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Verdi - La Traviata - Highlights

Giuseppe Verdi , Bavarian State Orchestra , Carlos Kleiber , Ileana Cotrubas , Placido Domingo , et al. Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 10.95
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Bavarian State Orchestra
  • Conductor: Carlos Kleiber
  • Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
  • Audio CD (19 April 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000025WT1
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 240,819 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Callas "Traviata" 3 Mar 2009
By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
The Santa Fe listener has beaten me to it with his comprehensive and discriminating review on Amazon.com, so I will not render this review otiose by re-hashing his observations, as I pretty much agree with his judgement. (I will readily confess that I sometimes find him harsh and uncharitable in his pronouncements, but this one is right on the money.) This as close as we shall ever get to the-recording-that-never-was-but-should-have-been. I would add only that it would be dishonest to fail to remark that Callas' top notes are indeed a bit screamy - but they pale into insignificance when set against the depth and brilliance of her Violetta. She is in good voice and for once worthily partnered; Valletti especially is in perfect voice; youthful, boyish, unaffected and impassioned. He never makes an ugly sound but there is no shortage of commitment to his Alfredo. The sound is perfectly adequate: a bit hissy and congested but, unlike the La Scala recording, consistent throughout. It is true that Zanasi sounds far too young as Germont - turn to Bruscantini for an authentic sounding father (see my review of the Gardelli set with Freni and Bonisolli) - but he sings honestly and expressively with far more sensitivity than either the detached Sereni or the boorish Bastianini (much as I love both in other roles and recordings). Rescigno supports Callas unobtrusively with flexible, unhurried tempi and his calm control obviously allowed the diva to feel as comfortable as possible.

This is the set I shall take down from my shelves when I want to hear Callas' incomparable characterisation of Violetta in all its lacerating pity and pathos; for me, it renders the other two pirated recordings and the Cetra studio recording obsolete.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific performance by Maria Callas 12 May 2009
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This absolutely terrific performance of Verdi's opera "La Traviata" is a new release of a private recording made in the Royal Opera House Covent Garden on 20th June 1958. It has circulated previously as a pirated disc but now has been released officially for the very first time.

It is the most complete of the recordings of Maria Callas singing Violetta in the opera, and rather than being made in a studio this performance is live. Of course it's mono and we get the odd bump and thump from the stage, together with the variations in volume as the singers move about on stage and the odd bit of coughing from the audience. There is also an audible hiss on the CD but all this hardly matters in one of the finest recordings of "La Traviata" of the 20th century. The audience periodically interrupts the music with applause and the whole performance just gets better and better.

Callas is in glorious voice in this disc. She is slightly shrieky occasionally on the top notes but has no trouble reaching them and there are very few out of tune moments and the coloratura is wonderfully accurate. Cesare Valletti is a terrific Alfredo and Rescigno takes the whole opera at a steady pace which is well suited to the abilities of the singers, chorus and orchestra. Mario Zanasi as Germont also has a beautiful voice and though he is not quite authoratative enough he sings the music with lovely legato and bel canto.

The Royal Opera House Chorus and Orchestra are in good form and although there is the occasional untidy moment this really doesn't matter.

The real star of the show however is Callas who is at the top of her form here and has no trouble with any of the difficult coloratura passages, letting her voice swell and blossom most beautifully. The final death scene with all its high drama is sung (and spoken) with all of Callas's dramatic flair and the whole operatic evening is an amazing achievement which we are fortunate has been preserved.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Virginia Zeani is the Definitive Violetta 20 May 2011
Format:Audio CD
The great Virginia Zeani was largely overlooked by the recording studios which is a tragic misfortune for those who admire great singing. The lack of studio recordings is a confusing puzzle when one takes into consideration the quality of her performance on this recording. Madame Zeani was one of this century's greatest singing actresses with a ravishly beautiful voice through which she weaved rich emotional colouring to create the definitive interpretation of Verdi's tragic heroine. Zeani's singing is secure and her diction unmatched. The emotional journey of the title character from the beginning to the end of the opera has never been more convincingly interpreted than by Madame Zeani. Violetta was her signature role, one that she sang 648 times, and this recording is a great testament to her artistry.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not full opera 2 Mar 2014
Format:MP3 Download|Verified Purchase
As it says above really, the total length of music is nowhere as long as it should be.
Although cheap, it was a waste of money.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars $5 for these wonderful Traviata highlights is a steal. 7 Dec 2000
By "wolfgangman" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Both Ileana Cotrubas and Nicolai Gedda are in fine voice for this 1971 live performance from the Vienna Staatsoper. Cotrubas, in particular, was in the early spring of her career and had just signed a three year contract with the house. All the promise of a magnificent career can be heard in her already maturing artistry and dramatic emphasis, and that, combined with the youthful bloom and beauty of her lovely, evenly placed soprano, makes this a thrilling operatic introduction. We get a generous hour and a quarter of music and the particular joy of hearing Cornell Macneil's authentic Verdian baritone in it's prime. Josef Krips conducts with rather too much enthusiasm at times, and leaves his tenor, soprano and chorus behind for a moment or two in Act 1. It's interesting to hear them musically bumping into each other and the overall musical and dramatic effect is not badly spoiled. The recording quality is surprisingly, very good. This is a must buy, especially at the excellent price.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Callas classic I never before had 4 Feb 2014
By John D. Truslow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Vinyl|Verified Purchase
If it were possible to give this record a higher rating, I'd give it one. Never have I seen a more lavish package. And the sound quality gets better and better as the opera approaches its heart-breaking end. -jdt
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting 14 Feb 2005
By S. Greer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Josef Krips is my favorite conductor of all time, especially of Mozart. I had never heard him conduct Verdi, and even though he would have been of an advanced age in 1971 (the year of this recording), I bought it anyway.

This is good collection of highlights: it is over 70 minutes long and includes pretty much every major aria and ensemble in the opera. The conducting of Krips is, as I expected, logical and elegant in his Viennese fashion. As another reviewer has noted, there are a few beats where the singers and orchestra aren't in the same groove - but it's a live performance, and the performers are on their toes and are back together in no time. These mistakes are merely ripples and no energy is lost.

Nicolai Gedda annd Ileana Cotrubas (who is to me the most splendid of all Violettas), are no-brainers. They sparkle together in as Alfredo and Violetta should, and sink together properly later on as well.

The recording quality is merely decent; but for a budget label, such is hardly unexpected. Get this if you like Krips, or great conducting in general, and certainly if you enjoyed Cotrubas in the Kleiber set.
3.0 out of 5 stars A great performance marred by the poor recording quality 15 Dec 2006
By William L. Maddox - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
A very stirring performance of La Traviata, highlighted by a great cast, Sutherland, Pavarotti, Milnes and Von Stade, all in their primes and in great voice. By 1970 Sutherland's interpretation of Violetta had grown tremendously from her first studio recording. Pavarotti and Milnes sing Alfredo and Germont beautifully. This CD sounds like a pirated recording and at times everything sounds like it is coming from the bottom of a barrel, with the audience's noices being front and center at times. Also, the recording level balance favors Pavarotti in his duets with Sutherland; his voice is crystal clear and I assume do to the immense size of her soprano, her voice is awash in distortion. If you can find it cheap, it may be worth it to either Sutherland or Pavarotti fans.
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