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on 31 March 2010
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).
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on 23 June 2016
I bought this DVD recording in Italy as part of a series promoting the newly renovated Teatro Alla Scala .
I think this is a pretty production , but too small and insignificant to be presented as a major recording .
On first hearing I didn't think Stefania Bonfadelli sang very well , but is a pretty girl and looked the part .
On later hearing I did change my mind a little.
I wondered whether Scott Piper was a student of Placido Domingo ? For me he was the weak link in this production .
I didn't think he was tenor enough , or ready to sing this role , he seemed very shy of top notes . this opera calls for some passionate singing ,
that needs a fine bel canto youthful voice and ringing top notes .
I am not really a fan of Renato Bruson , I do not feel his Germont sufficiently softens . this role offer a baritone the opportunity for great musicality , which I think Bruson misses .
I especially liked the fat lady in the chorus who darts about the stage showing off her acting ability . This charming young lady gave a recital at the Grand Hotel in Florence . I was asked to turn the pages for the pianist . For my participation I was invited to join the dinner , a very delicious meal with beef stroganoff as the main course and Rosso di Montalcino wine .
I note the two recordings offered here are rather highly priced . There are many other productions of this opera that can be bought for far less money . I would like to have the Metropolian Zeffirelly film with young Placido Domingo in fine voice , Teresa Stratas who was a most convincing Violetta , a beautiful film from beginning to end .
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on 20 April 2005
A refreshing difference to see Domingo in the pit instead of on the stage. He conducts well and sensitively, though there is non of the antics of his Fledermaus production, when he actually sang a couple of lines while conducting!
But the stars here are of course the two young leads. I've never heard of either but it's clear they will both go far.
The previous review is completely irrelevant to this DVD, and refers instead to another production in which Domingo sings, along with Stratas and Levine at the Met.
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on 24 March 2009
I started my opera experience with this DVD "La Traviata" with Stefania Bonfadelli and Scott Piper directed by that master who is Zeffirelli.
I was not an opera fan but now I'm thanks expecially to Stefania Bonfadelli. I watched other playing of her role but I think she is a pure Violetta not only in the way she sings but also for her look, gazing and moving. Perferct ***** (five stars).
Scott Piper interpretation grows during the play and I think was perfect.
Bruson as the father of Alfredo was terrific
Last but not least Zeffirelli was able to put together a perfect cast and a beautiful scenery.
A must see.
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on 9 July 2012
This was not the film version we thought we were ordering but a stage version directed by Placido Domingo. Great anyway and my mother (for whom the DVD was bought) thoroughly enjoyed it.
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on 6 January 2007
Stafania Bonfadelli gives us a wonderful Violetta. She is the first I've seen who looks as though she may be ill from the beginning. Scott Piper started a little quietly but very soon gave of his best. A thoroughly enjoyable production altogether. (With Zeffirelli directing and Domingo weilding the baton, could we expect any different.)
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on 22 November 2007
It is difficult to tell the difference between this DVD and a high definition one. The production and the artists are superlative and if that was not all, the camera work sets a very high standard. "Those eyes"! You will see what I mean when you watch it!
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on 7 October 2004
"La Traviata" is undoubtedly Verdi's loveliest and most romantic opera, with no subplots to detract from the ill-fated love of Violetta and Alfredo, and the melodies are sublime and plentiful.
Though as a rule I prefer a stage production to an "opera film", because the vocals usually have less passion to them, and the lip-synching is often noticeable, "La Traviata" is ideally suited to director Zeffirelli's lavish style of sumptuous ornate sets and beautiful outdoor settings, making this an opera that would be enjoyed by those who are either unfamiliar with, or don't particularly like opera, as well as the aficionados.
Teresa Stratas is a delicate, wonderful Violetta, with her huge eyes and petite stature assets for the part of the ailing heroine, and Placido Domingo, with beard and tousled hair, is fabulous as Alfredo, a part that is surely one of the most naïve and foolish of heroes, but blessed with marvelous music to sing.
James Levine conducts with good pacing, and Cornell MacNeil makes an excellent Papa Germont.
A special treat for ballet fans is the performance by the exquisite Russian ballerina Ekaterina Maximova, and her husband, the great Vladimir Vasiliev, as the Spanish matador dancers; The choreography is by Alberto Testa, and includes Gabriella Borni as the gypsy dancer. This Second Act scene, with the "Noi siamo zingarelle" and "Di Madride noi siam mattadori" is some of the most delightful music in the opera, and it is marvelous to see it danced so well.
The DVD extras are supposed to be: Production notes, Cast/filmmakers' bios, Film highlights, Theatrical trailer, and web links, but my disc did not display options, so was obviously defective; I would have loved to have removed the captions and subtitles, which is also an option, as well as being able to have subtitles in French.
A sublime opera with a terrific cast, this is very satisfying viewing and listening, even for "stage production" fanatics like me. Total playing time is 1 hour and 45 minutes.
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