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Thread: My favorite version of " La traviata"

  1. #91
    Senior Member Marschallin Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Most emphatically not the Salzburg 2005. The story of a prostitute sacrificing passion on the altar of respectability is culture-situated and becomes nonsensical in a twentieth-century setting. This is a period piece if ever there was one. I couldn't believe for one moment that a stuffy old man could walk in and talk slinky Anna Netrebko into giving up free love so that her boy toy's sister wouldn't be embarrassed. This, plus Ms. Netrebko looking awfully healthy almost to the end, plus some funny business with the scenery and such, plus a weird ending, was enough to drive me right into the alabaster arms of Garbo (not an unpleasant prospect in any case).
    --
    Why dignify it with your money? Don't go.-- I don't. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.

  2. #92
    Senior Member Marschallin Blair's Avatar
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    GregMitchell on Violetta in Traviata: It is not so deeply rooted in the morals of the day as you might think. We still have a class system, and I doubt many upper class families would take well to the prospect of having a known prostitute marry into the family; and think of the repercussions if that woman were HIV positive. As long as one did not change the character of Violetta, who is a truly good woman despite her profession; that is surely the point of the opera.
    Yes. Just that.

    -- And that's why Violetta's an archetype and the story's timeless; as any great drama inevitably is.

    What's that saying of Umberto Ecco's?: "Stories are just other stories retold." The characters of Ibsen, and Shakespeare, and Verdi, and Aeschylus, and (yes! like it or not!) Tennessee Williams, and Moliere aren't partially or provisionally true; but rather entirely and eternally true. . . that is to say, as long as people-- with their attandant vices, virtues, lusts, vanities, and pathological afflictions-- continue to act like fallible humans and not like the Cherubim of Dante's Empyrean.

    So there's no need to be clever and post-modernist and make Violetta into something she isn't. She exists today, somewhere, someplace. . . perhaps in a different setting; but never in a different character. . .

    Provided that the character-context of Violetta is firmly in place, the time and location is merely incidental. Though, I must confess, I do prefer the elegant salon of fin-de-siecle Paris. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.

    So, as far as these post-modern productions of "Traviata"-that-aren't-'Traviata' go-- the aforementioned Salzburg production and Netrebko's revisionist nonsense being perfect cases in point-- it's a form of aesthetic nihilism so wide of the mark that it's scarcely worth my derision. . . or dollars. I simply won't attend those performances.
    Last edited by Marschallin Blair; Apr-04-2014 at 21:44.

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  4. #93
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marschallin Blair View Post
    --
    Why dignify it with your money? Don't go.-- I don't. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.
    I didn't go. I caught the video on YouTube and was glad I hadn't.

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  6. #94
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    I suppose that is the bottom line. If it works convincingly, more power to them.

    I'd forgotten that early productions pulled back from the contemporary concept of the original. Do you think it was just habitually conservative tastes that weren't used to opera in contemporary dress, or a real discomfort with looking at certain elements in contemporary society?
    Stiffelio failed too, and the contemporary setting may have had something to do with that. Maybe audiences found it hard to accept opera in a contemporary setting. Even now, the few operas that are written usually turn to the past for their inspiration.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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  8. #95
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    My favourite La Traviata is recorded in Tokyo, in 1973 (I think), with Renata Scotti and Josep Carreras

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bellinilover View Post
    My thoughts:

    Like many here I love the Carlos Kleiber version on DG with Cotrubas, Domingo, and Milnes. It was my first complete Traviata and to date the only one I own.
    Is it complete? Mine understand is there are cuts. Can anyone confirm or deny?

  10. #97
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gellio View Post
    Is it complete? Mine understand is there are cuts. Can anyone confirm or deny?
    There are some small cuts. You get all the cabalettas, but often second verses are cut. It doesn't bother me unduly, and, among studio recordings of the opera, it's my personal favourite.

    That said, when I want to listen to La Traviata, I tend to choose Callas, and more particularly her 1958 Covent Garden performance, a performance of such searing truth that you forget this is opera and feel that you are witnessing real life tragedy itself. Fortunately the sound is quite acceptable, especially on Myto or Ars Vocalis, though the ICA Classics transfer should be avoided.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

  11. #98
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    The problem with Callas' Traviatas is they are not well recorded. From the appalling to the tolerable. As a result the one I listen to most is Carlos Kleiber's fizzing run of the piece

  12. #99
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    The problem with Callas' Traviatas is they are not well recorded. From the appalling to the tolerable. As a result the one I listen to most is Carlos Kleiber's fizzing run of the piece
    Not true. The Covent Garden one, a BBC Third Programme broadcast, is perfectly acceptable, especially in its Ars Vocalis incarnation. The Myto transfer is also pretty good.

