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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful singing & acting from the 'dream couple'!
Back in the days of vinyl records I could always rely on the quality of Deutsche Grammophon records to deliver a quality of sound which was generally better and less prone to the hiss and crackle which pervaded most records. This hallmark of quality seems to have transferred to their range of Blu-ray recordings - The Berlin Concert, Manon, Le Nozze di Figaro, Romeo et...
Published on 10 Dec. 2010 by Nigel Mc

versus
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars D. W. Neill
Why to some directors need to create a production that makes nonsence? e.g. the Libiamo chorus with all the chorus dressed as men is rediculous.
I would not have bought this DVD had I known about this production beforehand
Published on 29 Aug. 2011 by D. Neill


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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful singing & acting from the 'dream couple'!, 10 Dec. 2010
By 
Nigel Mc (The Chilterns) - See all my reviews
Back in the days of vinyl records I could always rely on the quality of Deutsche Grammophon records to deliver a quality of sound which was generally better and less prone to the hiss and crackle which pervaded most records. This hallmark of quality seems to have transferred to their range of Blu-ray recordings - The Berlin Concert, Manon, Le Nozze di Figaro, Romeo et Juliette and La Traviata being obvious examples. All these dvd's share exemplary audio and visual quality as well as a decent menu system that actual delivers what most customers want! This latter feature is often taken for granted but I have found numerous examples of unfriendly menu's - as for example on the very recent 25th Anniversary Concert of Les Miserable!

But high fidelity and video quality are not the only things to look for when choosing which Traviata to buy. Potential purchasers of this version can be reassured by the fact that tickets for this performance at the 2005 Salzburg Festival were oversubscribed 8 fold and that black market tickets reached record prices. Everyone wanted to see the `dream couple' perform in this innovative new production.

Traditionalists should probably look elsewhere because you are likely to be disappointed with this version. The set is minimalist in the extreme with 4 bland sofas and a large clock being the sole items of furniture. However, for me this approach worked and it does concentrate your attention on the things that really matter - the singing and the acting.

Both lead singers are on magnificent form and Netrebko's velvety pure tone has rarely sounded better. The lead singers are all convincing actors and in this performance greater emphasis is placed on the pure joy of Violetta and Alfredo's initial relationship. Here there are parallels with the second act of Manon when the lovers (Netrebko and Villazon) are obviously besotted by each other. The utter joy of their love makes the subsequent enforced separation even more tragic than that portrayed in many other productions.

The director also abandons the normal breaks between the two scenes in Act 2 and between Acts 2 and 3. This works reasonably well because of the minimalistic set. However, in the final Act Violetta instructs her maid, Annina, to give her small amount of money to the poor but this flew in the face of the fact that Alfredo's winnings were still scattered with profusion across the centre of the stage. I was also a tad concerned that Violetta was pronounced to be dead while she was technically still in a standing position - a little premature, I thought!

Ok - these are very small, mild criticisms which did not detract from my enjoyment of the opera. I thought that the symbolism of the large clock was a valid reminder that Violetta was living on borrowed time. The almost continual presence of the doctor (or was he `death') was also quite apt.

But most of all you will wish to own this dvd for the wonderful singing and acting of the `dream couple'. The disc comes with a couple of extra's including a very generous 43 minute view `Behind the Scenes'. It is a shame that this is not in high definition but you cannot have everything you want in life! Overall this disc is highly recommended, especially in the Blu-ray version.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish I could give this 6 stars......blu-ray review, 5 Oct. 2011
By 
Trev-R (Boston UK) - See all my reviews
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From 2005 this recording brings together Netrebko and Villason at their best. Thomas Hampson's brilliant performance is the icing on the cake.

Anna Netrebko is vocally exquisite and physically so gorgeous that she is totally believable. So gorgeous in her white slip that there is a danger (for men) of forgetting you are watching an opera.

Rolando Villason is absolutely brilliant both vocally and in his acting. Recorded before his throat surgery it gives a glimpse of a career that could have equalled or bettered Pavarotti's I hope he recovers and continues to match his pre-operation performance.

Thomas Hampson gives one of his best ever performances IMHO and helps to make this recording one of the best, if not the best one on blu-ray or DVD.

The blu-ray quality is excellent. The simple staging of this version seems to lend itself well to hi def.

Sound wise the Dolby 5.1 HD is very good. I listened to it on Sony 7.1 3D headphones and it was superb.

The production may not be to everyone's taste. No big dresses and big collars, no lush scenery but it really works and I found it very refreshing. I think I own 7 La Traviata's and this is my favourite.
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5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT VIOLETTA, WONDERFUL ALFREDO, POOR GERMONT, 1 Mar. 2009
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Eva Mei's voice has matured, gaining body and expressive power, and here she manages to go to the heart of the character in a powerful, subtle and beautifully sung Violetta. She has all the notes and sings them with feeling and full dramatic awareness. In fact she could teach a lesson or two to more promoted divas of today as Fleming or Gheorgiu. Beczala is a marvelous Alfredo, with a powerful lyric voice and plenty of "squillo", used with great sensitivite and, though he is not as good dramatically as Mei, he certainly creates a credible character. The big dissapointment for me is the Germont of Thomas Hampson. He's a great singer and I have enjoyed many of his recordings, but he never seemed entirely right for Verdi. Here he offers a very stentorian and unidiomatic performance, failing to catch the moral nastiness of the character and portraying a feeble bourgeois, often aimlessly moving around the stage and confusing being forceful with being plain loud. Subtlety seems foreign to him this night. The producction is not intrusive, but not particularly interesting either. The orchertra sounds well. Still a top rate for the excellence of the two central characters.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 14 Feb. 2013
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I was not a great fan of Anna Netrebko until converted by this recording. Ms Netrebko's Violetta is sexy as well as passionate and the production loses few opportunities to show off this attractive singer looking her youthful best. Villazon is equally appealing as Alfredo and, as actors as well as singers, they make a credible, modern and "hot" couple.This is perhaps as well, for the reason that the set is minimalist and there would otherwise not be much to look at.

