Saturday, January 9, 2010

Anna Gets Her Close-Up

La Bohème (Kultur)
Robert Dornhelm’s film of Puccini’s melodious opera might intersperse black and white sequences with vivid color for the familiar story of bohemian artists populating the garrets of Paris, but that’s not why anyone’s watching. Instead, it’s because of the biggest operatic names currently going: Russian soprano Anna Netrebko and Mexican tenor Rolando Villazon. Netrebko, not only ridiculously photogenic — even when Mimi wastes away from TB — but also a terrific actress and splendid singer, fares better than her co-star, who plays Rodolfo with little sense that the camera moves in far closer than even a first-row seat in the opera house. The movie’s minuses are that cast members (including nice turns by Nicole Cabell as Musetta and George von Bergen as Marcello) lip-synch badly, and the musical balances are hit or miss, with the orchestra drowning out singers even in intimate moments. Overall, La Bohème is a perfectly good Blu-ray transfer, with the colors of both the locations and Puccini’s glorious music meshing well. Extras include a long interview with Dornhelm, shorter talks with the singers, and a 28-minute making-of featurette.
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