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

4.1 out of 5 stars 130 customer reviews

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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.

Special Features

None.

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 (130 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BZIT5M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,736 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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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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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Format: DVD
While my personal favorite of Puccini's operas is most definitely Tosca, especially the Georghiu / Alagna version, this is a lovely performance of the ever popular La Boheme. Mireila Freni and Eva Marton, for example, have splendid voices, but there's no doubt that a handsome, well matched pair like Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon carry a great deal of conviction as the young lovers of the tale. Their looks and considerable acting ability are further enhanced by the realistic settings of Dornhelm's production. I don't see any objection to the "feature filmification" of operas, though some purists despise it; after all, the costumes, stars and sets of opera in previous centuries must have had the same kind of impact on the observer then as the silver screen does today.

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!
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Format: DVD
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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