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The songs of La Bohème will live forever

Our Own Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin demonstrates the enduring quality of art with two performances of La Bohème four decades apart.

Giacomo Puccini: La Bohème
Metropolitan Opera
Giuseppe Antonicelli, conductor
16 December 1948
In-house recording (amazing sound quality!)

Mimì – Bidu Sayão
Rodolfo – Jussi Björling
Musetta – Mimi Benzell
Marcello – John Brownlee
Schaunard – Hugh Thompson
Colline – Nicola Moscona
Benoît – Melchiorre Luise
Alcindoro – Melchiorre Luise
Parpignol – Anthony Marlowe
A sergeant – Lawrence Davidson

Giacomo Puccini: La Bohème
Metropolitan Opera
Carlos Kleiber, conductor
25 January 1988
In-house recording

Mimì – Mirella Freni
Rodolfo – Luciano Pavarotti
Musetta – Barbara Daniels
Marcello – Jonathan Summers
Schaunard – Thomas Hampson
Colline – Gwynne Howell

This was the second of 19 performances Carlos Kleiber conducted at the Met through October 1990.

Requested by and lovingly dedicated to La Cieca.


  • mirywi says:

    The sound on the 1948 recording is excellent! It feels like I’m on stage with the singers I like that steady and bright voweled Mimi and Björling is a miracle. Thank you for posting.
    Is the 1988 performance a private recording? Man I wish I had gone to that.

  • RobNYNY says:

    Yes, I do have a couple of suggestions. Don’t get bent out of shape when someone observes that a recording does not live up to the touted audio quality. Don’t get bent out of shape when someone says an that old recording of a competent but not great singer is not necessarily a great performance, and is in fact, no better than she ever sang in the house. Don’t get bent out of shape when someone who has heard a singer in the house a lot of times (New York, Chicago, Vienna) has a different opinion from yours. Don’t get bent out of shape because someone states a fact about rhythmic accuracy, and the best you can do is act all passive-aggressive.

    I appreciate that you post these historical recordings, but I don’t need to like them all.