Verdi - La Traviata / Gheorghiu, Lopardo, Nucci, Solti, Covent Garden (Special Edition with Highlights CD)

 
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Product Description

Angela Gheorghiu is the definitive Violetta of her generation, the standard-setter against whom all other exponents of this role must be judged for the foreseeable future. Her affinity for Verdi's fragile, gentle-hearted courtesan is rooted in a fine balance of acting and singing skills. She looks right, her body language is eloquent without overstatement, and her voice is limpid, expressive, open to a variety of subtle shadings and used gracefully and intelligently. For this, her first Traviata, Covent Garden put together a production in 1994 that is solid and straightforward but otherwise unspectacular--a fairly subdued background against which her performance stands out all the more clearly. Though lacking the vocal splendor and personal magnetism of Placido Domingo, Frank Lopardo gives a sensitive performance as Alfredo, and Sir Georg Solti paces and accents this performance with a thoughtful subtlety that is relatively rare in his work. The result is deeply satisfying. --Joe McLellan

Customer Reviews:

  • It IS Traviata !!!
    I think if maestro Verdi would be in life he would glad to see this production. It is very enjoyable, perfectly singing masterpiece. Everybody who has to be young by libretto is young, Gheorghiu is amazingly pretty and [cute], she signs and looks with sparks in the eyes: she is really Traviata. The production is not just nice performed but perfectly recorded and shows both video and audio quality something of the best available. I do recommend getting this one. I think that everybody who has seen this one would support my opinion that stage decorations and costumes are something that was done with lot of knowledge and artistic vision. Nothing is distracting; nothing pops up but makes the stage unforgettable....more info
  • Great Because Gherghiu Is Riding On Callas' Fame
    This Traviata starring Angela Gheorghiu, Frank Lopardo and Leo Nucci is great because in 1994 it must have been like Maria Callas had come back from the dead to sing one of her greatest roles. Gheorghiu, whose voice is frighteningly similar to Maria Callas, has unconsciously ridden on her succcess. Every time she opens her mouth, I hear a Callas imitator. Sorry....more info
  • I loved the interpretation of the opera.
    I have other DVDs of the opera that I like better. But this one is wonderful. I enjoyed Gheorghiu's Violetta but the father's voice is just not my favorite. However I will watch it over and over. It is a wonderful opera....more info
  • Lovely Gheorghiu
    I loved it the first time I saw it. She has a beautiful voice. She IS Violetta. The sound is very good in this DVD. You can hardly hear any background noises. Highly recommended....more info
  • I'm trying
    I'm trying assist this famous video because this musical theme is lovely to me. Infortunetely I live in Brazil, to much distant of EUA... ...more info
  • the greatest violetta on video
    I must admit that Angela is Violetta. Not only is she very beautiful and delicate in the role, her voice is perfect for the part. She sings every note perfectly. Alfredo and Germont were both pretty horrible. Alfredo was decent until the third act in which he drags down angela's incredible death scene. Germont looks totally bored the whole time and actually seems quite rude when he is paying attention. What a horrible choice! This DVD is totally worth it even so if only for Angela's amazing violetta. You've got to see her....more info
  • I loved the interpretation of the opera.
    I have other DVDs of the opera that I like better. But this one is wonderful. I enjoyed Gheorghiu's Violetta but the father's voice is just not my favorite. However I will watch it over and over. It is a wonderful opera....more info
  • Sensational
    Angela Gheorghiu singing is incredibly beautiful, and that she can act and looks every inch Violetta- that's just the icing on the cake. This production's Alfredo and Germont may not be the best, and orchestra playing, while good throughout the whole opera, does not stand out but that only puts Gheorghiu to the front and righfully so. A star was indeed born that night. She is so young and almost fragile here but it is very clear that she has the makings of a diva of the highest order. What a performance- and what luck that we have a record of it! ...more info
  • This performance made Gheorghiu a star
    It's rare that when a "star is born" the cameras or tape-recorders capture the moment. Luckily, it happens often enough. Angela Gheorghiu's performance as Violetta in this Covent Garden production catapulted her to stardom. This was before she married Roberto Alagna, before her reputation as a demanding and capricious diva often overshadowed her formidable talent.
    La Traviata is not my favorite opera, often because I think many Violettas simply overact the part. In Act I, they toss around champagne glasses and prance around the room during "Sempre libera." In Act II they sob, sob, sob. In Act III, they cough, cry, run around the stage wildly, and finally faint in true diva fashion as the curtains come down. It becomes affected rather than affecting. Gheorghiu's Violetta, OTOH, is surprisingly simple and touching. Her great physical beauty is a help, but so is the timbre of her voice. She's a lyric soprano, but her voice has a dark and slightly husky timbre, that on its own suggests a woman who's been around the block and slightly consumptive.
    Her colleagues are not up to her level. I've seen Frank Lopardo three times, and each time has been a thoroughly miserable experience. His voice is small, sour, and he IMO fails to convey the sweetness and naivete the best Alfredos can project. Leo Nucci is a brusque, dry-voiced Germont. The production is simple and lovely, and lacks the gaudiness of a Zefferelli production. Georg Solti is the conductor, and he insists on singing the score note-complete. This is a good idea in theory but in practice Germont's cabaletta after "Di provenza" is pretty boring, as is a completely uncut "Parigi o cara."
    But in short, get this video for Angela Gheorghiu. While I might quibble with some things here and there (she's not a natural coloratura, and thus "Sempre libera" lacks the deadly accuracy of, say, Maria Callas) overall she's the best Violetta on video by far....more info
  • Gheorghiu IS Violetta
    While flawed in several respects, this DVD nevertheless records the most thrilling and moving performance of this opera I have ever seen or heard (and I have seen it performed live several times and own most commercial recordings of it). I had the VHS tape for years, but bought the DVD immediately when it became available, because this production deserves to be seen and heard in the best quality possible.