The singing is as good as any other production that I have seen and never falters but, to get the most out of it, you may need to improve your TV's sound or play the music through a HiFi system, as I do. This brings out DG's sound engineering skills, which I have found patchy on other labels or early recordings. I have several film / video versions of La Traviata but this is the one that I would keep if I had to choose only one.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lucy's dad da, 30 Oct. 2006
This review is from: La Traviata: Salzburg Festival (Rizzi) [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
A Beautiful production, this salzburg 2005 recording of La Traviata is a sensation. Your emotions will be riding high throughout this performance. Netrebko as Violetta and Villazon as Alfredo really do look good together, both are superb actors but most importantly their singing is a dream to listen to. the modern day setting is very colourful and thought provocking especially the massive clock that shows Violetta's time ticking away, very symbolic! Bonus DVD is very enjoyable and imformative, it really shows that Rolando and Anna have good fun interacting together. I can't wait for their next Opera together.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Verdi La Traviata (Blu-ray) (2009) Nebreko/Villazon, 18 Mar. 2011
By 
Derek Vernon-morris (Greater Manchester UK) - See all my reviews
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Not only is Anna Netbreko slim and pretty, but she sings impeccably, with tremendous instinctive acting ability. Ludovico Villazon has great expressive charisma with a pleasant and powerful voice that he is able to project and modulate infinitely. They bring to life the exhilarating but doomed love affair of Violetta, and Alfredo, in and around Paris with compulsion and intensity.
The simple white curved stage contains only a gigantic clock, as Violetta's time is marked fatefully, and three or four sofas, which are moved around by the cast: red to match her dress in her glorious courtesan days with a drinking song, covered in opulent floral fabric during their surprisingly athletic days of loving, and white for her sober and ailing last days.
In contrast to the continuing revelry of Paris outside, Violetta sings her final beautiful aria dressed in a long black coat, and little white shift dress, centre stage, this really is compelling drama.
Luigi Roni as the Doctor, moves silently with measured tread through all the action, or observes it from above, like Father Time, the Grim Reaper.
Thomas Hampson plays Ludovico's father Giogio Germont with equal drama and compassion.

This production staged by Willy Decker, designed by Wolfgang Gussman and directd by Brian Large, for the 2005 Salzburg Festival is well suited to Blu-ray which gives it a sharp natural quality. This is particularly effective during the Baccanale of act three, when the Chorus all wear masks of Violetta, and parody her days as the toast of Paris.

The costumes suggest the late 20th Century to present day, as well as maintaining a timeless and period feeling. Entertaining interviews and behind scenes rehersals are also included on this DVD.
The sound of the Wiener Concert Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Carlo Rizzi recorded by Deutsche Grammophon during all seven performances is clear and perfect, this has to be another ten star rating, presenting Verdi, like never before.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this production if you want singing with superb acting. Should come with free box of tissues!, 6 Feb. 2015
By 
Worldlife (Sussex, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This modern production is outstanding and so moving. Both Anna (in this production) and Natalie ( Met?) add superb acting to excellent singing. Great musical interpretations by all cast, conductor and musicians. A friend who said she did not like opera was entranced by the drama and emotions.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new take on Verdi's masterpiece, 19 Jan. 2007
By 
Robert Petersen (Durban, South Africa) - See all my reviews
This review is from: La Traviata: Salzburg Festival (Rizzi) [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
I am delighted to own this DVD as the production offers a new take on Verdi's masterpiece. Fond memories of productions featuring Gheorghiu and Gruberova are not eclipsed with this new version, although I am tempted to say that I enjoyed this version more than the others. The principals sing and act excellently and I can see why this production caused such excitement when it was premiered at the 2005 Salzburg Festival. For those of you who are lucky to own the Delux Edition, the bonus features are a real delight.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Verdi re-invigorated., 18 Aug. 2007
By 
Michael Walsh "mikew" (Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: La Traviata: Salzburg Festival (Rizzi) [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
I've had three or four various DVD/VHS of La Traviata, but none has come up to the really high standard of this new one, with Netrebko and Villazon.
I thought the starkness of the "set" was a bit of a shock at the beginning of the opera, but I need not have worried. The superlative singing of both the Principals and the supporting cast made this one of the best Operas I have ever seen, either on stage or on DVD. We, the Audience are very lucky to be able to watch such top-notch singing and acting. I think that Netrebko and Villazon really bring out the best in each other. One slight disappointment 'tho----I think Hampson is one of the best baritones in the world; indeed I "have" him on several CDs/DVDs.
I thought his acting was a bit wooden in this. Perhaps I got that feeling because of the excellence of the other two principals. All in all,
a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The "extra" disc was also very interesting. I wish more recording companies would do the same. Congratulations to DG for bringing us La Traviata.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A miracle of direction and performance, 5 Jun. 2010
By 
Russ (Cambridgeshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: La Traviata: Salzburg Festival (Rizzi) [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
On blu-ray this is as near to perfection as you could hope for. One feels that at last Verdi's great opera has been given the direction and performance it has always longed for. I can't imagine anything surpassing the performances of all the leading characters or of them being better supported by the remainder of the cast. The acting and singing are both stunning and are given greater emphasis by the simplicity and beauty of the stage set. Netrebko and Villazon radiate charisma and make this is a truly momentous and unforgettable occasion.
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