Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Giacomo Puccini, Antonino Votto, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra|
Puccini: La Bohème
Listen to Samples
Demarest | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | 11/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had just come out of the New York Opera Company's production of La Boheme, and wanted to buy a recording at a nearby bookstore. I picked this one up, and I don't regret it at all.
The clarity of the recording, which doesn't seem to have been a live performance as there is no applause or audience noise, is wonderful. Renata Scotto's portrayal of Mimi is amazing, and it moved me to pick up this same label's recording of her as Violetta in Verdi's La traviata. Antonio Votto is a great conductor, and I enjoy the other voices as well.
On the whole, you won't regret picking this one up, and it's extremely reasonable in price. Happy listening!"
A Ponderous Performance
William T. Clegg | Pocatello, Idaho United States | 08/19/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"From the time of its release in the early 1960's, this recording has had a less than stellar reputation, confirmed for me when I finally managed to acquire a copy and hear it for myself. After a couple of auditions, I had to concur with those who have written before me in various publications that, in spite of the presence of two of the 20th century's great vocal actors, this isn't even a Boheme for a die-hard opera lover.
The main problem with it is the conductor. Votto begins his pacing of the opera as if he were walking on broken glass, draining the sparkle and life from the first and second acts. He finally finds some verve in the drama of the third act, but still sounds likes he's conducting Parsifal instead of Boheme. There are some almost gripping moments in the fourth act, but they are offset by other moments that drag on too long and make maudlin what could have been deeply affecting.
Renata Scotto works as hard as she can to inject charm and grace into her performance of Mimi and succeeds in doing some beautiful things, but as no man is an island, neither is Scotto an opera. In spite of her vocal freshness and dramatic acumen, she just can't overcome the pedantic conducting and the inadequacies of her most-crucial colleagues. Tito Gobbi is badly miscast here, lacking the requisite youth; it sounds more like Scarpia wandered into the wrong opera. His sound and fury signify nothing here. Gianni Poggi makes a fairly dull, provincial lump of a Rodolfo, sounding his best in the third act but hooting his way through acts 1,2, and 4. Also, there is nothing subtle about his handling of Mimi's death. Jolanda Meneguzzer is actually quite good as Musetta, the acid in her tone fitting her characterization of the grisette. The other members of the cast would have been great in a better-paced performance.
The sound is bright and clear early 60's stereo, but there is little attempt at using the sonic staging possibilities of that medium. The orchestra of the Florence May Festival plays well. However, even at the bargain price, this is not a recommendable performance. For anyone interested in what this opera can be, the classic Beecham/de los Angeles/Bjoerling version still stands as one of the best. The Solti/Caballe/Domingo version is an exciting alternative, in spite of the indifferent remastering it received in its most recent release."