Buy one, get one free most lovely Boheme
Armindo | Greece | 03/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's rare to find two truly outstanding recordings of an opera on the same set. The complete recording is from La Scala 1979 and there is luckily also a video (stupidly enough, not commercially available yet) of this performance available.
Kleiber shapes the music like a genius without ever overpowering his singers or letting the music sound too mellow. Cotrubas and Pavarotti are astonising together, and alone. I've had problems with her voice on other recordings but here she sings with so much poise and beauty of tone that you can't help but fall in love with this Mimi. Although Freni has the authentic Italian voice, Cotrubas is soooo charming that I even found her distinct accent lovely. Her acting on the video is also perfect for the role.
Pavarotti is excellent on both recordings and justifies his fame and fortune. The easy emission of sound, the clarity of the words and the shine in his voice make an ideal Rodolfo. In 1969 the voice of course sounds even more youthful but it is still a miracle ten years later.
The excellence continues in the other roles. The radiant Lucia Popp, a little bit past her prime but still stunning, has the right voice to contrast Mimi's lyricism. She does a stunning high diminuendo in her Walz. Cappuccilli and Bruscantini (in the highlights) both make ideal Marcellos and Colline also gets luxurious casting with Nesterenko so there really is no weak link in the cast in these recordings. The sound won't dissapoint either, nor will Schippers in the highlights with conducting almost as moving as Kleiber.
I'd suggest you looked for the dvd of this 1979 performance but if that's not possible I'm sure you'll also enjoy the audio version. One of my favourite Bohemes, together with the classic Serafin/Tebaldi/Bergonzi recording."