    The success of this performance is attributable almost exclusively to Angela Gheorghiu. Forget what many say about Maria Callas -- Gheorghiu IS Violetta. She looks the part but, more importantly, she LIVES the part. Her singing and acting is exquisite. She truly makes one feel Violetta's ambivalence and conflict in her big Act I solo, love and sacrifice in the first scene of Act II (the scene between Violetta and Germont pere is perhaps the most complex and riveting in all of opera), her heartbreak in the second scene of that Act, and her relief at her reunion with Alfredo in Act III. Her performance tugs at the heartstrings and drains the tearducts throughout the opera without ever seeming mannered or overdone.

    Her achievement is even greater in that she can have this effect even playing against two antagonists of limited effectiveness. As Alfredo, Frank Lopardo acts with commitment and youthful sincerity. Unfortunately, his singing tone is rather pinched, which makes him seem stiff and unnatural. Leo Nucci's Germont is woolly of tone and completely unsympathetic. His performance in the Act II duet with Gheorghiu makes him seem like a monster rather than a concerned father. It's to Gheorghiu's great credit that she makes Violetta's agreement to sacrifice herself and her love believable. Had a lesser actress been paired with Nucci, the opera would have been over at that point; one would have expected her merely to boot Germont from her house.

    I said that the performance's success is ALMOST exclusively attributable to Ms. Gheorghiu. One must recognize Sir Georg Solti's contribution as well. Had he driven the music harder or let it languish, all would have been lost. But his moderated reading is perfect. It is a true testament to his genius that one of the most renowned and dynamic conductors of all time could allow himself to be completely inconspicuous in the performance.

    EVERY lover of opera and anyone interested in exposing himself or herself to opera should own this disc. It will be a long time before it comes out of MY player....more info

