This is a live recording of a performance at Theatro Giuseppe Verdi in Bussetto, near the birthplace of Verdi, in 2002. The stage is small, and the whole action takes place on steps in the centre, making the stage look even more cramped. But, the sets produced by Franco Zeffirelli are handsome. The production was also directed by Zeffirelli.
The star of this performance is Stefania Bonfadelli. She is not an international star, but she looks the role, acts naturally and sings very beautifully. In the opening scene, she already looks rather ill as one of the earlier reviewers noted. But, her health evidently improves slightly thereafter.
Scott Piper (Alfredo) is OK, but I sometimes feel that he is not always perfect in intonation and does not totally identify himself with his role. I would prefer a singer with a bright and firm timbre (bel canto) for this role.
Renato Bruson (Germont senior) - a veteran Verdi baritone - is excellent, singing with a firm tone and deep feelings. Following the famous aria about Provence, sung to his son in Act 2, he receives a long and enthusiastic applause.
Placido Domingo's conducting is good, although the small orchestra does not produce a sonorous sound as we normally expect from a large opera house orchestra. But, this cannot be helped. On the whole, this is an enjoyable recording and is a valuable addition to other larger-scale versions such as the one by Solti (with Angela Gheorghiu).