rudy Perini
5.0 out of 5 stars I would review this if I had it...
I ordered this DVD lots of weeks back now and am still waiting patiently for it to arrive. In fact I am hanging out for it to arrive as I adore Pavarotti and this version is second... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Ann Millington
5.0 out of 5 stars Great singing.
If you want a La Boheme with great singing, you will love this dvd. This was filmed in China, when an Italian opera company was touring there. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Boz
5.0 out of 5 stars superb boheme
I have been been to many Bohemes since 1950 and saw the Covent Garden production recorded here in London with Aragall instead of Shicoff. Read more
Published on January 13, 2012 by Conrad J.
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I don't usually watch foreign films, but I'm trying to be more cultured, and my girlfriend is one quarter Italian, so I thought I'd take in an Italian flick to see if I could... Read more
Published on April 9, 2010 by Done Tried It
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Bohemes on DVD
I absolutely agree with all the positive comments made about this DVD version. Fiamma Izzo D'Amico's quiet beauty, superb singing and acting along with Pavarotti at his height make... Read more
Published on March 26, 2010 by Anthony Paterno
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Boheme' "out there".
Love Shicoff, Cotrubas, Allen and Zschau (who i thought would be wrong for the part) but- she's great! Of all the Boheme's out there- i like this the best. The End.
Published on March 5, 2010 by David Kennedy
5.0 out of 5 stars Voice of an Angel!
WOW! I just finished viewing this fabulous opera.La Boheme has long been a favorite opera of mine. I cut my opera
teeth on the Von Karajan reading showcasing His Highness... Read more
Published on February 21, 2010 by Signor Destino
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth having-- but can't it be fixed?
Can't the audio glitches be addressed in this delicious performance? There is so much to like, even love about it. Read more
Published on January 28, 2010 by Caterina Sforza
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