  • Gheorghiu and Lopardo Shine
    This is my favorite video recording of 'La Traviata'. Lopardo's introduction to the "Brindisi" in Act I, and his acting in the fanale, lend a humor and humanity to Alfredo that is rare on the opera stage. Gheorghiu especially shines an Act II; watch her hands. With her hands on stage, she could have phoned in the rest of the performance. This was Georg Solti's last video and his conducting showed a sensitivity that will be the finest testament to his own career. The sets and costumes are up to the usual high standards of the Royal Opera....more info
  • simply a masterpiece
    I'm not an expert when it comes to opera. I can hum along to a few songs here and there, but that's really the extent. But I came home one day and saw this playing on TV, and soon found myself completely enchanted. I did not move for the next hour. The sets are absolutely gorgeous, grave and imposing, hightening the emotions of the story, mirroring the luscious and breathtaking score of Verdi's. I've since seen bits and pieces of other sopranos' renditions of Violetta, yet none have moved me moreso than Gheorghiu, none have come close to capturing the character heart and soul. The BBC was right to have filmed this production; it deserves to live on....more info
  • A Collector's "Traviata"
    I don't know of a "perfect" performance of "Traviata". This one has been criticized but my experience indicates the pluses far outweigh the minuses. I purchased the DVD because my curiosity was piqued when I learned that the legendary conductor, Sir Georg Solti, had been very impressed with Angela Gheorghiu's "Violetta". The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden venue, et al., also aided in my purchase decision.
    My subsequent viewing/listening experience proved to be extremely satisfying (and emotional). Ms Gheorghiu carried this role with a brilliance of interpretation I have not often noted in other colorature and Solti's sensitive, never-overpowered reading was a complement to her enactment. She displayed a gift for melding artistically, physically and credibly with this role. I found her mesmerizing.
    The other vocalists carried their roles capably. Frank Lopardo displayed the passionate, frenetic being of Alfredo and Leo Nucci's Germont was well in keeping with the age fraility of the Alfredo pere not often seen in other baritones who have provided more dominant characterizations. A few have criticized Ms Gheorghiu's Violetta somewhat harshly; some of these are unfair and not substantive for this live event. I believe she ranks among the best-recorded Violettas not only for her outstanding interpretation but also for her symbiosis with the supporting cast....more info
  • A Traviata for the times we live in
    I am amazed at the extreme praise for Gheorghiu's Violetta. She is lovely and intense, and has an interesting voice, but is hardly the greatest Violetta in our memories.Has no one seen the video of Blanca's Violetta from the Bellas Artes with Villazon? You could not possibly view this document and not find Madame Blanca's performance less than Gheorghiu's. For one thing, the Spanish soprano's handling of the music in the first act is infinitely superior in every way. She is fearless in the coloratura, always solid in her pitch and execution, and manages to touch the heart with her desperate bravura in the face of the future she knows will defeat her.
    I have heard and seen many famous Violettas, and would certainly rank Blanca's equal to the best. I could not accord this place to Miss Gheorghiu....more info
  • Supremely Unmemorable
    Nothing about this La Traviata was bad, but I found it disappointing. I had heard so many good things about that perhaps my expectations were unreasonable. Having seen it less than a week ago, the only things I clearly remember liking were the sets, the costumes, and the guests dressed up as matadors in the second party scene. I do not wish to seem unjust, I did enjoy watching this version. I would not, however, recommend it to anyone. I much prefer the version from 2000, with Eteri Gvazava and Jose Cura....more info
  • Not a balanced traviata
    This production of la traviata could have been close to historic but the fact of having Mr. Lopardo as Alfredo Germont, lows considerably the level of this presentation. Gheorghiu sings and acts in a superb level, Nucci as allways is a very correct baritone, and Solti conduction is near to wonderfull. The Stage production is made with good taste. Conclussion: It is not a bad idea to buy this Traviata, although Alfredo is not close to what he should be....more info
  • Superb in every way
    There is a lot of variation in opera quality on tape and disk. This one is superb in every way - singing, acting, conducting, sets, reproduction quality. Look at the facial expressions of Solti as he conducts - a tone poem in itself!...more info
  • A La Traviata worth having!
    La Traviata: Surely this one work must have the highest ratio of great songs and recognizable tunes in all of operadom.

    This production at Covent Garden stars Angela Gheorghiu as Violetta, Frank Lopardo as Alfredo and Leo Nucci as Giorgio Germont (Alfredo's father). The conductor is Sir George Solti. The camera placement and switching, as well as editing are well done. The sets were appropriate for the scenes depicted, although the non-party scenes were rather drab and austere. Angela Gheorghiu's dresses were sumptuous and a compliment to her good looks and figure.


    I found the opening scene, although well done, rather stiff. It is in the final two acts, however, that the singing and acting ability of the performers comes through. Angela Gheorghiu interpretation of the fatally ill Violetta is nothing short of breath taking. Her use of hand action and facial expressions to augment her mood is extremely well done and conveys the delight or sorrow she's feeling at any given time.

    Frank Lopardo has a wonderful voice and acts out a very credible Alfredo. The final scene with him and Violetta is heart wrenching.

