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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 21 May 2011
Franco Zeffirelli's 1982 film version of Verdi's wonderful opera is, for me, an
all-time classic. Having watched my video recording of a televised transmission,
over a quarter of a century ago, numerous times, I am even more thrilled by this
DVD version.
Using the Prelude to set the scene, with Violetta, close to death, remembering and
visualising the events that had so tragically brought her to this final plight,
Zeffirelli immediately captures our compassion, and the entire production is far more emotionally-charged than any stage version could be, because of the reality
of the locations, scenes and events.
The performances of everyone are as good as one could wish for, especially Teresa
Stratas, whose Violetta is so beautifully sung and acted: she is so believable,
showing her intense love, her great happiness, which is so short-lived, and
finally, her despair with the inevitable tragic outcome, but reunited with Alfredo
and his father just before she died.
Placido Domingo, who was forty-one back in 1982, (how the years have flown!) was
probably at his vocal best then, with excellent singing, and a strong acting
performance.
Cornell Macneil, as Giorgio Germont, ranged from the severe, uncompromising
father, determined to thwart the love affair, through to the remorseful,
repentant and forlorn father figure at the tragic end.
The orchestra, under the excellent James Levine, the chorus and dancers were
all brilliant.
This is superb, highly emotionally-charged entertainment, and unbelievably
excellent value.
I recommend it to everyone, especially lovers of Verdi's operas, as I am.
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on 3 March 2011
I saw this filmed version of Verdi's tragedy when it was transmitted by the BBC many Christmas's ago. I fell in love with Placido Domingo that day and my love for this wonderful singer has continued undiminished ever since. I wore out an old VHS tape and was delighted that it was now available on DVD.
Directed by Franco Zefferelli, this is a misty,lavish and traditional production. The role of Violetta is a problematic one by virtue of her circumstances and the fact that she is dying of consumption. Teresa Stratas has the vulnerability and fragility needed for the role. She may not be the best Violetta vocally-Rene Fleming and Anna Netrebko take some beating-but she certainly looks the closest to death at the end. Domingo's Alfredo is lush,sumptuous, poignant and downright gorgeous. As he rushes to Viloetta's side in her last moments, sweeping her up into his arms,his impassioned performance reaches out and grabs you-you swoon, you mourn, he draws out all the pathos and emotion he can. Germont pere, is sung by Cornell MacNeil, strongly and believably. There are some beautiful set pieces, mistily shot, and the film is my favourite out of all the operas Zefferelli has directed. Wonderful romantic stuff-not necessarily the best production-but fabulous nevertheless.
Viva Placido !!!
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on 26 December 2007
Although I enjoy opera I cannot claim to be competent to make judgement on the technical qualities of this DVD. Suffice it to say that I found it to be most enjoyable. What I think your average customer needs to know is that this DVD is actually a run of the film production in 1982, which apparently was much acclaimed. The difference, of course, is that this version is not produced on a stage but in various settings including streets, gardens and houses. One gets the impression at times that the songs have been dubbed and there is not always that belief the the performer is actually singing the words. To some this film version may add to the entertainment value but to others it might seem a little unusual. I found it strange at first but warmed to it with time. I think that the performers were extremely good and the film format allowed the dance scenes to be shown to good effect.
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on 30 May 2013
I guess I start with the fact that this is a movie, not a filmed stage show. That means the sets are lavish, realistic and expansive. The singers move around a lot; there are horses and carriages to take people to Paris; the singing is uniformly well recorded, and Alfredo's family are brought into the opera without interrupting anything. The street band is filmed in a street, and the gypsy dancers have room to move. There are little visual asides, which can only be done in a movie, such as the old woman stealing a small box as the party ends in the first act.

The singers can and do act their parts. Violetta may very well be dying of TB. Teresa Stratas is waif-like, and fits the part perfectly. There's nothing waif-like about her singing, though. She's full-on; as strong as any I've heard. Placido Domingo is youthful here, and again fits the part perfectly, as do the other singers.

I'm told there have been cuts made to this version of La Traviata, but to someone like me, who can't quote the score verbatim, they're not apparent.

