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Thread: Verdi Opera on Disc - La Traviata

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Default Verdi Opera on Disc - La Traviata

    La traviata (The Fallen Woman)- libretto by Francesco Maria Piave. It is based on La Dame aux Camélias (1852), a play adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas, fils. It was first performed on 6 March 1853 at the La Fenice opera house in Venice. Piave and Verdi wanted to follow Dumas in giving the opera a contemporary setting, but due to the somewhat scandalous nature of the main character, the authorities at La Fenice insisted that it be set in the past, "c. 1700". It was not until the 1880s that the composer and librettist's original wishes were carried out and "realistic" productions were staged.
    The first performance was somewhat of a fiasco, partly due to the casting of soprano Fanny Salvini-Donatelli (a lady built for comfort not speed!) in the lead role of Violetta. During the last act someone called out at the rotund figure on stage: 'I see no consumption, only dropsy!' Of course, it has since become Verdi's most performed work, one of the most popular operas of all time.

    Of course, the name that immediately comes to mind is Callas in what was reckoned to be one of her greatest roles. Unfortunately all her assumptions on disc are marred either by inadequate supporting cast or poor recording quality. Having recorded the role for Cetra she was unable to take part in Legge's recording of the opera where the role went to Stella. Everything else is from live performances. So are there any other sopranos who deserve our attention?
    The other consideration is the conductor in order not to let this opera droop. So balancing the need of good singing, conducting and recording quality, what are your recommendations?

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    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    Absent Callas, these are the two that most affected me:

    IMG_0200.JPG
    Mostly due to Kleiber (I think there were cuts)

    IMG_0202.JPG
    I liked Lorengar and Aragall

    The Solti mostly for Lopardo and Nucci.

    To come clean, I've discarded all of the Traviata CDs and DVDs. I've only kep Callas Traviata recordings.
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    Last edited by MAS; Sep-09-2017 at 23:17.

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    Senior Member Lensky's Avatar
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    My recommendations






    and don't forget:


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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    I've long since burned out on this opera, but this is my favorite.



    Sills, Gedda and Panerai are great.
    Ceccato conducts grandly and the score is complete.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    Senior Member Pugg's Avatar
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    Amongst others mentioned already, special the Lorengar and Cortubas, my top 3 on CD

    This DVD , one is brave to reprise a roll where some other singer raise to fame with.




    And this one for the staging, this is how "regie " can look like and fine singers too.
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    "Mahatma Gandhi"

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    I just love "Traviata", from beginning to end.

    Here are some personal feelings about several sopranos singing Violetta, from the early 1900s to the 21st century:

    http://www.talkclassical.com/14197-f...light=traviata

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    Senior Member OperaChic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAS View Post
    Absent Callas, these are the two that most affected me:
    IMG_0200.JPG
    Mostly due to Kleiber (I think there were cuts)
    It's complete, I believe, it just has that horrid high C that's been patched in over Domingo's note that absolutely ruins the cabaletta. A huge blemish on an otherwise outstanding recording.

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    Senior Member Faustian's Avatar
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    I've been seriously considering purchasing the recording by Tullio Serafin with Victoria de Los Angeles as Violetta. Does anyone here have any opinions on this set?

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faustian View Post
    I've been seriously considering purchasing the recording by Tullio Serafin with Victoria de Los Angeles as Violetta. Does anyone here have any opinions on this set?
    Yes I have it. de los Angeles is a sweetheart of a Violetta. Del Monte is OK - blares a bit but there are a lot worse. Sereni is good.
    Sera fin's conducting cannot match Kleiber for electricity but conducts with his usual feel for the music.

    Lots of second hand copies available pretty cheap. Mine was less than £1
    Last edited by DavidA; Sep-10-2017 at 18:24.

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    It's important to realise just what a role a good conductor plays in this opera. I never really rated it until I got Kleiber's performance on DG (cheap second hand) and put it on. The electricity he generates is amazing.

    So my recordings:

    Callas with Resigno conducting. Pretty routine conducting but Callas is amazing and in good voice for 1958. Recording fair. Supporting cast moderate.

    Cotrubas with Kleiber. Really tremendous performance (a bit swift in places) with Domingo and Milnes both very good.