    The only weak acting performance is that of Leo Nucci as Georgi Germont. He seemed to me to be very stiff, mannequin like, and in a couple spots in the middle act he looks directly at the camera. I find when this happens I lose my sense of involvement in the performance and I'm snapped back into reality: Annoying! (Thus the loss of one star)

    The background music of the final act is the epitome of the melody perfectly fitting the mood of the scene that is being preformed. (In this case Violetta last moments before dying) Angela Gheorghiu' is at her absolute best in this tragic ending and the chemistry between her and Alfredo will touch your heart.

    All in all, a magnificent performance. A La Traviata worth having....more info

  • A revelation
    A beautiful production for the most part, spirited conducting, no stupid German-style postmodern tricks in the direction...and Angela Gheorghiu who really embodies Violetta, she lives it, her intensity is truly extraordinary and her voice beautiful. Definitely a must have. ...more info
  • Solti & Gheorghiu wins hands down!!
    In the La Traviata stakes, Sir Georg Solti & Angela Gheorghiu wins hands down!! Solti's conducting is full of special insights into Verdi that I've never heard before. Gheorghiu's glorious soprano is fabulous!! She has some vocal flaws, namely, a tendency to go sharp at the top, but her performance is so fantastic that this is just nitpicking. I would exchange all the other performances with perfect notes for Gheorghiu's incredible Violetta....more info
  • A fine looking cast and a complete performance
    First of all let me say that I can't think of anything that is bad about this DVD. The performance is of a high quality, the production is fairly traditional and enjoyable, the video and sound quality are top notch (although it's not widescreen). I gave it an extra fifth star for being as complete as it is. Even Alfredo's second act cabaletta is repeated, when many performances cut the whole thing. Gheorghiu is very attractive, which is important in this work, I think. Why would Alfredo fall for a dog? Lopardo is good and without as much of the tendency to sharp notes as I have heard from his other recordings and live performances. Nucci is up to his usual standard, and if you like his timbre (somewhat on the nasal side) you will enjoy his portrayal. Solti's conducting is solid. A thouroughly enjoyable set. I sold my CD set taken from these performances to get the DVD. Totally worth it....more info
  • very clear video. Gheorghiu is beautiful
    I enjoyed this video very much. This is a recording of a live presentation. Most impressive, apart from Gherghiu's amazing voice was the amazing clarity of the photography. My only critism is that I longed for some close up view's of Ms Gheorghiu's face. ...more info
  • Gheorghiu is amazing
    Holy moley! I thought the praise on the DVD box was too effusive, too uncritical, too much marketing hype. Now I'm a believer. This is just about as perfect a performance as you could ever ask for. Regardless of what you may think or know of her (well-publicized) offstage behavior, Angela Gheorghiu is simply beyond reproach in this live video. She looks like the ideal Violetta, her acting is very moving, and best of all, she sings the part as it was meant to be sung -- musically, dramatically, thrillingly. She judges her dynamics perfectly, never singing too loud -- she projects even the softest of pianissimos over the orchestra -- but she can really rip out the high notes when called for. Her coloratura is flawless, and yet it never sticks out like a mere technical show (as with some singers) -- when she sings it, it's an integral part of the drama of the moment. She sings the lyrical, legato passages with a genuine sense of line, but she also sings the whole with just the right amount of declamation. Her voice is very pleasing to the ear, yet distinctive and instantly recognizable. Now I can finally understand why people went nuts over Maria Callas 40-50 years ago. I'll probably get some grief for making this comparison, as I'm a Callas ignoramus, but I imagine that this performance by Gheorghiu must be like what Callas's performances used to be like -- perfect singing, perfect acting, and perfect *integration* of singing and acting.

    Everyone else on this video is pretty good, too. In fact, Solti is (was) great -- his conducting is exciting and his tempos are, on the whole, well judged. Frank Lopardo is a solid Alfredo, and Leo Nucci a somewhat bland but decent Germont -- and like Gheorghiu, they each totally look the part. The sound and picture quality are both very good.

