Puccini: La Boheme / Chailly, Livermore, James, Machado, Romeu [blu-ray]

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This Blu-ray Disc is only playable on Blu-ray Disc players and not compatible with standard DVD players. Also available on standard DVD Giacomo Puccini La...
This Blu-ray Disc is only playable on Blu-ray Disc players and not compatible with standard DVD players.

Also available on standard DVD

Giacomo Puccini
La Bohème
from the Palau de les Arts "Reina Sofía", Valencia

Directed by Riccardo Chailly
Staged by Davide Livermore

Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana
Cor de la Generalitat Valenciana
Escola Coral Veus Juntes de Quart de Poblet
Escolania de la Mare de Déu dels Desemparats

Gal James (Mimì), Aquiles Machado (Rodolfo)
Carmen Romeu (Musetta), Massimo Cavalletti (Marcello)
Gianluca Buratto (Colline), Mattia Olivieri (Schaunard)
Matteo Peirone (Benoît)

The musical notes of this Puccini masterpiece provide the starting point and foundation for a new, highly successful collaboration between Riccardo Chailly and Davide Livermore. In their interpretation, there is "no moment, no movement, that goes against the musical meaning" (R. Chailly). The result is an energetic, authentic, and atmospherically strong Bohème, "in which every sacred phrase receives its own orchestral colour, its own dynamic and its own expression." (Corriere della Sera)

Bonus Film (20 min)
“The Making of La Bohème in Valencia”
(Subtitles: Italian, English, German, French)

Picture Format Blu-ray: Full HD
Sound Formats Blu-ray: DTS HD Master Audio, PCM Stereo
Region Code: 0 (worldwide)
Subtitles: Original (Italian), English, German, French, Korean, Japanese
Running Time: 114:13 min
Number of Discs: 1

R E V I E W: 3752600.az_PUCCINI_La_Riccardo.html

PUCCINI La bohème & Riccardo Chailly, cond; Gal James (Mimì); Aquiles Machado (Rodolfo); Massimo Cavalletti (Marcello); Carmen Romeu (Musetta); Mattia Olivieri (Schaunard); Gianluca Buratto (Colline); Matteo Peirone (Benoit); Andrea Snarski (Alcindoro); Pablo Garcia López (Parpignol); Comunitat Valencia O; Ch of the Generalitat Valencia ACCENTUS 10283 (Blu-ray: 114:13+20:00) Live: Valencia 2012

& The Making of La Bohème

All major opera houses need a production of Puccini’s ever popular La bohème. It provides almost guaranteed full houses, is not terribly difficult to cast, and is a staple of the operatic repertoire. Now, in conjunction with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Valencia has theirs, strictly traditional, with a visual thematic emphasis on the Impressionist masters of the era, Renoir, Van Gogh, Degas. Several paintings of this genre are projected onto the garret wall in act I, while they simultaneously appear on Marcello’s easel. Hopefully, the boys weren’t burning those in the stove for heat before Rodolfo’s play is sacrificed. It seems like all new productions of Bohème lately have attempted to outdo one another in the act II party scene in and around the Café Momus. This one comes with marching children, circus performers, ballet dancers, comedic waiters, and an overactive chorus reminiscent of the famous Zeffirelli style, all performed in front of a Van Gogh-inspired painting of the Paris skyline. It is very entertaining, if not a bit overwhelming to both Mimì and the video viewer.

The young cast seen here is quite good. Baby-faced Venezuelan tenor Aquiles Machado looks a bit like a young Andrea Bocelli with fatter cheeks, but he sings quite well in the role of Rodolfo. At times, Machado forces his high notes at double forte, but when he is singing more softly he is charming. I believe this is one of Machado’s signature roles, but even so, now and then his acting can be a bit sketchy. Young Israeli soprano Gal James makes a lovely Mimì and is quite the best voice on the set. Her famous act I aria, “Mi chiamano Mimì” (“They often call me Mimì but my real name is Mr. Earl.” Oops, sorry, that’s the Cadillacs) is a highlight, as is the duet with Rodolfo that follows. James brings enough pathos to the dying young seamstress in act IV to elicit tears, as we all secretly hope she will. Of the other bohemians, the Colline of Gianluca Buratto stands out, particularly in the coat aria in act IV. Carmen Romeu delivers a quite lovely Musetta’s waltz in the midst of all the gaiety in act II. All of the principal cast sings quite well, as do the chorus and the children. Maestro Riccardo Chailly takes firm control of the Comunitat Valencia orchestra and together they deliver a vigorous rendition of Puccini’s score. One quibble here: The sound is unbalanced, with the singers quite recessed, more noticeable in PCM stereo than in the surround format.

So, did we really need another video version of La bohème? Perhaps not. I make the number of competing video sets to be in the low 20s, with seven now on high definition Blu-ray disc, including this one. My own favorite is the Met production with Angela Gheorghiu and Ramón Vargas, where the singing is superior and we get the real Zeffirelli production. But there are many fine choices, now including this one where you can enjoy the Impressionistic tinting and the quite manic party scene. Recommended.

FANFARE: Bill White

Product Description:

  • Release Date: November 19, 2013

  • UPC: 4260234830538

  • Catalog Number: ACC 10283

  • Label: ACCENTUS Music

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Composer: Giacomo Puccini

  • Conductor: Riccardo Chailly

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Valencia Community Orchestra, Valencia Regional Government Choir

  • Performer: Aquiles Machado, Carmen Romeu, Gal James, Gianluca Buratto, Massimo Cavalletti, Matteo Peirone, Mattia Olivieri