Search - Giacomo Puccini, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Zubin Mehta :: Puccini - La Bohème / Bocelli, Frittoli, Mei, Gavanelli, Luperi, de Carolis, Israel PO, Mehta

Puccini - La Bohème / Bocelli, Frittoli, Mei, Gavanelli, Luperi, de Carolis, Israel PO, Mehta
Giacomo Puccini, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Zubin Mehta
Puccini - La Bohème / Bocelli, Frittoli, Mei, Gavanelli, Luperi, de Carolis, Israel PO, Mehta
Genres: Pop, Classical
  •  Track Listings (18) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (18) - Disc #2

The either-love-him-or-hate-him tenor sensation Andrea Bocelli fulfills his lifelong dream of recording Puccini's rapturous La Bohème, thereby affording fans (who may have previously shunned opera) access to this magic...  more »


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The either-love-him-or-hate-him tenor sensation Andrea Bocelli fulfills his lifelong dream of recording Puccini's rapturous La Bohème, thereby affording fans (who may have previously shunned opera) access to this magical art form. A fragile vulnerability graces Bocelli's Rodolfo. His tenor's tearful tenderness always seems one step away from breaking, but it never does; he always delivers. Instead of opening his throat and letting the voice ride the wave of the breath, Bocelli unabashedly throws his voice towards the high notes. And it works! The sound is light, nasal, and effortlessly produced, and the money notes at his tenor's top expand as vividly as a hot-air balloon. Like a pop singer, Bocelli leans on the middle voice. What he lacks in phrasing, he makes up for through his commitment to passion. Conductor Zubin Mehta's sensitive orchestra teases, expands, frolics, and enriches, frequently upstaging the singers with his rich orchestral emotion. Barbara Frittoli is a vocal battleship, bringing an unpleasantly thick and wobbly soprano to the role of the frail Mimì and frequently submerging Bocelli under steely vocal heft. Her Mimì is not the maker of delicate flowers, but the person who stomps on them when they've accidentally fallen to the floor. Bocelli is not the greatest Rodolfo on record. But if this recording creates a new generation of Puccini lovers, it may be his greatest musical contribution. --Barbara Eisner Bayer

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CD Reviews

I can't wait for Bocelli's Siegfried!
(1 out of 5 stars)

"Wow! Reading all the reviews giving this recording five stars was so exciting! I just ran right over to my sister's house (she's a die-hard B. fan) and borrowed this recording.In my wildest dreams, I could not have imagined a "Boheme" like this one. Bocelli is simply - well, words fail me. Suffice it to say that he sings with blinding brilliance (if you will pardon the expression). Surely such sounds have never issued from a tenor's throat in this part. It takes genuine talent to make Puccini sound like Andrew Lloyd Webber (normally it's the other way around). My one concern about this recording is that I sincerely hope the microphone sitting on Andrea's tonsils did not damage his precious vocal cords. As for Pavarotti, Domingo, Corelli, Bergonzi, Björling, Tucker, Martinelli, Gigli, Caruso - Bocelli is in a different league entirely. Forget them. (I know Andrea would like for us to forget them, too, so lets respect his wishes on this one.) Tenors with genuine talent, vocal technique, a sense of style, and the ability to sing on pitch are plentiful in the history of opera; Bocelli provides us with a refreshing alternative, something really new - a Rodolfo who sounds like a Parpignol. (Think of this as the "reverse James McCracken" approach.) It remains only to be said that the rest of the recording is fully worthy of the tenor. And now, I have good news for Bocelli fans. EMI has finalized plans to record Andrea as Siegfried in a new complete recording of Wagner's Ring cycle. (For you opera newbies, that is a series of four operas that lasts 17 hours and gives your tushie a real work-out, but Andrea will make it worth it.) Also in the cast will be Annie Lennox as Brünnhilde, Sting as Wotan, and Ozzy Ozborne as Alberich. Other plans for Andrea include "Il Trovatore" with Madonna and "Tosca" with Whitney Houston (Aretha Franklin sings Scarpia).Without a doubt, everyone who likes this recording of "La Boheme" has taste fully worthy of Andrea Bocelli. It simply confirms what many of the most knowledgeable opera fans have long known: Andrea Bocelli is the Florence Foster Jenkins of tenors. Long May He Sing!"
A "Boheme" to stink up the catalogue
J. S. Calvert | Houston, Texas United States | 04/28/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)

