The Metropolitan Opera HD Live: Season 2, Episode 7

Puccini: La Bohème (5 Apr. 2008)

TV Episode  |   |  Music
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 23 users  
Reviews: 2 user

Imagine a world where taste and sensitivity have been overrun by gaudy excess and marketing hyperbole, where Puccini's quiet, intimate love-story can at last be told with A Cast of Thousands and a Real, Live Military Marching Band.


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Episode credited cast:
Angela Gheorghiu ...
Ramón Vargas ...
Ainhoa Arteta ...
Ludovic Tézier ...
Oren Gradus ...
Quinn Kelsey ...
Paul Plishka ...
Benoît and Alcindoro
Nicola Luisotti ...
Himself - Conducted by
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Meredith Derr ...
Elena Doria ...
Herself - Children's Chorus Director
Herself - Host
Robert Maher ...
Costomhouse Officer


The perennial Puccini crowd-pleaser, with its tale of life and love among the Parisian artists of the 1840s, is brought to the big screen in the Met's famous production, originally conceived by Franco Zefirelli. We know the outcome even before the first act ends, but Puccini's music is so moving, so powerfully simple and direct, that it never fails. Puccini's genius sense of drama and emotion shines through in the final moments of the opera; where a lesser composer would likely end the story with the death of the heroine, a big "bang-crash" from the orchestra, Puccini does the opposite. He sustains the suspense for a few more minutes, ever so quietly, as he shows each of the surviving characters whispering and realizing, until Rodolfo, the last to see the truth, finally reacts. That is where the power of this opera comes from. Written by anonymous

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Release Date:

5 April 2008 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

A truly wonderful La Boheme
24 July 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

La Boheme is not my second favourite Puccini opera after Tosca, but also one of my favourite operas. The story is very poignant and the music is typical Puccini, melodious and gorgeous. And I wanted to see this Met production, as they rarely disappoint in my opinion. This La Boheme is no exception.

Hosted beguilingly and intelligently by soprano Renee Fleming, this is a truly wonderful La Boheme. Beautifully played by the orchestra and sensitively conducted, on a musical front I can't fault this production. Nor can I visually. The sets are huge and just lovely, and the costumes while never fluttery are very sumptuous, particularly Musetta's.

The video directing, lighting and sound are all top notch quality. The chorus throughout act 2 and the beginning of act 3 are balanced and sung nicely. The performances are excellent too. Angela Gheorghiu, although her act 1 entrance could have been a little less seductive, is a very touching Mimi. She looks the part of the consumptive seamstress, and sings with a husky yet very dark and beautiful tone. Her Si Mi Chiamano Mimi and Donde Lieta Usci are sung with real sensitivity and felt genuinely from the heart.

Ramon Vargas is a Rodolfo that is sensitive, ardent, subtle and intense. He sings with real musicality and sweetness, and I loved his delicate high note during Che Gelida Manina. His chemistry with Gheorghiu is also most notable. Ainhoa Arteta is a witty and delightful Musetta, with her Quando M'en Vo really making me smile, and apart from the end of act 1, the quartet and final scene, I find her change of heart from seductive and outspoken to humble one of the most touching parts of La Boheme.

Ludovic Tezier is powerful as Marcello. He has a strong voice and not too stolid in the acting either. He reacts well to Musetta during La Commedia Stupenda...Quando M'en Vo, his scene with Mimi is stunning on both his and Gheorghiu's part, the act 3 quartet is enough to break the heart and Vargas and Tezier sing wonderfully together during In Un Coupe...O Mimi Tu Non Piu Torni, yet another affecting part of the opera.

Schunard and Colline are sung and acted very well done, Colline's Vecchio Zimmara is very intelligently phrased. I also want to mention Paul Plishka, who is excellent as both Benoit and Alcindoro and one of the best for me in either role vocally too. The final scene is as it should be, absolutely heart-rending, the death itself is beautifully done and Vargas's Mimis sound genuine and not too strained.

In conclusion, wonderful. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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