    The only thing that maddens me is that it took Decca so ridiculously long (almost 7 years) to release this video in the United States. (I think it was available in other countries on VHS.) Well, at any rate, it's here now, so what are you waiting for? Get it!...more info

  • THIS La Traviata is PERFECT!
    This is the La Traviata as visualized by Verdi. Angela Gheorghiu IS Violetta Valery. I have seen this opera all my life, but never have I seen the equal of this performance. Sir Georg Solti and the rest of the cast, plus Gheorghiu, make this the La Traviata which you MUST have....more info
  • PERFECTION
    I am not a big fan of Traviata, but I am of this DVD. Angela's singing and acting is incredible. From the very start, she lays out the character. She is the finest singing actress I have ever seen. The whole production is fresh including the sets and staging. The direction is innovative and I felt that the director wasn't relying on the old tried and true ways of handling this story. I found myself pulled into each character on the stage. I even got pulled into the character of Violetta's maid, Annina. Can you belive that! She has about five lines if that much, but what the director does for her and each character is perfection. This is a great ensemble show with great performances from each singer. You will not be disappointed. I will watch it over and over and over!!!...more info
  • Birth of a star
    Alright..this will be short and sweet since Traviata should not be foreign to opera listeners:

    Maestro Solti - Omits the traditional cuts of arias that are usually taken. Excellent conducting of tempi, phrasing and color in most parts. The introduction to the final act is very sublime and immediately sounds as if a bitter cold walked into Covent Garden.

    Leo Nucci - too much wobble for my taste. There were some notes where he would oversing and in turn it would sound horrible. His singing in duets with Violetta or with Alfredo would always be hesitant. Nucci would always be slightly ahead. His arias sounded pushed and once again had too much wobble.

    Lopardo - aside from the terrible costuming (trousers were up to his neck by the third act!) his singing was mediocre. I have never been a fan of his singing due to the weight that he puts into it. At some points he sounds like a french baritone. For the aria "O Mio Rimorso," the tempo was EXTREMELY slow and I almost felt as if he was not going to finish. His high register has the sound but is missing the ping. I did not hear a piano at all and by the end of opera the hoarseness in his voice was evident. The acting... we won't go there.

    Gheorghiu - Oh the year was 1994 and a star was born. Without a doubt the singing was excellent. Her colour is so different... a lyric coloratura with dark colour.. such a unique mix. Act I was excellent. Ah fors e lui.. wonderful sound - Sempre libera ... at some points the pitch was just there but the acting and the look only helped Angela. She looks great, has the voice and knows how to use her instrument.

    DVD is worth solely to see the birth of a star: Angela Gheorghiu. ...more info
  • Great Stage Production
    This great opera written by Verdi in 1853 was based on Alexandre Dumas La Damme aux camelias. Traviata's first performance was at Venice's Gran Teatro La Fenice on March 6th 1853. Operas presented in film versions do not represent the true meaning of this genre. This version is a stage production!!
    The Covent Garden performance of Traviata with Sir Georg Solti conducting The Royal Opera Chorus and Orchestra is captured in digital 5.1 channels which completly fills the room with the most beautiful arias. The dance of the "bullfighters" ( second act) at Traviata's party in Paris is a major choreographic extravaganza and plays an important role in the opera.
    Unfortunaly, this version down plays it significantly. Overall, this production is magnificent with excellent performances by Angela Gheorghiu as Violetta. If operas were included in the Oscars, Ms. Gheorghiu would de a clear winner. If you are an opera lover, this is a must item in your library....more info
  • Divine.... almost
    If you're going to have one Traviata, this probably should be the one. That said, the Stratas/Domingo/MacNeil/Levine is right up there with it. Georghiu is stunning and just at the moment, my favorite Violetta. The "almost" was that she wasn't always spot on -- but so what? This is a live performance and I long for live as opposed to studio; it's the closet I'm going to get to the Real Thing.

    The staging is on the spare side, but preferrable to what else is out there as tastelessly fussy. The costume designer outside him-/herself and Violetta is dressed with elegant simplicity -- even her nightgown is more a night shirt and points up how sick she is. And unlike McLaughlin's dying note given at full volume, Georghiu's is (more) believable.)

    (As an aside, remember when Zefferelli twitted Callas about that note because she mostly cracked on it? She said: "I'm DYING, for God's sake.)

