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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
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (143 customer reviews)

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Puccini - La Boheme / Neil Shicoff, Ileana Cotrubas, Thomas Allen, Marilyn Zschau, Gwynne Howell, Lamberto Gardelli, Covent Garden Opera + Verdi - La Traviata + Donizetti - L'Elisir d'Amore / Eschwe, Netrebko, Villazon, Wiener Staatsoper
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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: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (143 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BZIT5M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,603 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
65 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New and wonderful December 16, 2009
What a beautiful piece, and what marvelous performances! Let me begin with Nicole Cabell as Musetta; this exotic beauty possesses amazing expression and humor. Watch Villazon's face, falling in love as he listens raptly to Mimi as she tells of herself: "all things gentle bring me joy; I don't always go to mass, but often pray alone in my little room". And Netrebko is entirely convincing, shyly beautiful yet passionate; the protagonists' passion is sincere and moving. The city streets and rooftops in the snow are a perfect backdrop to the tale, which alternates between joy and sorrow. Certainly this new version of this very popular piece need not yield to any other.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Willing suspension of disbelief. January 1, 2010
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
First, I'd like to say that overall I enjoyed this film. Widescreen, superb picture and sound, gorgeous principals with 2 of the top voices of our era, delivers much of what I'd hoped from this new, enhanced, blue-ray version. Using the movie medium to show outdoor scenes of Paris, quick cuts to show happenings in different places at the same time added dimension and realism. But, for every felicity added, the film managed to subtract something equally important.

For instance, when the men are horsing around upstairs, Mimi is shown hearing the raucus downstairs in her apartment, then purposely bringing a candle up the stairs and blowing it out to join the party. A nice bit of motivation. But then when she and Rudolfo leave his apartment to join the others at Momus, she leads him by the hand into her apartment, where they are shown undressed, making passionate love. It is very physical and rapidly advances their relationship, but a bit of a shock to how they are able to fit this in, yet still make it to the festivities in time for dinner. Arguably, an acceptable, although awkward, trade-off. But, being a film, there are constantly issues that take away from our sense of involvement.

In many cases, the singers voices are slightly out-of-synch. Similarly, there is cut after cut where the action doesn't quite match with the previous scene. In some cases, there are excesses where one scene superimposes on another to give some sort of filmic, dreamy effect that takes away, rather than enhances our involvement. There are also scenes, typical of many filmed versions of operas, where the singers are heard singing, but where on camera, they are just making love.
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your new favourite opera December 16, 2009
By Flippy
If this version of La Boheme doen't move you or bring you to tears, I don't know what will. The atmosphere, the set, the actors, the singing... everything is perfect, breathtaking and tragic. Villazon continues to bring his charisma and tender charm to the world of opera lovers and Netrebko is at her tragic, immaculate best. The singing will soothe away the darkness.

The DVD features the film version of Puccini's opera (directed by Robert Dornhelm) along with a Making of La Boheme and interviews with several of the cast members.

I was highly impressed with the creativity involved. The four acts float by, fluid, flawless and there isn't one dull or trite moment. If anything, Dornhelm has helped to enhance some of the minor and least known elements of the opera, bringing more insight and colour to an already incredible piece of music. In previous versions of La Boheme I've seen, the minor characters always felt more 'minor' as as if the director simply wanted to focus on the tragic lovers whereas here, everything and everyone is essential. Dornhelm has a compassion directorial eye and I found myself moved even by the toy salesman and the people waiting at the gate in the cold.

A must have. If you loved Gianfranco de Bosio's version of Puccini's Tosca this is another DVD to own, cherish and watch on a wintery night. Best enjoyed in the company of pizza, wine, french bread and good opera-loving friends.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Passionate & Beautiful January 2, 2010
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
This film version of La Boheme is gorgeous! The cinematography is beautiful and tasteful, and the singing is all top-notch, crowned by a performance by Anna Netrebko as Mimi. Her voice has luster and charisma, and her acting is right on the money. Rolando Villazón's only fault, vocally, is that he is not Pavarotti; otherwise, he is among the very best tenors today, having a beautiful, powerful, and passionate voice, and impeccable technique. His acting was just a tad over the top for a film, but it would have played perfectly in the opera house.

In a way, my review should stop here. I recommend this wholeheartedly to the most discriminating of opera lovers; and this is the first mainstream opera that I have seen on Blu-ray that can stand up to the competition in all formats. As always, however, there are a few caveats that perhaps should be mentioned.

This is opera as film, not simply a film of a staged production, although it was inspired by the two principals' on-stage performances together. The reader/shopper probably already knows whether or not he or she likes opera presented in movie format, so I will not discuss the pros and cons, except to make two observations specific to this film: (1) this is, for much of the time, not a lip-sync job for the principals, which is unusual for opera-on-film, and (2) the director used only very sparingly (twice, I think) the device wherein singers' voices are heard without their moving their lips (as is done sometimes for day-dream sequences). In this case the main use for it was to show Mimi's inner thoughts when she would have been too weak to have sung them in real life. Returning to the first point, however, lip-syncing was used for some of the characters, in which photogenic actors were seen but opera singers were heard.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
no problems here
Published 10 days ago by james langlois
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Best La Boheme ever!
Published 1 month ago by BRUCE E MCINTOSH
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing is lost in translation by cinema
Tragic, timeless, Puccini brilliantly performed by the outstanding duo of Villazon and Netrebko. Rolando Villazon is the charming Rodolfo and I believe one of the best male... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mightymouse
5.0 out of 5 stars need I say more : Netrebko plus Villazón
We have heard La Vie de Bohème perhaps 10 times and still got tears in our eyes listening to Netrebko and Villazòn. Read more
Published 3 months ago by s.f.hoekstra
5.0 out of 5 stars This film and opera performed by Anna Netrebko (Mimi) and Rolando...
This film and opera performed by Anna Netrebko (Mimi) and Rolando Villazon (Rodolfo) is absolutly amaizing (!) I'm sure you will fall in love with it.
Published 4 months ago by PIOTR STEFANOWSKI
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 6 months ago by Corliss Phillabaum
4.0 out of 5 stars Great production
I think it has a great production, but I think there are some parts missing from the original opera. Nevertheless you will enjoy it full time.
Published 6 months ago by MANUEL CABALLERO
4.0 out of 5 stars la boheme
voices above average....particularly marcello...orchestration good but a bit rushed.scenery good and momus colorful.....worth every penny when a boheme fix is needed..
Published 7 months ago by william t. dunn
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful film version of a Puccini classic
Visually striking, all-star cast, and of course: Anna Netrebko as Mimi is just incredible. She adds a hit of sensuality to Mimi that is missing from all other performances and... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Anatola
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 8 months ago by Rudy Perini
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