Puccini: La Bohème

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.

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