    Georghui / Solti - live performance - great performance from the soprano - rest of cast fair. Available on DVD

    de los Angeles / Serafin - sweetheart of a Violetta. Del Monte is OK - blares a bit but there are a lot worse. Sereni is good.
    Ser fin's conducting cannot match Kleiber for electricity but conducts with his usual feel for the music.

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    Senior Member Pugg's Avatar
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    Found this thread in the dungeons, from 2008.

    http://www.talkclassical.com/2965-my...f++La+traviata
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    "Mahatma Gandhi"

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    Senior Member Granate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OperaChic View Post
    (Keiber/Cotrubas/Domingo) is complete, I believe, it just has that horrid high C that's been patched in over Domingo's note that absolutely ruins the cabaletta. A huge blemish on an otherwise outstanding recording.
    Same for me. I can hardly get through that section.

    This is a hell of a thread for me. This opera almost needs three stellar singers. Only three! To succeed. Don Carlo needs five or more, but I'm done trying Traviatas. I got past all the superstars and none of them were definitive.

    My picks are:
    1. Kleiber/Cotrubas/Domingo for singing quality, and also my first experience listening to the opera. I find Cotrubas more fit for Violetta than many others. The bad thing is that I have to get through all the cuts and, like OperaChic pointed, it's sometimes awful.
    2. Pritchard/Sutherland/Bergonzi for team work. There are no cuts and the recording is incredibly consistent. I can get past the early Joan Sutherland diction issues, much more than her early Norma, Semiramide, Lucia di Lammermoor '71, Sonnambula (is she really in Rigoletto?). Bergonzi and Merrill are fine.
    3. Rizzi/Netrebko/Villazón for the PARTY and Alfredo. I cannot recall a more intense Act I as this version. Too bad that Acts II and III turn weaker. Hampson does not play a good Germont for me. Villazón dresses as Tannhäuser and sings the best Alfredo I can think of, over Domingo.
    4. Ghione/Callas/Kraus for Callas. The Divina is not a rightful Violetta for me. She may be pretty but her typhoon voice is too powerful for a raver courtesan that is about to fall from tuberculosis. It's my own taste. Kraus is fine. Excellent sound in the Myto release. One does not miss the studio recording but I hate the clapping between arias.





    Last edited by Granate; Sep-13-2017 at 18:47.

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    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Don't have too much to add here, except to plug the 1952 Tebaldi RAI performance with Giulini, which I don't think has been mentioned yet. Early 50s radio so the sound isn't great, but it's a pretty fantastic performance--she's not super graceful on the act 1 coloratura but is otherwise spectacular.

    But agree with those who vote for Covent Garden Callas as the most satisfying overall recording. Some painful notes, but wonderful overall, and Valletti is an excellent Alfredo.

    For studio versions, I like the Monteux/Carteri, the Solti/Gheorghiu, and the Serafin/VDLA, but rarely listen to them compared to the other two above.

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    Don't have too much to add here, except to plug the 1952 Tebaldi RAI performance with Giulini, which I don't think has been mentioned yet. Early 50s radio so the sound isn't great, but it's a pretty fantastic performance--she's not super graceful on the act 1 coloratura but is otherwise spectacular.
    Glad you mentioned Tebaldi, I have the live 56 MET Mitropoulos with very good sound great price currently at Amazon USA, and recently a very good live 55 ROH on Pristine XR with Tito Gobbi's Scarpia......I have not heard the 52 you mention, but perhaps I should correct that very soon

    Last edited by DarkAngel; Sep-13-2017 at 20:30.

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    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    Glad you mentioned Tebaldi, I have the live 56 MET Mitropoulos with very good sound great price currently at Amazon USA, and recently a very good live 55 ROH on Pristine XR with Tito Gobbi's Scarpia......I have not heard the 52 you mention, but perhaps I should correct that very soon

    I was talking about her Traviata, but that 1955 Tosca is very very good--I wasn't aware Pristine did that one, so that might go on my list. I've not heard that Mitropoulos, how does it compare? I already have the two studio recordings as well so I hadn't been seeking out another Tebaldi Tosca to be honest, and Tucker has never been one of my favorites.

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