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:
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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classical | See All (1) »







Release Date:

5 April 2008 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

Big Breakfast
28 May 2012 | by (Birmingham, England) – See all my reviews

This production from the New York Met has the unlikely-looking pairing of Angela Gheorghiu and Ramon Vargas as Mimi and Rodolfo. They are both vocally in fine form but La Gheorghiu looks as though she could eat Vargas for breakfast. There is a fine Marcello, sung by Ludovic Tezier and a not-so fine Musetta from Ainhoa Arteta.

This is an old Franco Zeffirelli production. I have seen a film of the same production from La Scala in 2003 with Cristina Gallardo-Domas and Marcello Alvarez. It appeared to me then, and it still appears to me, that Zeffirelli concentrates on the spectacular aspects of this opera at the expense of the detail. The Act II Café Momas scene is certainly spectacular, as is the Act III snow scene. But the moment when Marcello yields to Musetta is lost in the Act II spectacle and Mimi's eavesdropping as Rodolfo tells Marcello that he fears she is dying is lost in the huge snowscape. Likewise, the "O Suave Fanciula" moment in Act I and Rodolfo's non-realisation that Mimi is dead in Act IV also make no impact. Still, this production still has a lot to offer, although, I think that Gallardo-Domas and Alvarez edge it over Ghiorghi and Vargas.

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