January 03, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

La Boheme was one of many sources lurking behind Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge and its ”Bohemian ideals,” and the director’s affection for the tear-jerking opera shines through in this souvenir of highlights from his current staging. The three alternating casts, sampled in turn, are always adequate and occasionally exquisite (especially Ekaterina Solovyeva’s Mimi). If this isn’t a first choice among recordings, it approaches the intensity of passion that opera at its best embodies.

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