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James Levine, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Renata Scotto, Luciano Pavarotti - Puccini: La Boheme (2005/1977)

Posted By: Vilboa
James Levine, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Renata Scotto, Luciano Pavarotti - Puccini: La Boheme (2005/1977)

James Levine, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Renata Scotto, Luciano Pavarotti - Puccini: La Bohème (2005/1977)
NTSC 4:3 (720x480) VBR | Italiano (LinearPCM, 2 ch) | (DTS, 5 ch) | (Dolby AC3, 6 ch) | 7.71 Gb (DVD9) | 123 min
Classical | Deutsche Grammophon | Sub: Italiano, English, Deutsch, Francais, Espanol, Chinese

This was the very first “Live from the Met” telecast, and its availability on DVD will no doubt give rise to intense nostalgia, as it did for me. (How young everyone looked!) There’s an authentic sense of occasion to this performance. It’s one thing to play to a packed house, another to play to a nationwide television audience, and with so many eyes upon them, everyone involved in this Bohème rose to the occasion. It’s by no means a perfect evening—what performance ever is?—but it’s a treasurable one for anyone who cares about this opera, the Met, or the principal singers.
Rodolfo was Pavarotti’s signature role, and he was in peak form in 1977. He is funny, warm, touching, and believable, and a consummate vocal stylist. The climactic high note in “Che gelida manina” is precarious, but at least Pavarotti is singing the aria in the original key! Scotto, perhaps a little past her prime, is nevertheless a most appealing and Italianate Mimì. Today’s young singers could learn a lot about coloring and shading their voices for expressive purposes from this performance alone. In the same vein as Magda Olivero and Claudia Muzio, her singing is a paragon of class, communication, and emotional authenticity. Wixell, sometimes an underrated singer, is just fine as Marcello, although his acting is rather generalized. Niska’s brittle Musetta is less impressive, but the brightness of her voice makes her an excellent foil for Scotto. Among the other Bohemians, Monk’s Schaunard shows the most personality. (Plishka doesn’t do as much with his “Overcoat Aria” as he might.) Velis is not an overly caricatured Alcindoro. Veteran Italo Tajo is memorable in his brief stint as Benoit. Levine moves the music along, but is unafraid to linger where lingering is appropriate. His flexible phrasing—consistently responded to by the singers—is what makes the music’s myriad expressive details come to life.Rodolfo was Pavarotti’s signature role, and he was in peak form in 1977. He is funny, warm, touching, and believable, and a consummate vocal stylist. The climactic high note in “Che gelida manina” is precarious, but at least Pavarotti is singing the aria in the original key! Scotto, perhaps a little past her prime, is nevertheless a most appealing and Italianate Mimì. Today’s young singers could learn a lot about coloring and shading their voices for expressive purposes from this performance alone. In the same vein as Magda Olivero and Claudia Muzio, her singing is a paragon of class, communication, and emotional authenticity. Wixell, sometimes an underrated singer, is just fine as Marcello, although his acting is rather generalized. Niska’s brittle Musetta is less impressive, but the brightness of her voice makes her an excellent foil for Scotto. Among the other Bohemians, Monk’s Schaunard shows the most personality. (Plishka doesn’t do as much with his “Overcoat Aria” as he might.) Velis is not an overly caricatured Alcindoro. Veteran Italo Tajo is memorable in his brief stint as Benoit. Levine moves the music along, but is unafraid to linger where lingering is appropriate. His flexible phrasing—consistently responded to by the singers—is what makes the music’s myriad expressive details come to life.

Cast:
Mimì - Renata Scotto
Musetta - Maralin Niska
Rodolfo - Luciano Pavarotti
Marcello - Ingvar Wixell
Schaunard - Allan Monk
Colline - Paul Plishka
Benoît - Italo Tajo
Alcindoro - Dale Cardwell
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Conductor - James Levine

James Levine, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Renata Scotto, Luciano Pavarotti - Puccini: La Boheme (2005/1977)
James Levine, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Renata Scotto, Luciano Pavarotti - Puccini: La Boheme (2005/1977)
James Levine, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Renata Scotto, Luciano Pavarotti - Puccini: La Boheme (2005/1977)
James Levine, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Renata Scotto, Luciano Pavarotti - Puccini: La Boheme (2005/1977)