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Puccini: La Boheme [Blu-ray]

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

John Copley's enduring production of
one of the most famously melodious and popular of all operas is a classic of the Royal Opera repertory. With historically accurate designs by Julia Trevelyan Oman and an excellent cast headed by Hibla Gerzmava and Teodor Ilincai, this 2009 revival, in which conductor Andris Nelsons makes a distinguished Royal Opera House debut, does full justice to Puccini's masterpiece. Filmed in High Definition and recorded in true surround sound.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Teodor Ilinca, Hibla Gerzmava, Gabriele Viviani, Inna Dukach, Andris Nelsons
  • Directors: John Copley, Robin Lough
  • Writers: Giacomo Puccini, Giacosa & Illica
  • Producers: Royal Opera House, Frances Whitaker
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Classical, Color, Widescreen, DTS Surround Sound
  • Language: Italian (DTS 5.1), Italian (PCM)
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Opus Arte
  • DVD Release Date: July 27, 2010
  • Run Time: 121 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003LRQ0Z8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,093 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Smith on October 20, 2010
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
La Boheme, Royal Opera House production
Opus Arte Blu-ray Disc

Puccini's La Boheme is one of the most beloved operas of all time, and rightfully so. Therefore, as one would expect, there are already many fine performances of Boheme available on DVD including, for example, the 2003 La Scala performance with Marcelo Alvarez and Cristina Gallardo-Domas, and the older, but still impressive, 1967 La Scala performance with a young Mirella Freni and Gianni Raimondi. In my opinion, however, this new Blu-ray DVD of a 2009 Royal Opera House performance, starring Russian soprano Hibla Gerzmava as Mimi and Rumanian tenor Teodor Ilincai as Rodolfo, deserves to go to the top of the list. Here's my rationale:

First; the mostly youthful cast brings a joie de vivre to their performances that is very appropriate and that compliments both the music and the Bohemian characters they are portraying. And equally important: they all sing beautifully! (It should be noted that veteran bass, Donald Maxwell, brings a comedic style to his Act II portrayal of the aging roué, Alcindoro, that is genuinely funny.)

Second; conductor Andris Nelsons keeps the music moving along at an appropriate pace while also providing the singers with tempos and dynamic shadings that allow them some latitude in the delivery of their big numbers.

Third; the scenery, costuming, staging and lighting are effective and tastefully traditional, and add considerably to the visual experience.

Fourth; the quality of the sound and the picture on this Blu-ray disc is state-of-the-art excellent.

And finally; the extras include separate interviews with conductor Nelsons and stage director John Copely, both of whom have informative and interesting things to say.

All in all, a marvelous package for opera lovers that definitely passes the goose-bump test!
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Format: Blu-ray
I have read the many reviews for all three of the Boheme performances that I currently own. What is quite clear is that each of them receives enthusiastic support by overwhelming numbers who see each as the definitive version! There are also those who totally dislike each version. There are also minor reservations voiced about each version by a handful of reviewers. So where does this leave the prospective new purchaser?

Firstly it is possible to suggest that there are at least 3 good versions available, all of which are likely to give great satisfaction to a great number of people. This is perhaps because this opera is such a fine creation that it enables the participants to rise to their best. So if there is a world class team engaged it is likely that you will get a world class result with little risk of failure.

Rather than give a detailed review of each version therefore I will attempt a general summary of the options based on these 3 productions. They are the two Zeffirelli productions at The Met and at La Scala. There is also the Copley production by way of comparison at the Royal Opera.

There are some key considerations in my opinion. Firstly the group of four men must work well as a team in addition to individual merits. Rodolfo, Mimi, Musetta and Marcello must also communicate strongly to each other in the same way. The end must be genuinely draining.

The Met performance from 2008 delivers on all counts. Gheorghiu and Vargas both deliver a believable relationship with each other. All 4 men relate well to each other.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I'll cut right to the chase here: The "unsung" (no pun intended) hero of this performance is the conductor, Andris Nelsons. Based on this performance, I rate him as the greatest conductor of Puccini that I have ever heard. (!!) He's that great. Most opera lovers (such as myself) would probably not rate Puccini on a par with Verdi or Wagner, but Nelsons shows no signs of such thinking here. In the Extras he describes this opera as a masterpiece and he conducts it with a love appropriate to that assessment: spirited where needed, limpid where needed, and always letting the music "breathe"; plus always being sensitive to his singers--they must love singing for him--; a "singers' conductor". You owe it to yourself to buy this dvd for Nelsons alone. You and I would say that the first love in this opera is between Rodolfo and Mimi and second love is between Marcello and Musetta, but in this performance the first love is between Nelsons and Puccini's music. Should you think I may be going over-the-top here, Nelsons receives a thunderous ovation from the audience at the end--tell you something?

As it happens, the rest of this performance is on the same level! This production dates from 1974, but you would never guess it by looking at it. Full of freshness and vitality--hats off to John Copley. It looks like no expense was spared in the sets and especially in the costumes. And here is another interesting lesson for those who have the eyes to see: This is very much a "traditional" staging: no regietheater, no gimmicks. What it shows us is that quality and substance and even timelessness are to be found in a devoted probity to the music, to the original concept--the triumph of love over egoism and over a creativity/originality that is more or less for its own sake.
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