    Buy this DVD....more info
  • A Traviata of Great Emotional Power and Vocal Splendor
    La traviata holds a very precious status in my experiences, from my first hearing with Eleanor Steber and Richard Tucker from a Met visit to Dallas, to two performances of Maria Callas, and two performances of Montserrat Caballe, all four with the Dallas Civic Opera under Nicola Resigno. Performance-wise, I do not know how Solti's could be bettered, as even Leo Nucci, a somewhat casual singer, deeply involves himself in the Act II confrontation between Violetta and Germont Pere.Angela Gheorghiu immerses herself into Violetta's suffering,leaving every emotional nuance explored tactfully and lyrically. Added to the physical beauty of the soprano, the voice reflects a lyrical sweetness with spectacular technique. Her runs in "Sempre libera" are neat, articulate, and dead center, and follows an exquisite reading of "Ah, fors e lui." Frank Lopardo, her Alfredo, exhibits a sympathetic understanding of this thankless role, and rewards the spectator with a complete involvement. The voice itself is quite handsome. Even Leo Nucci generates fire with the long Act II scene "Pura siccome un angelo" and "Dite alla giovine". Act III pulls out all the emotional and dramatic stops for an overwhelming finale. But the surprise of surprises is Sir Georg Solti's conducting. After years of hearing him drive Verdi with the intensity of a late twentieth-century Toscanini, what an unexpected joy to hear this wonderful gentleman lead a performance of great sensitivity and with a laid-back attitude that lets Verdi's lyricism speak with loving non-maudlin sentimentality. This performance is a must-have, beautifully recorded both visually and aurally....more info
  • magnificient production, both visually and sonically
    I have been a fan of Gheorghiu since I heard her Verdi heroines. She is probably one of the best Verdians nowadays, singing with great drama and control as well as a beautifully seductive voice. In other words, technique and beauty (both physically and vocally) all in one. It is heaven to simply watch her beautiful face and eyes while listening to her flawless, espressive singing. Therefore this DVD is a must for all her fans and opera fans. The covent garden set is beautifully staged and singers acted very well for a live performance. Recording is superb considering it is a live recording with minimal coughs and other stage/audience noise (Actually one of the best, well balanced live recordings I've heard). Beautifully conducted by Solti, especially the prelude to Act III. The other casts are all excellent. Some may want a more lyrical tenor than Lopardo but he sang with great drama and expression. Nucci is warm and sympathetic. Gypsy dance was entertaining. Make-up is great in that Gheorghiu really looked anaemic in Act III. This is as great as live opera can get, especially when it is so well caught on film....more info
  • Traviata = wonderful
    This gorgeous opera is given a wonderful treatment in this terrific DVD. Of course, the music is splendid- probably Verdi's most beautiful score. For me, the first act is the most perfect 30 minutes of music ever. And it gets its full due here.

    This is a filming of the Covent Garden, London show with the, then new, Angela Gheorghiu in 1994. Now she's a superstar.And this production is one of the reasons why. She is spectacular as the dying Violetta. Her tone, acting, and beauty make her unforgettable in this role. The rest of the cast is also fine. And it's hard to believe that this was the first time that the venerable George Solti had ever directed "La Traviata." That's amazing. And, of course, he is wonderful.

    As for the DVD itself, the sound (5.1) is perfect, and so is the filming of the production. The booklet has an OK essay, and a good synopsis of the opera. It also has a helpful listing of all chapters so you can find a specific place in the score. And, of course, sub-titles. No extra features, but you rarely find them on opera discs.

    All in all an excellent package. Give me more like this....more info

  • Bravo!!!
    I watched this on TV many years ago, and watched over and over again and I'm sure this was very sensational for opera fans and musicians. When Sir Georg Solti died I was so sad because I wanted to go to his opera. The difficult things about opera is that it should be great in both music and also drama (act).This is perfect in both. Gheorghiu was especially good. I cannot find better "La Traviata" than this. This is my favorite!...more info
  • The best LIVE "Traviata" you will ever see
    I am shocked! I have watched and listened to hundreds of "Traviata"-s in my life, but I never imagined that I would be so moved with yet another outstanding recording. This is amazing. Angela Gheorghiu is brilliant - she shows everything: radiance, fun, passion, love, drama, despare. She is the most perfect Violetta of our time. Well, she doesn't sing high E flat at the end of the I Act but who cares? Look at her - she has stunning looks and one of the most warmest and beautiful voices I've ever heard. If one takes into consideration the fact that this was her operatic debut, everything I just mentioned is even more unbelievable. Alongside Gheorghiu is the very strong supporting cast: Leo Nucci is one of my favourite baritones and he is at his best. Nothing seems difficult to him, its amazing. Lopardo (Alfredo) has very strong voice, mostly his singing is very good, however at some places I would rather here warmer sound, I would rather believe him more. And finally, Georg Solti's conducting is great, the orchestra and the chorus is like one, every single detail is worked out and syncronized. So at the end, I should say this is must have DVD. This is Gheorghiu's triumph, this is her night and it is amazing watching her and sharing this precious moment with her....more info
  • Unparalleled beauty
    If there were to be a single performance of Verdi's masterpiece "La traviata" on one's dvd shelf, this is it. Written at the height of his creative powers, it remains a staple in the repretoire of any respectable opera house.

