La Boheme has always been one of my favourites, as far as Puccini goes only Tosca I prefer(and just barely). This is a very good performance, much better than I expected anyway, but not one of my favourite productions like 1988, 1965, 1977, 1980, 2008 and 1982(Met). For recordings my favourite is Karajan's(Freni and Pavarotti), followed by Solti's(Domingo and Caballe) and Beecham's(Bjorling and DeLos Angeles).
I did like the costumes and sets overall, colourful in Act 2 and the garret setting looked appropriately cold. The lighting at times though was too dark, this was appropriate for Act 4 but the start of Act 1 for example could have been better lit, and some of the filming of Act 2 was a little too distant for my tastes. The sound is excellent however.
As is the orchestral playing, which is typically lush and poetic, and Stephen Mercurio's conducting has enough subtlety to make this La Boheme a moving experience. The singing is great, Daniela Dessi is moving and passionate and she sings beautifully. Andrea Bocelli was a big surprise, the singing while not large in size is still distinctive and beautiful but his ardent and very heartfelt acting considering that he's blind was a very pleasant surprise for me.
Patrizia Ciofi's Musetta is witty and delightful if a tad shrill in places with the worst offender being the big top B in Quando M'en Vo. Renato Girolami is a powerful Marcello, with his chemistry with Ciofi entertaining and his singing with Bocelli in O Mimi Tu Non Piu Torni is beautifully blended, making the duet even more moving.
Of the rest of the cast, Erwin Schrott was a richly voiced Colline, but I was taken with the Schaunard of Davide Damiani, finding him very characterful like in La Commedia Stupenda. All in all, a very good Boheme. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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