PUCCINI Bohème/Soundtrack Highl. / Netrebko, Villa 4777474
With its youthful vitality, nostalgia and vivid characters, "Bohème" has attracted filmmakers since silent days, but never as convincingly as this . . . [Villazón as Rodolfo] sings with a focused intensity which at times recalls Caruso, and makes a scruffily credible hero . . . Netrebko's creamy-voiced Mimì is no naive little seamstress . . . but her anguish in Act III is no less heartfelt . . . the acting Schaunard is excellent . . . A really good stage video . . . lovers' seer intensity and Dornhelm's cinematic vision, expanded in the accompanying documentary, make this one of the finest opera films ever -- unmissable.
. . . Netrebko's "new" voice -- richer and fuller now that she is in her late thirties -- is well suited both to her characterization and to Puccini's ripe vocal lines . . . She digs deeply into the performance and is particularly wrenching during the tortured course of Acts III and IV . . . [Nicole Cabell] throws herself into the proceedings with gusto . . .