Verdi - La Traviata / Richard Eyre, Solti, Gheorghiu, Lopardo, Nucci, ROH Covent Garden

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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:

  • 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
  • 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
  • Wonderful Opera
    I had company at my house and they were spellbound. Gheorghiu is beautiful to look at and has a wonderful luscious voice. The tenor Lopardo was adequit but a lot of the enjoyment came from the sets and costumes. Very nice operatic production....more info
    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
  • 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
  • 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

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • The Violetta is fabulous
    One of the seven operas on DVD released in June 2001 by Deutsche Grammophon is a (071 431-9) from a 1995 Covent Garden production. Here Georg Solti leads the Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House headed by Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu. Critic/commentator Albert Innaurato calls her "the most complete Violetta on video." Now he did not mean the best vocally or even physically or dramatically; but as a whole, she is the most satisfying.

    Where Stratas looks half dead throughout the Zeffirelli film and others simply look too healthy for Act III, Gheorghiu (who, by the way, never had sung this role before!) manages to look fragile at her own party, stunning all in black at Flora's, and "at death's door" in her squalid apartment, the walls of which seem to ascend forever toward heaven.

    Tenor Frank Lopardo has some sense of acting his part beyond generalized suffering and is in good voice. The only really jarring notes are the unpleasant makeup of Leo Nucci as the Father and his unpleasant voice, which did not seem to bother the appreciative audience that night. The Gypsy scene, for once, did not work too well, nor did the camping up of the Spanish number, unless one considers it part of the decadence of the world the heroine will soon be leaving.

    The scenery for the first act seemed unnecessarily cramped, a little rest area in Violetta's much larger home; but the unfinished state of the country home was just right. Were those pictures leaning against the wall waiting to be put up or taken away for sale? And the little swatches of wallpaper on the molding were a good touch. The shadows of the carnival revelers through the slats of the Act III scenery was also effective.

    Now and then, the voices would fade away as if too far from a microphone; and then the sound would swell up so suddenly that I kept diving for the volume control. Was this an engineering problem or did it sound like that in the theater? The audience is absolutely silent, keeping applause and cheers for the curtain calls.

    All things considered, this set is very worth having for the Violetta alone.

    The DVD runs 135 minutes in the 4:3 screen ratio with subtitles in English, French, German, and Chinese....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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Drama v.s romance
    The verismo opera reflects more truth of paradox in lives; and the directions of gaits reflect much of the concentrations.
    I was touched [in Act I] when Alfredo speaks his love accompanied by the sweet melody of harp; [in Act II] the poignant moment Violetta struggles to leave her love for Giorgio Germont's sake.
    At the end, she's gone in white, peacefully.

    This play was profound in 19th century, a patriarchal/Christian society, for the first time a courtesan is made into a theatrical heroine.
    I can't help but ponder whether her sacrifice is really a tragedy or a comedy in such setting.

    Angela Gheorghiu's voice has characters, even in a high pitch. This is la Traviata you want to collect....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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
    Angela Gheorghiu is fantastic. She has a fantastic voice. She is beautiful. She is a great actress. In the lavish setting of this performance, and along with a really spectacular cast, Angela is the heart of the show. Verdi, who was pretty picky when it came to singers for his operas, would be jumping for joy with the whole cast in this production....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
  • 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

