Puccini had to fend off fellow-composer Ruggero Leoncavallo, who also wanted to make an opera out of Henry Murger's 1851 novel Scènes de la Vie de Bohème, but Puccini completed his score first and it became (and remains) one of the most popular of all Italian operas. One of its finest moments, "Che gelida manina!" (“your tiny hand is frozen”) occurs towards the end of the first act, when the poet Rodolfo, one of a group of arty but impoverished bohemians living in a Parisian garret, is writing alone in his room. He answers a knock on the door, and finds it's his neighbour Mimi, a consumptive seamstress. In one of La Bohème's many exquisite melodies, Rodolfo regales Mimi with his poetic autobiography, which naturally forms the prelude to an intense but doomed love affair. In this performance, Pavarotti is singing to the soprano Mirella Freni, with whom he grew up in their hometown of Modena.
By Justin Davidson on 01.16.15 in Features
She is no longer the goofy but serious alien girl with the long flowing hair; instead she’s a sage.
By Justin Davidson on 12.02.14 in Features
Justin Davidson examines the way recent solo cello albums by Alisa Weilerstein, Jeffrey Ziegler and Maya Beiser reinvent that wordless, eloquent voice.
By Ami Armstrong on 11.26.14 in Features
Stream the Punch Brothers documentary 'How to Grow a Band' this week.
By John Schaefer on 10.28.14 in Reviews
The interlocking rhythm patterns of Steve Reich, the micro-universe contained in the drones of La Monte Young, the hypnotic sounds of the German motorik bands of the '70s…these are a few of the straws I will grasp at in...