    Covent Garden rightly decided to downscale the sets to draw the focus on the main characters (with the exception of the third act, which accommodates for the large crowd). It is, as the editorial review dictates, unspectacular. There is no question that this production relies solely on the drama inherent in the music to drive the performance.

    Angela Gheorghiu is easily this generation's most captivating soprano. She sings with a confidence and clarity in the upper register that few can boast, and a warm, luscious low register. Her phrasing is intelligent, always conscious of her place in the score. With superb acting skills to boot, she is a force to be reckoned with. Her Violetta is elegant, full of poise and strong integrity (odd, given the nature of the character's reputation as a courtesan), while at the same time vulnerable and sincere in her love for Alfredo. Her rendition of 'sempre libera' is so exhilirating, it will leave one gasping for air.

    Frank Lopardo wouldn't be my first choice for Alfredo. He lacks the vocal splendor and prowess of his betters, tending to sound uncomfortably forced in the upper tessitura. Both he and Gheorghiu make a handsome couple, and his fiery denunciation of Violetta toward the end of act three is surprisingly cold and menacing. It's just a shame he doesn't have the voice to back it up. Leo Nucci is Leo Nucci. There are definitely better Germonts out there, but his Italianate sense of authority brings an authenticity to a mostly non-Italian cast (I think I'm quoting the leaflet here, but it's true!).

