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Gheorghiu is great, but....
on 14 November 2008
I hate to burst the bubbles of the "automatic five star" brigade, but you really cannot call this set the best "Traviata" available if you have some knowledge of what is actually out there. I do agree that Gheorghiu's Violetta is enchantingly vocalised and acted, and if she were worthily partnered I would place this recording near the top of the tree, but "La Traviata" has proved a notoriously challenging opera to pull off in the recording studio and a perfect realisation yet remains to be done...so don't hold your breath, given the current state of the recording industry. According to your taste - and I like her very much - perhaps only Fleming could give us another great Violetta on record; meanwhile the likes of Caballe, Callas and, in particular, Moffo and Freni (see my reviews) reign supreme alongside Gheorghiu, who sings divinely but is vocally not as captivating an actress as Callas - nobody is. Solti conducts sensitively without putting any particular marks of individuality on the score.
The problems here are the tight, throaty tenor of Lopardo and the dull, bland Germont of that perennial second-rate baritone Leo Nucci (who had all too short a period of some bloom in the voice back in the 80's and always evinced some nasty vocal faults). As much as I enjoyed Gheorghiu, I found that this set did not hold my attention as much as it should have and ultimately I gave my copy away to return to the other, earlier recordings.