In short, if you want to see your opera as well as hear it, you can't go past this recording.
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on 12 May 2011
Musically, this is fine production, though it's probably not the best you could ever buy. What makes it the most utterly amazing filmed opera which I've ever seen, is the way in which Zeffirelli restates and reinforces every musical point with a visual point. For example, in the second act, he even introduces Alfredo's sister as a non-singing, non-speaking part.

I can see that some people might not like this approach; they might say that the pudding is thoroughly over-egged. But, speaking for myself, I was bowled over. (On the other hand, I wouldn't want every film of every opera to be presented in this way - the emotional strain might be too great!)

So, if you like Verdi, this is something which you simply must not miss - even if you view the DVD only once.
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on 29 May 2014
This is a film from 1982, not a staged performance. The director, Zeffirelli, takes full advantage of the medium to produce a lavish production with Parisian street scenes, scenes in the country and many touches impossible in the theatre. It really looks terrific. The opening pays a nod to Dumas' original novel (La Dame aux Camelias) where the heroine's possessions are being sold off after her death. Here, they seem to be sold off during her final moments alive. This works quite well.
Teresa Stratas is excellent, looking the part and, as usual, acting and singing very well. Placido Domingo looks rather too mature to be Alfredo but his voice is so wonderful that it does not really matter. Cornell Macneil is an ideal Giorgio Germont.
My only complaint is that the work is cut. I understand that this reduces it to a normal length for a film which might give it broader appeal. However, a lot of wonderful music is omitted. Violetta's duet with Giorgio Germont is heartbreakingly beautiful but sadly truncated here.
The Salzburg Festival production with Villazon and Netrebko is a modernised production of the whole work with two excellent soloists. I would recommend this to avoid the cuts. But better to have both DVDs.
Otherwise, a wonderful film of a supreme masterpiece.
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on 31 December 2013
This is a sumptuous production in every sense of that word. The visual impact of Zeffirelli's production and the sheer beauty of the voices make this a must have version of La Traviata. Even though it is at least thirty years old, it is still a great production. I have a number of video versions of this opera, which is one of my favourite of all the Verdi operas with its sheer lyrical beauty. Anyone looking to introduce someone to opera at its best should use this performance. I do however need to point out that the audio quality is not quite up to the standard we all take for granted today, even though it is 5.1 or PCM stereo. Never mind it is well worth hearing and seeing time and time again.
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on 9 February 2016
I first saw this production in the cinema in London in the late 80's. I loved it then and love it even more now. Theresa Stratas is superb and with Placido Domingo it is a thrilling experience of what La Traviata should be.An amazing production.
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on 31 January 2011
As a film, of course, this is done the wrong way round. The music is the star, is all important and everything else revolves around it. The music is wonderful, and the sets are huge and magnificent to go with it. They are sumptously dressed, the lighting is colourful and extravagant and even the interlude in the country is idealised: soft focus softly coloured with white doves and beautiful flowers. Against this spendid setting we have the tragic love story of Alfredo and Violetta. Domingo is tall and handsome and sings beautifully and Stratas is feminine and fragile. She acts amazingly with her voice as she gently moves towards her death. The production is magnificient. No expense has been spared and it is a resounding success. Was it is the first opera film? I saw it when it first came out and it was mind-blowing then and all this time later it is still amazing.
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on 28 August 2013
I've seen this opera all over the world and nothing has ever come close to this magnificent production. It has always amazed me that, other than an equally superb Carmen, it didn't provoke a rash of film versions of the popular operas. Currently I attend all the direct transmissions at local cinemas from the ROH, Glyndebourne and Met and these are gradually improving as producers realise that their singers are now not only required to be able to act but also, with the advent of close-ups, look appropriate to the part. Glyndebourne recently, in their dreadful production of " Ariadne auf Naxos" chose to ignore this rather basic principle with an Ariadne of significantly greater physical proportions than I suspect Strauss intended. Similarly, the Met recently tried to convince us that Radames' suicidal choice of a muscular Aida over a much slighter Amneris, who came with a kingdom and great riches, was one that we should accept as not fundamentally undermining the plot.
Everything in this wonderful "La Traviata" is pretty much perfect.
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