    While Gheorghiu sparkles in this production, the true hero is undoubtedly Sir Georg Solti. The maestro conducts this piece with a delicate touch that is rare even for him. His London players give their all, achieving superb levels of nuance. By producing an eerily 'empty' sound, they brought a sense of unfulfillable longing in the prelude, echoing Violetta's ill-fated romance. While most of Verdi's works are typically laced with doom laden overtones, here it is absent. This is possibly the most intimate of his operas, and Solti's extensive operatic experience shines through with his probing and surprisingly revelatory reading of the score which wrenches the heart through to it's climactic end. When you take his theatrical, and often bombastic approach out of the equation, one is left with a rare, unparalleled beauty that is more than just noteworthy... it's miraculous....more info
  • Angela Gheorghiu en su mejor interpretacion
    Este dvd tiene su razon de ser en la interpretacion de Violetta Valery que brinda ANGELA GHEORGHIU. En estas funciones de 1994 la soprano rumana, entonces desconocida, asumio este papel en el Covent Garden bajo la direccion de SIR GEROG SOLTI (que es referencial por cierto) y el exito fue brutal: No es de extra?ar, ya que a sus geniales medios vocales (voz bella, coloratura facil, piani, fiato....) se une una presencia como actriz con una extraordinaria capacidad para transmitir y emocionar: Su Acto III es realmente de antologia.
    Lastima que todo lo demas no este a la altura. El Alfredo de FRANK LOPARDO posee una voz baritonal poco interesante, y esta algo forzado como actor, y el Germont de LEO NUCCI (que en principio deberia de ser de gran calidad) no tiene vocalmente su mejor dia. Competentes (nada mas) los secundarios.
    La puesta en escena es bastante tradicional, correcta en conjunto, pero a mi personalmente solo me convence plenamente en el ultimo acto.
    Pero pese a todo esto, Angela Gheorghiu y Georg Solti elevan el nivel del espectaculo hasta crear un bello documento que merece sin duda ser visto: Un gran director presentando a una gran estrella. No se lo pierdan.
    ...more info
  • Spectacular
    This is the first opera I have purchased on DVD and was not disappointed. On the contrary, I was blown away. This is due mostly to two things: Angela Gheorghiu's heartbreaking, mesmerizing performance as Violetta, and Sir Georg Solti's masterful handling of the score. I have always been a Gheorghiu fan, particularly the times I've seen her in the opera house, but I was unprepared for the depth and feeling she displays here. And the voice! Just remarkable. Frank Lopardo's Alfredo and Leo Nucci's Germont are both top-rate, but this really is Gheorghiu's show. I have some quibbles with the production (where does Violetta live anyway, in the bottom of a barrel?) but on the whole it's splendid. Ok, so the stage is a little crowded at times, with the singers manuevering uneasily around furniture, people etc. And while the Act IV set is truly eye-catching, Violetta"s "magic mirror" has got to go. So all in all, the production's a mixed bag. But by all means get this DVD. Thak goodness the BBC had the forethought to capture what has already become a legendary debut. Watching "La Traviata," there's never any question why....more info
  • Magnificent!!!
    This is a beautiful stage production of "La Traviata" and it is FINALLY available on dvd!!! I waited years for this to happen!!
    Ms. Gheorghiu has everything Verdi wanted Violetta to look like on stage. She outplays and outsings Teresa Stratas in the film version. The tenor played his role of Alfredo well, but his acting skills are limited. The baritone playing Giorgio Germont (Alfredo's father) appears distracted as he looks at the camera or at the audience. He however, sings his arias beautifully.
    Overall, the production is magnigicent recorded in 5.1 channels of pure digital sound. The picture is also perfect. I was glad and sad to see the late Sir. Georg Solti conducting the orchestra with so much passion. He was one of the great conductors of our times together with Jeffrey Tate, Neville Mariner and Karajan to mention few.
    I highly recommend it!!!...more info
  • the best la traviata in recent years
    Angela Gheorghiu sings beautifully, acts to perfection, is young and beautiful enough to be believeable! They do not come better than this! The rest of the cast perform well in support. Go forit!...more info
  • Angela - one of the best Violeta ever!
    I love opera, but I bought this DVD because of Gheorghiu's debut playing Violetta, and of course, Solti conducting this wonderful Traviata. I own several DVDs with this opera, but she is the best Violetta ever on my DVD collection. Her voice is so beautiful, rich and soft, velvety when needed that you can feel Violetta's love, and power of sacrifice. Huge talent. I also loved her acting. I can't say the same things about the whole Traviata. Lopardo didn't seen to match with Angela. I did not enjoy his acting. Unfortunately, when Alfredo is not the right acting/singing tenor, the whole performance is damaged. Leo Nucci as his father, Giorgio Germont, is a wonderful baritone, with a good acting and overall he almost outshines his son.
    My best Traviata would be with 1994 Angela's Violetta from Covent Garden and the rest of the cast would come from Zeffirelli/Domingo Traviata in the small Giuseppe Verdi theater in Buseto, Italy. But that's just a dream...
    I recommend this DVD to all opera lovers looking for a wonderful almost historic Violetta....more info
  • La Traviata
    La Traviata is one of my favorite operas and this recording of the opera is one of the best I have seen. The sets, costumes, and acting and singing are first rate. Angela Gheorghiu is not only besutiful to the eye but also to the ear. I feel that she becomes Violetta in this production. Leo Nucci is fine as Germont and Frank Lopardo is excellant also. He even sings the cabaletta before De' miei bellenti spiriti.
    If one had to one a Traviata, this one would be it....more info
  • Cold interpretation and staging
    Although an opera lover, I have never been a big Traviata fan. This production did not help. The decor is cold, and the acting only decent. I much prefer the Zeffirelli (film) version (cond. Levine)....more info
  • A wonderful achievement
    This shows us what all the shouting was about and no wonder Solti called Decca and said, "Get over here!" Gheorghiu is splendid from beginning to end. But she also had a wonderful director in Richard Eyre who certainly made some interesting choices along the way - Violetta alone at the top of the opera waiting for her guests; her running round the room at the end with one last burst of energy before she dies. Plus the director had a woman who could act. Plus she's really beautiful and knows how to handle her body. Watch the way she uses her arms. Watch as she unpins her hair as she sings sempre libre becoming once again a young girl for just a moment. This is an actress. It's wonderfully designed and costumed as well. Her Alfredo is good but is at his best during the last act. At the end you knew you had seen and heard something wonderful and wished you had been at Covent Garden that night. Fortunately it was taped. I recommend this highly. It's wonderful opera and wonderful theatre....more info

 

 
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