La Boheme: The Film
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Giacomo Puccini's immortal opera in a high budget feature-film version directed by Academy Award nominee Robert Dornhelm, stars opera's 'Golden Couple', Rolando Villazon and Anna Netrebko as the protagonists, Rodolfo and Mimi. The chemistry between them is electric, unrivalled in the theatre today. Russian soprano Anna Netrebko is not only beautiful but has a marvelous voice and technique; Mexican tenor Rolando Villazon, has a wonderful voice and an incredible charisma. The excellent bonus features include fascinating interviews with all the key performers and the director, who confirms that he not only wanted to remain steadfastly faithful to Puccini's design but also document two of the leading singers of the modern age rather than embarking on a 'trendy' contemporary re-creation.
'Breathtakingly dramatic and emotional... full to the brim with some of the best vocal talents of today... director Robert Dornhelm has not only managed to stay true to Puccini's story, but has also succeeded in adding another exciting and dynamic dimension to the opera.' --Opera News Magazine
'lavishly detailed... Dornhelm translated the opera to the screen with imaginative, occasionally arty, touches... [Villazon's] singing is glorious.' --Sunday Times
'chocolatey richness directly into the vein' --The Guardian
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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. Adds to the sensual, physicality, but reminds us that we are not seeing this live, but watching a highly manipulative film. The ultimate travesty, in my view, was the final scene of the film, where the producers used what I'm sure they thought was an artistic, symbolic device to give meaning to the film, but which I thought totally destroyed the impact. See for yourself, your reactions may vary!
Netrebko and Villazon sing and act superbly; the Vienna sets are most convincing. The widescreen is great. The support performances are also first rate, especially Nicole Cabell as Musetta. It's a delightful emotional wallow!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Breathes life into an otherwise difficult tragedy.
Film makes this opera intimate and personal in a wonderful way...Read more
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