""La Boheme" has, for the most part, fared well on records. There are many classic recordings of this, the most frequently performed opera in the world: the Beecham with De los Angeles and Björling; the Votto with Callas and di Stefano; the Serafin with Tebaldi and Bergonzi; the Karajan with Freni and Pavarotti. Other recordings with various merits include the ones with Tucker and Moffo, Peerce and Albanese (under Toscaini), Domingo and Caballé, Gigli and Albanese, Scotto and Kraus, and more recently, Alagna and Gheorghiu.This new turkey of a "Boheme," utterly lacking in any artistic (as opposed to crassly commercial) justification, is not even worthy to be mentioned in the same review as the foregoing, much less to be compared to them. To anyone who knows and cares about Puccini's music, this recording is not only unnecessary and indifensible, it is offensive. There is so much blame to go around that it is difficult to know where to begin, but let's start with the conductor, Mehta, who apparently cannot make up his mind whether he wants Puccini's poor opera to be pummelled to death with a sledgehammer or drowned in a slough of sentimental goo. Barbara Frittoli has a pleasant if undistinguished voice but she is a total cipher as Mimi, devoid of personality or individuality of timbre. The Marcello and Musetta are good, and if they don't erase memories of their more illustrious predecessors on disc, they do not embarass themselves, either. But then, who buys "Boheme" for the Marcello and Musetta?So let's face it - the entire rationale for this recording is pop star and operatic tenor wannabe, Andrea Bocelli; the rest of the recording is just so much surplusage. And so how does the Great Bocelli fare as Rodolfo? To put it bluntly, the man may be a fine singer of pop music and folk songs, but in opera, he couldn't sing his way out of a paper bag. In spite of the blatant miking, which sounds like he was crooning directly into the microphone (no doubt he was), it is painfully obvious that Bocelli's modest resources are utterly inadequate to the demands of this role. High notes are lunged at and thin, ends of phrases are unsupported and often simply drop off, and he is incapable of any real dynamic variation, singing most of the role at an unvarying mezza forte. Most damaging of all, his voice is incapable of expanding and blooming to fill out Puccini's grand lyric phrases. All the digital wizardry in the world cannot turn Mr. Bocelli into what he is not, and what he manifestly and undeniably is not is an operatic tenor. The computer jockeys likewise cannot create in Bocelli any sense of Puccini style. As a previous reviewer observed, Bocelli sings this music like it was Andrew Lloyd Webber, with a soupy, crooning style totally unsuited to the music.None of this, of course, is going to deter Mr. Bocelli's determined fans, 99% of whom have no point of reference for comparison, from buying this recording. And if their love affair with "Andrea" causes them to buy this recording and thereby to strike up an acquaintance with "La Boheme" and, possibly, with opera as a whole, I would be the first to celebrate - so long as they don't think that in listening to this recording they have really heard "La Boheme" or Puccini, or that they have heard any representative example of what a truly great operatic tenor sounds like.This recording really stinks. Eees so bad, eees terrible."
A perfect time to "discover" opera....
Laurie Eckhout | Juneau, AK USA | 11/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Puccini's, "LaBoheme" is a wonderful opera, both musically and by way of its storyline. If you are new to opera and a Bocelli fan, this is a perfect opportunity to hear this tenor at his BEST and become acquainted with what opera is all about. It is worth the effort. The entire ensemble makes this recording a gem. Read the libretto, follow the drama, get to know the characters. Andrea's beautiful voice is a standout within this cast of singers, but everyone is a pleasure to listen to. The familiar arias, "Che gelida manina" and "O soave fanciulla" alone, are worth the price of this cd. Bocelli's voice soars on its own and melds deliciously when teamed with others. An opera you can enjoy over and over again, in the comfort of your home or walking along a wetlands path. I highly recommend this CD to Bocelli fans. For those who are not yet familiar with Bocelli, I hope you too take this opportunity to discover the beauty and passion that so many admiring fans have succumbed to, upon hearing Andrea Bocelli sing. Enjoy~"