Customer Review

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but a little stuffy, 22 Sept. 2010
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This review is from: La Traviata, by Giuseppe Verdi (Teatro alla Scala, Milano 2008) [Blu-ray] [2010] [Region Free] [NTSC] (Blu-ray)
There's no question that this version of La Traviata for the Teatro alla Scala is a quality production on many levels and, available at a budget price, the Blu-ray is nevertheless of a very high standard, but I have a few minor reservations, mainly around the lack of any sense of adventure in the staging. It's a safe production with a perfectly traditional staging, unimaginatively presented and choreographed, with little to distinguish it from countless other productions of the opera available.

It's harder to be critical of the actual performance on any other level than that of personal taste and Angela Gheorghiu doesn't sit well with me. There's no doubting her technical ability, the sheer control or the strength of her voice, but personally, I find it a little mannered, and I would say the same about her acting. As a result, her Violetta never feels as fragile or as vulnerable as she ought to be - at least from what I would expect of the role. There's no chemistry whatsoever either with the otherwise fine Ramon Vargas as Alfredo, making this production technically strong, but emotionally weak.

By way of comparison, I find the Willy Decker staging of the opera for the 2005 Salzburg Festspiele La Traviata much more interesting and innovative. A rather minimalist staging, there is however great originality in how it makes the story meaningful, vital and contemporary (whereas this version feels a little bit stuffy and practically like a museum piece by comparison), drawing out all the latent passion and violence out of what should indeed be a highly charged opera. While the question of who is the better singer is certainly debatable, it's one of Anna Netrebko's best performances and her acting seems better fitted to this particular role, blending perfectly and credibly with Rolando Villazón and a superb Thomas Hampson.

This version however is certainly a strong, all-round production, with fine performances and, particularly at the current price, it is an excellent introduction to opera on Blu-ray, as well as appealing to traditionalists and fans of Gheorghiu. There are however more exciting and daring versions around for anyone a little more adventurous.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Jan 2011 15:21:10 GMT
Coolman says:
A sophisticated review - thank you. I bought the disc because of the price and the reviews, but I must agree with you - it is not Angela's finest (acting) performance. By the way, it's a lot cheaper through Amazon USA, as is invariably the case with opera DVDs

John McCool (Canada)

Posted on 19 Jan 2011 15:21:13 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 20 Jun 2011 22:25:24 BDT]
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