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Baz Luhrmann's La Boheme (Highlights from the 2002 Original Broadway Cast)
Wei Huang, Lisa Hopkins
Baz Luhrmann's La Boheme (Highlights from the 2002 Original Broadway Cast)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Classical, Broadway & Vocalists
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1

With the visually dazzling efforts of his "Red Curtain" film trilogy behind him (Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge), director Baz Luhrmann set his sights on Broadway and a reworking of his triumphant, career-...  more »


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All Artists: Wei Huang, Lisa Hopkins
Title: Baz Luhrmann's La Boheme (Highlights from the 2002 Original Broadway Cast)
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 1
Label: Dreamworks
Original Release Date: 1/1/2002
Re-Release Date: 12/10/2002
Album Type: Cast Recording, Import
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Classical, Broadway & Vocalists
Styles: Opera & Classical Vocal, Musicals
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 600445040823

With the visually dazzling efforts of his "Red Curtain" film trilogy behind him (Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge), director Baz Luhrmann set his sights on Broadway and a reworking of his triumphant, career-forging 1990 Australian Opera production of Giacomo Puccini's evergreen tearjerker, La Boheme. With it now set in 1957, six young voices alternate in bringing the tale of the doomed love affair between the seamstress Mimi (Lisa Hopkins, Wei Huang, Ekaterina Solovyeva) and the writer Rodolfo (Alfred Boe, Jesus Garcia, David Miller) to life in its original Italian on this cast album. Other than using the vocal dream-team gambit, Luhrmann has played Puccini's music surprisingly straight in this production, a sharp contrast to the dizzying musical cut-and-paste of Moulin or his tellingly titled pop album, Something for Everybody. It's a wise tack, and wholly in step with the director's stated goal of emphasizing the story's timeless drama while keeping the operatic masterpiece true to itself for a new audience. The staging may showcase Luhrmann's dazzling production, but the music here is still pure Puccini. --Jerry McCulley

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CD Reviews

Puccini Light -- but still a powerful achievement
Jorge Carreon, Jr. | South Pasadena, CA | 12/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Since the red curtain parted and revealed "Strictly Ballroom," the visual artistry of Australia's Baz Luhrmann's has created a film language all its own. A shrewd blend of post-modernism and popular culture run amok, Luhrmann's fever dreams have brought much welcome flair to the Hollywood film. (Take a gander at some Bollywood spectacles and see the lineage.) With "Romeo + Juliet" and "Moulin Rouge" forever part of our pop culture vernacular, the thought of his mounting "La Boheme" has had Luhrmanniacs racing to the box office. Purists may sniff, but it worked for the Sydney Opera in the early 90s and it works miracles on Broadway today. Now comes the cast album, beautifully preserving the best moments of this unforgettable production. The hallmark of the production, in addition to Catherine Martin's eye popping design, is its accessibility for a generation that thinks "Rent" was an original piece and "La
Boheme" a remake. With a Benetton ad-gorgeous cast, the album displays their best strengths, capturing performances laden with an emotional wallop that makes me want to see the show again. What also comes across are striking differences of the vocals from the alternating casts -- each providing marvelous interpretations -- Wei Huang's warmth, Ekaterina Soloyeva's drama and Lisa Hopkins sincerity come through loud and clear. Jessica Comeau's Musetta shines with comic sensuality. As for the men, Jesus Garcia, Alfred Boe and David Miller are all tenors of strength and romance, coupled perfectly with their respective Mimis. Eugene Brancoveanu gives Marcello plenty of machismo and is particularly effective in his duet with Jesus Garcia.Style is hardly in short supply -- from the distinct Bazmark packaging to the care in which the show has been photographed. Regardless of the cosmetics, once you listen to "La Boheme," it all adds up to one of the best recordings of the year. Opera fans may still sniff, but for those thinking of venturing into this artform for the first time, take the chance and listen. It is the greatest love story ever sung for a reason."
La Boheme - The rose of Broadway
renguy | San Jose, CA United States | 12/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Baz Lurhmann's lush production of Puccini's La Boheme finally arrives on Broadway as like a beautiful red rose emerging from within a patch of overgrown weeds. No other Broadway show has equated half the splendor of Luhrmann's majestic production of this enduring wildly romantic opera. Through their gorgeous presentation Luhrmann and crew have escalated, if not redefined, the theatre experience to new realms of grandeur.Glorious, simply by default of the majesty of Puccini's beautiful score, this interpretation benefits from Luhrmanns stunning staging and his pretty young cast, most of whom are under thirty years old. Their performances are wonderfully touching because they are portraying characters their own age, young idealistic bohemians of Paris circa 1957.Other than this minor modification, which incidentally works marvelously well, the libretto and Puccini's monumental score remain relatively in tact. Which is a brilliant move on the director's part not to attempt to recreate the opera for modern day audiences like the feeble updated monster that is the Broadway musical sensation Rent with its totally dated "pop" music pap. Puccini's La Boheme defies time and remains as vital and dynamic today as when the opera was originally composed. Luhrmanns' cast includes three rotating couples as the protagonists Mimi and Rodolfo. In the Utopia, Dreamworks Records would have released complete unabridged versions of this show performed in its entirety as three separate double disc packages. Alas, however we live in the real world and such magic simply does not occur. Instead fans receive this "highlights" compilation, which like a sampler, previews some fine moments from the show.However, for anyone familiar with the opera, this disc comes across as a very rocky road due to an entire hour worth of music brutally edited for the convenience of releasing a single disc. Since no reason is sufficient to support such a decision, this review will not waste valuable time on speculation.With that said, this disc becomes the definitive souvenir to the finest show ever to grace Broadway. The performances of the ensemble cast are as extraordinary as they are exhilarating. Alfred Boe as Rodolfo is simply stunning as is David Miller and the fabulous Jesus Garcia. Each tenor has his own unique sensibility and himself becomes the young poet Rodolfo. Wei Huang's Mimi is so captivating she reduces the listener to tears. Ekaterina Solovyeva's voice is heavenly and Lisa Hopkins simply sears your heart in the final act.Hopefully Dreamworks will release an unabridged version of this show. But in the event they don't, attempt to travel to New York to see and hear what all the hoopla regarding this show is all about. If you enjoy opera, this show is a dream come true. If you are unfamiliar with opera, this is the finest place to discover the magic of the medium. This IS the Greatest Love Story Ever Sung."
Jorge Carreon, Jr. | 07/28/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)

"More than five stars for the CD cover and the tiny, tiny, tiny libretto with dy-no-mite photos circa 1957 ..... but in all fairness to the Young, Young Young cast ... this one's quite terrible.One has to in all fairness {or unfairness} compare this version to the original 1993 Australian version WITH SINGERS, and there really is no comparision. David Hobson set the bar way, way high for any future Rodolfo as did Cheryl Barker's unforgettable Mimi. This present version just does not work on CD due to the confusion of the mixed cast - especially the highly 'indicated' theatricality of one of the Mimis - great in the looks department - but the emoting .....!The original version tends to be a 'Method' Puccini - AND it works.Try to get that [imported] CD instead - besides the original was recorded 'live' so the stakes were higher ....."