Remembering Mirella Freni: “Sì, mi chiamano Mimì” from Puccini’s “La Bohème”

Mirella Freni, the acclaimed Italian operatic soprano, passed away on Sunday. She was 84.

In a career spanning 50 years, Freni appeared on the world’s major opera stages and in numerous film versions of operas. She was closely associated with Verdi and Puccini roles, but she will also be remembered for her performances of Mozart operas and Carmen. Later in her career, her repertoire included Russian opera with Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, The Queen of Spades, and (in her final stage appearance with Washington National Opera in April 2005) The Maid of Orleans. In a fascinating coincidence, Freni and Luciano Pavarotti, both born in Modena, Italy, shared the same nurse as babies.

Here is Mirella Freni’s performance of Sì, mi chiamano Mimì (“Yes, they call me Mimì”) from the first act of Puccini’s La Bohème, with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic. This is the aria in which the simple seamstress Mimì introduces herself to Rodolfo. The warmth of the aria stands in contrast to the scene’s setting in a chilly attic on a snowy Christmas Eve.

Recordings

  • Puccini: La Bohème, Mirella Freni, Gianni Raimondi, Franco Zeffirelli, Herbert von Karajan, Teatro alla Scala Orchestra Amazon

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

2 thoughts on “Remembering Mirella Freni: “Sì, mi chiamano Mimì” from Puccini’s “La Bohème””

  1. Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure of hearing Mirella Freni in person. She had a beautiful voice. Anthony Tommasini of the NY Times describes her as “Matchless Italian Prima Donna” for her exquisite singing in lighter lyric roles.

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  2. We just performed Bohème here in Charlotte, and I had just been listening to her gorgeous Mimi many times over. So saddened by this news. Thanks for the post.

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