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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Classical > Opera > Giacomo Puccini’s La Boheme (Blu-ray/La Bohème Live/Opus Arte/BBC)

Giacomo Puccini’s La Boheme (Blu-ray/La Bohème Live/Opus Arte/BBC)

 

Picture: B+     Sound: A-     Extras: D     Main Program: A-

 

 

We have thoroughly enjoyed several of the titles that Opus Arte is bringing forth, first in HD-DVD, and now in Blu-ray and the latest is Giacomo Puccini’s exquisite La Bohème, which is a must for Opera fans!  Quite frankly we can’t get enough of it and look forward for more productions to make their way to the format as well.  Right now it would appear that Opus Arte is one of the few companies that is really serious about getting their product into the HD world and they are reaping the benefits, then again so are the fans as this Blu-ray demonstrates!

 

This particular production of the masterful Puccini piece is perhaps one of the greatest interpretations under the production of Giancarlo del Monaco and the direction of Jesús López Cobos, plus the superb casting, which includes Inva Mula and Aquiles Machado.  The team here understood that they had something special and because of that shot the film using high definition equipment and utilized true surround sound with proper microphone placement, similar to that of the SACD for Ravel’s Bolero, which we reviewed here:

 

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/425/Ravel+-+Bolero+(SACD/Mobile+Fidelity)

 

 

La Bohème is an operatic masterpiece in Italian libretto and was first performed in 1896 at the Teatro Regio, which was conducted by Arturo Toscanini. La Bohème is broken into four acts, they are as follows:

 

Act One: In the Four Bohemians’ Garrett

Act Two: Quartier Latin

Act Three: At the Toll Gate

Act Four: Back at the Garrett

 

 

The opera is arranged with 10 main roles: A poet, a seamstress, a painter, a musician, a philosopher, a singer, a landlord, a state councilor, a toy vendor, and a customs sergeant, who occupy the tenor, soprano, baritone, and bass parts, then there is an orchestra that is scored for the following orchestration: 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, bass trombone, harp, timpani, drum, triangle, cymbal, bass drum, xylophone, glockenspiel, campanelle, violin 1 & 2, viola, violoncello, and contrabass.  Some people will also recognize the storyline, as it has become the basis for the popular Broadway musical Rent.

 

Like some of the other Opus Arte Blu-rays this one is presented in 1.78 X 1 framing with a 1080p High Definition transfer, but this was shot in full High Definition and the result is one of the better transfers of its kind that we have seen.  The production features a large usage of dark sets that predominately have either a bluish tone or an orange-ish tone, very rarely do we get bright daylight-like scenes.  Because of the dark nature, there are some moments where the HD cameras are unable to pickup some of the deep blacks without it becoming slightly soft, but aside from that detail is rich, detailed, with lots of depth and character.  Skin tones are natural, even though there is a certain level of theatricality to the lighting schemes and design, the transfer is still capable of offering contrast and dimensionality that is often lost on DVD.  Here we have a more realistic movement, as the frame rate is more like 30fps than 24fps, which gives a slightly more realistic take on things.  The bright white subtitles stand out rather sharply as well and make for an enjoyable presentation.

 

Audio is also quite good with two options here: 2.0 PCM and 5.0 PCM, both of which are uncompressed and offer a very similar vibe, but the 5.0 mix feels more like a live presentation as this was intended to be with loads of ambience to give the impression that you are actually inside the theater.  The recording here is quite impressive as there are many moments where singing is overlapping and yet it never becomes a problem for the mix as all vocal parts are discernable and complimentary as well.  Fidelity, richness, and smoothness are all abundant and apparent here in all vocal ranges and offer some of the best that we’ve heard on Blu-ray, even surpassing some of the best material that we have heard on SACD.  The instrumentation is a bit more muted behind the vocal track, which seems intentional, as the music is more supportive in this case.

 

I just can’t say enough good things about this presentation and look forward to much more!

 

 

For more of our Blu-ray reviews from Opus Arte check out the following:

 

Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/7439

 

Swan Lake http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/7352/Swan+Lake/Cecilia

 

Celia & Bryn http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/7352/Swan+Lake/Cecilia

 

The Magic Flute http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/6892/Die+Zauberflote

 

 

-   Nate Goss


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