Opera’s most touching tale of tragic romance will transport you to 19th century Paris with La Bohème.
The Florentine brings the 2013-2014 season to a grand finale with the soaring score of Giacomo Puccini, featuring famed soprano Alyson Cambridge in her Florentine Opera debut as Mimi alongside rising star and recording artist, tenor Noah Stewart (Don José in Carmen, 2012) as Rodolfo. Soprano Katrina Thurman (Musetta), baritone Corey McKern (Marcello), bass-baritone Matthew Treviño (Colline) make their Florentine debuts. Maestro Joseph Rescigno conducts the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Florentine Opera Chorus in this production directed by General Director William Florescu.
Opera’s most beloved work brings the Florentine’s monumental 2013-2014 Season to a close in grand operatic style.
Puccini’s La Bohème on DVD and CD
by Corliss Phillabaum
La Bohème was recorded more or less complete as early as 1918 and at least twice more prior to World War II. After the war, spurred by the introduction of long-playing records, many more recordings appeared which is unsurprising, considering the popularity of the opera on the stage. Video recordings began to appear in 1967 but the floodgates opened in the present century as DVD issues began to supplant studio-made audio recordings as the medium of choice for complete operas. For this survey I consulted nineteen performances on DVD, twelve of which date from after the beginning of the century. Of the twenty-six CD versions I consulted, only two originated in the current century, both of which derive from live concert performances rather than studio sessions. As usual I have omitted the large number of performances (audio or video), which have been issued “unofficially” as what used to be called “pirate” recordings.
The quality level of many of these recordings is very high. In my full discussions I have singled out six DVD versions and nine CD versions which I recommend. Among these recommended versions, my personal favorites, listed in each group in chronological order, are:
Smith: Barker, Hobson, Lemke, Douglas (Luhrmann, Australian Opera, 1993) (Kultur)
Welser-Möst: Gallardo-Domâs, Giordani, Volle, Mošuc (Sireuil, Zürich, 2005) (EMI)
Beecham: De Los Angeles, Bjoerling, Merrill, Amara (RCA Victor, 1956) (Naxos, Regis, mono)
Serafin: Tebaldi, Bergonzi, Bastianini, D’Angelo (Santa Cecilia, 1958) (Decca)
Humburg: Orgonasova, Welch, Previati, Gonzales (Czecho-Slovak Radio, 1990) (Naxos)
For detailed notes on these and all other versions I consulted, please use the links below to access the appropriate section.