Puccini: La Bohème - Pavarotti, Freni, Bruscantini; Schippers. Roma, 1969
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It is a fair bit of operatic legend that Mirella Freni and Luciano Pavarotti grew up in the same neighborhood in Modena, their mothers working together at a cigar factory. There must have been something in the water (or the cigars) because, as this performance from 1967 clearly shows, Modena's finest were able to project youth, vitality and strength into everything they sang together. Rodolfo and Mimì were perhaps their best roles opposite one another, and they complement each other perfectly in this recording. Sesto Bruscantini's thunderous Marcello and Nicola Ghiuselev's pensive Colline are highlights of the supporting cast. The recording is captured in beautiful sound under the baton of Thomas Schippers.