Puccini: La Bohème
Berlin Philharmonic, Mirella Freni, Herbert von Karajan, Luciano Pavarotti, Elizabeth Harwood, Rolando Panerai, Gianni Maffeo, Nicolai Ghiaurov
This exemplary performance of Puccini’s famous bohemian tearjerker feels alive from the downbeat. That only gets stronger once a young tenor named Luciano Pavarotti enters, one minute into the proceedings, to deliver one of his essential performances in the role of Rodolfo. Soprano Mirella Freni’s Mimi is a key part of a superb cast too—witness her warm, affecting way with the would-be separation aria “Donde lieta uscì.” An undoubted high-point of Herbert von Karajan’s vast catalog, this is a thrilling demonstration of the energy of his conductor’s art.