Puccini: La Bohème (CD) - Met Opera
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La Bohème (CD) - Met Opera
Composer(s): PUCCINI, GIACOMO
Artist(s): TUCKER SAYAO ANTONICELLI CHORUS & ORCHESTRA OF THE METROPOLITAN OPERA ASSOCIATION
Label: SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT (SME2)
Sony Classical announces a further batch of complete recordings from the CBS/Sony and RCA Victor catalogues.
The newest installment of this popular series features some unusual repertoire as well as documents of the New York Metropolitan Opera in its postwar heyday.
Puccini’s La Bohème from 1947 is a classic “Old Met company” performance, starring the leading American tenor of the day, Richard Tucker, as Rodolfo and the delightful Brazilian soprano Bidú Sayão as Mimì.
Tucker had sung his first Rodolfo only a month before, but, as Gramophone observed, “he sounds like part of a team, each member of which knows this opera and this production of it inside out.
He is in fine, youthful, effortlessly produced voice and his line is immaculately sustained, never broken by histrionics. All the others are first-class ensemble singers but the star, undoubtedly, is Bidú Sayão. Her voice has great charm and touching purity, she sings expressively but never overdoes her acting, and the intimacy of her portrayal, which makes the last act so moving, is perhaps surprising from a soprano who had sung this role so often in such a huge auditorium. … [Conductor Giuseppe] Antonicelli’s control of rubato is admirable, the fruit no doubt of having worked with these singers in these roles so often.”
One of the most popular operas of all time, Giacomo Puccini’s timeless masterpiece, La Bohème made its world première on February 1,1896, at the Teatro Regio in Turin, where it was conducted by the young Arturo Toscanini.
Set in Paris, in the 1830s, the near-destitute artist Marcello and poet Rodolfo try to keep warm on Christmas Eve in their Latin Quarter garret by feeding the stove with pages from Rodolfo’s latest drama. When Mimì, their neighbor, knocks on the door asking to borrow a candle she and Rodolfo
meet. Thus begins a fateful relationship as the two struggle to sustain their love against the challenges of poverty, jealousy and physical decline.
The Metropolitan Opera staged La Bohème for the first time on December 26,1900, with Luigi Mancinelli conducting. Since then it has been performed at the Met over a thousand times. Its 2018/2019 season production was hailed by the New York Times as “A thrilling La Bohème … radiating warmth … luxury cast”.
Puccini died in Brussels on November 29, 1924. The news of his death reached Rome during a performance of La Bohème. The opera was immediately stopped and the orchestra played Chopin’s Funeral March for the stunned audience.
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