  • Best Traviata
    This is an outstanding Traviata, the best I have seen....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
  • 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 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
  • Angela Assoluta!
    The reason to own this Traviata is for the spellbinding performance of Angela Georghiu. This is the role and the performance that thrust her into the international spolight, and rightfully so. Georghiu owns this role in every aspect, and I cannot think of another soprano in recent years who so perfectly conquers all the demands of this daunting role as well as Georghiu does. Firstly, Georghiu has the vocal goods in abundance to sing Violetta, a role which is often described as needing three sopranos, encompassing the coloratura demands of Act I, and requiring a lyric and dramatic soprano for Acts II through IV. Georghiu's voice is perfectly suited to all the demands Verdi places on the soprano, with her ravishing dusky timbre, her top notes which hit the listener like thunderbolts of molten gold, and her imppeccable fioratura in one of the soprano's greatest challenges, "Sempre Libera." It hardly matters that she avoids the E flat "in alt" at the end of the aria, as Verdi did not specify it his score. Visually and dramatically Geoerghiu is the Violetta of one's dreams. Her physical beauty is incandescant, perfectly matching her vocal abilities, and her acting is sincere, restrained and affecting. All in all a most remarkable achievement, and Georghiu sets a very high standard for her contemporaries, Netrebko and the like. Georghiu will undoubtedly rank as one of the great Violettas. I have always loved Anna Moffo in this role, another woman with great physical and vocal beauty, and of course, Callas is the gold standard to which other Violettas are compared. Georghiu is certainly in Callas' league, both vocally and dramatically, in her sense of attention to the text and her impeccable phrasing. In terms of sheer vocalism in this role, I truly love Caballe's RCA recording made in the 1960's, for it is divine. I sincerely hope that Georghiu preserves her wonderful voice and that she doesn't let the reputed onstage and offstage histrionics of recent past and present shorten her estimable career.
    This DVD of the famous Covent Garden production plays well in all aspects, musically, dramatically and visually. Kudos to Sir Georg Solti for a beautifully restrained reading of Verdi's great score. The scenery is elegant and opulent without being over the top, as compared to the Met's current Zefferlli production, and the acting is direct, simple and tasteful throughout. The other principal singers, Frank Lopardo as Alfredo, and Leo Nucci, as Germont pere are servicable, if not in Georghiu's league. Clearly the reason to own this DVD is for Georghiu and Solti's masterful performances. I'm curious to order the newer DVD of Georghiu as Violetta with Maazel conducting. The reviews are varied and sometimes controversial, but as the great soprano Renata Scotto once stated, and I paraphrase: "It's not the talk that bothers me. It's when they stop talking about me that I'll be worried."...more info
  • Seeing is Believing
    When I first heard the CD version of this opera I thought, that it was good , but certainly not worth all the fuss. Then I saw the DVD and WOW!!! This performance is simply spectacular. When reviewing this work one must begin with Gheorghiu. She brings Violetta to life in a way that few performers have done before. First of all her singing is divine. She is in total control of her instrument and never falters. Second she can act an art that is often missing or downplayed in opera today She is seductive in the opening act, tortured and remorseful in the second, and looking very sickly in the final stanza.. Lastly, as many others have said she is very attractive, which is always a plus especially in this role. Too often audiences are saddled with Violettas that are wonderful singers but frankly are not credible as being the object of Alfredo's desire. This is not the case here. Gheorghiu's natural beauty is accentuated by the wonderful costuming. However for those who think that Gheorghiu is all about glamour, look at the final act where her beauty is sacrificed for a very sickly look. The one knock I have against her performance is not attempting to hit the high E at the end of the Folie! aria in act one. I do not quite understand why she chose to do this. Her voice was in stellar form and she is more then capable of hitting the note. None the less I understand the risk involved and have seen this note skipped on more then one occasion in this opera. However I must say that it would have been a fine exclamation point on her beautiful rendition of this aria.

    As for the rest of the cast, I must agree with one of the other reviewers in saying that a more lyric tenor then Lopardo would have been better. Alagna would be an obvious choice for me given his voice and his ability to compliment Gheorghiu's voice and vice versa. Doming would have been wonderful, however he is too old at this point for the role opposite Gheorghiu. Having said this, Lopardo does a credible job and does not detract from the performance though he is not spectacular. Nucci is fantastic as alfredo's father. His voice is in great form, and his performance is very refined. A wonderful choice for the role.

    As for the rest of the production, Solti's conducting was rock solid as usual despite his advanced age. He was deeply involved in the production, and the orchestra showed it. The set was traditional, and the costumes were some of the best I have ever seen.

    I must comment briefly here on those reviewers that rank this performance as a one or two star effort. These people are those that dislike Gheorghiu for whatever reason. They will never like anything she does because of a personal dislike for her, rather then the quality of her performance.

    All in all this is a must buy....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 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
  • Brava, Madama!
    This opera comes at the height of Gheorghiu-madness, when she was a budding opera star coming full force onto the scene!
    This is the BEST sung La Traviata, at least on the female side. The often-painfully sung "Follie... Sempre Libera" is PERFECTION in beautiful Gheorghiu's hands, sung powerfully without strain or painful-sounding noises, er notes. =)
    The only weakness is a somewhat weak, nasally Alfredo. But Frank Lopardo is a great tenor despite this tendency.
    The elf-like late Sir Solti was a brilliant masterful conductor.
    Sets are minimal, acting is fantastic (as it happens, some of the best actors, like Pavarotti, are poor as actors), the singing is superb.
    Highly recommended!...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


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