    It's true that, with these live performances from the 50s, there are some pretty terrible transfers around and you have to dig around a bit to find a good one, but don't tar them all with the same brush. You keep saying the same about the De Sabata Macbeth. The old EMI blue box is atrocious, but there are much better ones out there, Myto for one.
    Last edited by Tsaraslondon; Mar-05-2019 at 18:47.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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  14. #100
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    It all depends on your definition of what is acceptable sound. I own the Myto Covent Garden Traviata, and while I enjoy it very much, it is never the first Traviata I reach for when I want to listen to this particular opera. It is, however, indispensable if you want to hear Callas in the piece.

  15. #101
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by betterthanfine View Post
    It all depends on your definition of what is acceptable sound. I own the Myto Covent Garden Traviata, and while I enjoy it very much, it is never the first Traviata I reach for when I want to listen to this particular opera. It is, however, indispensable if you want to hear Callas in the piece.
    I suppose we all have a different level of tolerance. For such a performance I will put up with less than hi-fi stereo sound. It's the same with Norma. Callas recorded it twice in the studio, but the recording I invariably reach for is the live La Scala 1955 version.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member Diminuendo's Avatar
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    Personally I don't care so much about the sound quality. Performance is what matters and if that is able to shine through, then I have no issues. With Callas I mostly go with live performances if one is available. You may have to look a bit for the best transfer, but it's worth it. I'd rather listen to an exceptional performance in not that good sound than an ok performance in perfect sound. It's understandable that we all have different tolerances and that's fine. Many of Callas' live performances that we have are ones that many of us would probably sell various body parts, family members, etc. to have been able to see them. So I'm just happy that so many were recorded that we are able to hear them.

    I prefer to think that every recording whether it's live or studio is just great to have and enjoy. I'm sure we all have those live performances that we wish had been recorded or perhaps some opera that we wish had been recorded in studio. I'm just happy that there is so much material to enjoy.

    As far as my favorite version of La Traviata goes it has to be Callas. I can't pick just one performance because they all have something different to offer. For many it's the Covent Garden performance, but I really like Alfredo Kraus. I really like the La Scala one with Di Stefano, but I really love the Mexico performance with Di Stefano too. Like Gobbi said that what Callas was able to do in Mexico was amazing. She improved her interpretation of the role a lot later, but there is something magical about that performance. I guess in the end I love different things about the different performances. I'm just so happy I don't have to stick with just one. I just wish we could have had the dream team studio recording.
    "First I sing loud. When I start to run out of breath I sing softer" Giuseppe Di Stefano on his Faust high c diminuendo

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  18. #103
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diminuendo View Post
    Personally I don't care so much about the sound quality. .
    Must confess I'm getting less and less tolerant of poor sound quality. One problem is you can't hear half of what is going on and have to imagine it. I mean, why put cup with it when you can hear the brilliant Kleiber performance in good sound?
    Last edited by DavidA; Mar-08-2019 at 09:53.

  19. #104
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Must confess I'm getting less and less tolerant of poor sound quality. One problem is you can't hear half of what is going on and have to imagine it. I mean, why put cup with it when you can hear the brilliant Kleiber performance in good sound?

    Because, good though that is, you don't get Callas in one of her greatest roles in front of one of her most loyal audiences on a night when everything came together to create the kind of performance that could never be recreated in a studio, however great the sound. It puts you in the theatre as it happened and that's what makes it irreplaceable.

    I tend to feel this about live performances in general, and I usually prefer those that record the event as it happened, rather than cobbling it together from various live performance, which is what happens when the big companies record them.

    Yesterday I listened to Reiner's 1949 Met Salome, with Ljuba Welitsch quite the most thrilling Salome I have ever heard. Sonically of course it cannot hope to compare to my favourite studio version (the Karajan/Behrens version) but that is not going to prevent me from hearing one of the greatest ever interpreters of the role when she was in her very brief prime. Yes, one's ears sometimes have to fill in the gaps, so to speak, but once you know a work quite well that's not so difficult.

    I'm the opposite of you, David. I find that, as I get older, I become more tolerant of less than perfect sound. So few of today's singers can match what we hear from singers of previous generations. When I was young I hated recordings from before the LP era. Now I often end up preferring them.
    Last edited by Tsaraslondon; Mar-08-2019 at 10:45.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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  21. #105
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    The quest for the favorite Traviata is ongoing. Kleiber, yes he establishes the yearning and the tragedy from the first bar of the prelude but despite Cotrubas’ great assumption it’s all a bit too polished, and Domingo does not sound like a young lad who’d fall I love with a courtesan. Then there are too versions by Muti, regrettably Scotto just isn’t lovable enough in the first, and Muti’s conducting deteriorated to disqualify the second version entirely. That’s also where the video with Ms Stratas falls down, the conductor falls a sleep at the helmet and so do the rest of us. My journey came to an end when I heard Victoria De Los Angeles. Tillie Serafin’s conducting establishes the right emotion from the outset, his is the best on record. Victoria de Los Angeles may not be all fireworks but her assumption is the most heart breaking, and the most ardent and youthful. Once you listen to her you’ll not be able too o get it out of your head. She is well supported.

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