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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Callas "Traviata"
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...
Published on 3 Mar 2009 by Ralph Moore

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not full opera
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.
Published 6 months ago by Icehockeyboy


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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 "Ralph operaphile" (Bishop's Stortford, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: La Traviata (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. She maintains such poise and control in key moments such as "Dite alla giovane" that it is easy to forgive the odd instance of vocal frailty - of which there are surprisingly few, in any case. (This is already available more cheaply on Myto, by the way.)

P.S. A mild curiosity: just after the overture has begun, you can hear Callas warming up quietly in the wings, accompanying the orchestra! Presumably this is something the mike picked up but the audience could not.
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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
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This review is from: La Traviata (Audio CD)
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
By 
S. Smith (Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: La Traviata (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
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This review is from: La Traviata (MP3 Download)
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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Verdi - La Traviata - Highlights
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