MMM | Franco Zeffirelli's "La Bohème"
Franco Zeffirelli's "La Bohème" with Mirella Freni, conducted by Herbert von Karajan, made opera history.
© sounding images
© sounding images
This magic moment of music opens a window into the tender and melancholically intimate story of Mimì in bohemian Paris. The studio-made opera film was the first musical to be directed by Herbert von Karajan and was Franco Zeffirelli’s first opera film production.
Zeffirelli's production of "La Bohème" at La Scala in Milan was such a resounding success that Herbert von Karajan and Zeffirelli were compelled to turn it into an opera film. The soundtrack, featuring Mirella Freni and Gianni Raimondi, among others, was recorded first. The stage was recreated in a film studio and the production was shot in Technicolor – the best film technology available at the time. The young Mirella Freni, who sang the role of Mimì for over 50 years, gained fame the world over, not least because of her natural and pure voice.
The screen adaptation of Puccini's masterpiece of "La Bohème" was a bold attempt to marry the art of film with the opera stage. Zeffirelli's staging and the film's international success have made "La Bohème" one of the most-performed operas of all time. The original production has been revived again and again and is still performed today.
South African soprano Pretty Yende, who was a student of Mirella Freni and later sang in Zeffirelli's production of "La Bohème", recounts her experiences with her mentor. As a very young tenor, Franco-Italian singer Roberto Alagna sang alongside Mirella Freni in the Zeffirelli production and is grateful to count himself among the great tenors – thanks in large part to his performance in "La Bohème".
Duration 43 min / 52 min
Author Anaïs Spiro
Producer Claus Wischmann, Lily Küntzle
Executive Producer Christopher Janssen
Original title of music work "La Bohème", Giacomo Puccini
Production Company ZDF/Arte, sounding images, 2023
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