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Subject: Re: la boheme
From: Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 25 Feb 2018 18:12:51 -0500

text/plain (132 lines)

For me, it's the section in "Donde lieta" where Mimi mentions the bonnet. The way she 
has to repeat "se vuoi" just to get the thought out (this has to be so hard for Mimi to 
say), leading to that soaring melody on "ricordo d'amor" - a perfect tearjerker if ever 
there was one. 

The little trio before that (Mimi still hiding, realizing how right Rodolfo is about her health, 
etc), and the orchestral music leading to Rodolfo discovering Mimi is there - plenty of 
tears there too. ;-)

But - here's a funny story. First time listening to the complete opera - I was probably 12 
or so. I didn't have a vocal score to follow (as I often tried to have), but I assume I had a 
libretto at least. Anyway, we get to the end of Act III, and I'm in no way expecting that 
big "ba-da!" at the end, after all that quiet music. Scared me to death, lol - I remember 
literally making a small jump out of my seat! (Of course, once I got to know the opera 
better, I realized how perfect that little figure is - it's a neat little framing device at the 
beginning and end of the act.) But every time I hear that ending, I think about how much 
it surprised me that first time. 

On Sun, 25 Feb 2018 13:35:41 -0700, Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Interesting review.  I tend to agree with you and Bob Rideout except for
>me, Act  3 is the heart of Boheme.  For me, it is the crux and climax of
>the opera.  Everything in in the last act is just gathering momentum to the
>conclusion and Mimi's death.  Act 3 is where your heart is torn out.  The
>quartet leaves me in tears.  I'm amazed at the youthful quality and heart
>of Boheme every time I hear it.  Its really hard to ruin it.  That being
>said, I love Fanciulla!  Minnie is my golden girl.
>On Sat, Feb 24, 2018 at 9:22 PM, kurt youngmann <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Some ramblings about today’s performance, seen in the HD telecast and
>> about the opera, itself:
>> When I was young, the end of La Boheme made me cry. Now I’m no longer
>> young and I find myself in tears from practically the beginning of the
>> opera. Even the happy parts make me sad because I know what is happening,
>> what is going to happen. Some of the characters really existed. Didn’t
>> Schaunard, for example (né Alexandre Schanne) become a manufacturer of toys
>> and do quite well financially. Rodolfo (Henri Murger himself, I believe)
>> fared less well, never achieving great popularity and dying at only 38.
>> Colline, as well, may have existed as Gustave Colline - at least I believe
>> I remember reading so. Mimi may be more difficult to trace since she’s a
>> composite of two (perhaps three? - I don’t remember offhand) characters in
>> Murger’s work.
>> One of the pleasures of this beautiful old Met production is that it looks
>> and feels like La Boheme. It’s not set in a diner or at Coney Island or in
>> Las Vegas. Puccini and his brilliant librettists had a charming story and
>> very human characters from which to draw this masterpiece. Franco
>> Zeffirelli presented it in the way it was meant to be experienced, not in a
>> way to make it “more relevant to today’s audiences.”  It was my first
>> favorite opera and my love for it has never diminished. Its relevance can’t
>> be, and shouldn’t be, improved upon; it’s a universal tragedy of great, but
>> doomed, love.
>> I wholeheartedly agree with our wise colleague, Bob Rideout, that this
>> opera is a masterpiece. Act II is, to me, one of the greatest acts of any
>> opera. The piece can shine even when not performed in a world class way.
>> Today was a good example of this. Among my early experiences with Mimi were
>> Rosanna Carteri, Renata Tebaldi in her magnificent prime and Mirella Freni.
>> Ms. Yoncheva, who appears to work hard to give her best, doesn’t compare.
>> She hasn’t Carteri’s or Freni’s youthful abandon or Tebaldi’s lush 
>> But I very much enjoyed her effort. My early Rodolfo tenors were Giuseppe
>> di Stefano and Jussi Bjoerling, both of whom were giants among giants.
>> Michael Fabbiano bewilders me. When I first heard him (in the Met auditions
>> film) I thought I was hearing the next great tenor. I saw him as Gennaro in
>> 2011 and was mightily impressed. Hearing a few of his early complete
>> performances in broadcasts I continued my expectations. Last November’s des
>> Grieux in the San Francisco Manon didn’t sound like him at his best; I
>> blamed it on a curved wall in the scenery that seemed to distort the sound
>> of his very forward-placed timbre. Today I thought I heard some sign of
>> tentativeness or restraint in his vocal production. But, as with Ms.
>> Yoncheva, I liked him very much. The opera is, after all, La Boheme and one
>> loves the characters. I disagree with those who complained of Maestro
>> Armiliato’s conducting.
>> The real stars of today’s performance were Franco Zeffirelli, Giuseppe
>> Giacosa, Luigi Illica and - most of all - Giacomo Puccini!
>> Kurt Youngmann
>> "Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through
>> our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that
>> democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” -
>> Isaac Asimov
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