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La Traviata [DVD]

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Sesto Bruscantini, José Carreras, Renata Scotto, Anna di Stasio, NHK Symphony Orchestra
  • Format: Classical, Colour, DVD-Video, Subtitled, PAL
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English, French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: VAI
  • DVD Release Date: 4 Nov. 2008
  • Run Time: 129 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0019K06S6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 112,144 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

I will ship by EMS or SAL items in stock in Japan. It is approximately 7-14days on delivery date. You wholeheartedly support customers as satisfactory. Thank you for you seeing it.

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As a Jose Carreras admirer for over thirty-five years, with a collection of
numerous opera recordings and videos, I was unaware of this performance in
Japan, in 1973, and had no idea that a DVD existed until I searched for and
purchased the excellent "Don Carlo" and the "Lucia di Lammermoor" DVDs.
Carreras was only twenty-six when "La Traviata" was performed in Japan.
My first experience of the wonderful, mellifluous lyric tenor voice of Jose
Carreras was when, in 1975, I borrowed a brand new set of "Un Giorno di Regno"
from our local library; this was recorded in 1974, and later put on to a CD
set, which I listened to once again, yesterday evening, and thoroughly enjoyed
Verdi's brilliant, delightful interpretation of what was a somewhat lightweight
theme. Verdi's musical composing ability abounds throughout, from the
joyful overture to the glorious, happy septet and finale. I can do no better
than to quote Martin Sokol's conclusion to his introductory notes to the original
Philip's record set: "Verdi's failures stand head and shoulders above the successes
of many of his rivals." Verdi's "Messa per Rossini", which was a collaboration
with twelve eminent and obviously very talented Italian composers, is my favourite
sacred music, and the fact that it took 119 years, from 1869 to 1988, to get its
premiere performance, makes it even more special, because it is superb!
I recommend this "La Traviata" to all "Tifosi" (fans) of Jose Carreras and
Giuseppe Verdi: it is excellent value, as are all the other DVDs that I have
mentioned. The quality of the "La Traviata" DVD, both visually and musically,
is excellent, especially considering that it was derived from a 1973 recording
in Japan. Enjoy it!
Carreras "Tifoso"
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I chose this DVD because of Carreras and Bruscantini. The opera seems to be recorded from a live performance, long distance and not so sharp! The subtitle in Japanese is not an option and is irritable.
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its Carreras, nuf said
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x943fc03c) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94d724bc) out of 5 stars Idiomatic Traviata of some historic import 15 Jun. 2008
By Albert Innaurato - Published on Amazon.com
Two of the singers here went on to make news in the 70's, 80's and in Carreras' case well beyond, as he prolonged his career after a serious illness and vocal crisis (not related)to become one of the 'three tenors'. Here he is in his very early prime when he was actually making news as a handsome young tenor with a gorgeous lyric voice.

Renata Soctto had already sung professionally for 20 years as an 'old fashioned' lyric coloratura, with recordings of Traviata, Boheme, Lucia and, most famous perhaps in America, Madama Butterfly. But in 1974, a year after this Traviata, she would 'return' to the Met as Elena in I Vespri Siciliani. I was at that performance, and the audience greeted her with hysteria. She went on to become the diva of the Met for about ten years, singing roles heavier than anyone would have imagined, including all three roles in Puccini's Trittico (a triumph), Elisabetta in Don Carlo (debated but in the main enthusiastically received)and then less fortunately in Norma where she was heavily booed on opening night. By then she was thought past her best but continued until a final Butterfly. She did not get a farewell, nor did she perform roles she sang to some acclaim elsewhere after she left the Met, The Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier, Kundry, Klytemnestra and Fedora.

In the later 70's she did however participate in the first live telecast from the Met, a Boheme with Luciano Pavarotti (about whom she had a well televised tantrum on TV, after a performance of La Gioconda in San Francisco where he arrived not knowing his role and then on opening night ran out to take the last call, which she thought rightfully hers). That Boheme is available on an excellent DVD and both she and the tenor are magical. She also telecast a lean sounding but affecting Desdemona in Otello with Jon Vickers and a late in the day but still effective Trittico (both circulate 'underground' but perhaps will eventually be released commercially).

Sesto Bruscantini was thought of as a great singer in Italy and sang both bass and baritone roles, sometimes in the same period in the same opera! He was much appreciated in England especially as a Mozartian but did not make a big international career. He was about 52 at this time.

This performance has of course circulated 'unofficially' but VAI has a mint copy from the Japanese archives, and it is wonderful looking and sounding. The picture is very clear, with good color resolution, and camera work is highly proficient with well judged close ups. The production is far more handsome than was usually true of the well documented Italian productions in Japan, even if some the stage direction for chorus and supporting players looks clumsy.

The sound is the most important aspect of this particular release. It is in excellent broadcast stereo -- the balance of voices and orchestra is exceptional and flattering to the singers. One can also hear the voices bouncing around the opera house, so one has far more perspective on the actual sounds they were making than in earlier incarnations.

Carreras gives the most straightforward performance, he was never better than here, the sweetness of tone, the ease of vocal production, the fine phrasing are all things that would become less reliable in later years as he started forcing his voice and moved into a heavy rep. He is also genuine on stage, and his boyish good looks are really rare in tenors.

Bruscantini sounds much better here than in the earlier 'pirates'. The sound allows one to hear his voice as well produced and on the note, with enough heft for the climaxes (on the most accessible pirate he sounds flat and small). It's not as glamorous a sound as many will expect in this role (a specialty after all of the gorgeous sounding Robert Merrill who recorded it three times, let's not forget Leonard Warren and Ettore Bastianini for starters). But he and Scotto are superb in their second act confrontation, and his Di provenza is a very artful and nuanced piece of singing. After that a tendency for his tone to turn gruff and slip under pitch can be noticed but none of the later singing is so important.

Mature Scotto will always be somewhat controversial. On her first commercial recording of Traviata (with Votto, not the much later one with Muti)she has a wonderful sweetness and spin in the sound and her voice is better equalized. Her voice has clearly grown here and is no longer as responsive or as sweet. Act one doesn't work ideally for her, for toward the top of her range the tone has hardened, and though she tries, she can't really float and some effects misfire.

In the second act though she is marvelous. She has a strong interpretation of the role, perhaps taking a cue from the youthful Carreras she plays Violetta as older and tougher than we normally see (Scotto was also plumper in this period than she was to become, she camouflages that with capacious costumes that sometimes get in her way). This woman who is after all a fancy prostitute does indeed know the seamier side of life and has suddenly and unexpectedly found a kind of innocent bliss. Of course the moment she realizes the older gentleman who has come calling is her lover's father she understands that not just her love but her life is threatened. She also knows that in providing the young man with a country idyll she has gone broke. She is hostile and defiant and Bruscantini plays off her approach perfectly. He is dignified but icy. He keeps his gloves in his hands as though barely able to resist putting them back on, he fears she might infect him is what he conveys. Though his character is given some sympathetic things to say and after all is grateful she isn't harder to handle, he can't wait to leave and makes sure he is very far away when she asks to embrace him, an embrace that pointedly never happens. She gives in, 'dite alla giovane' is murmured fatalistically and privately, and again Bruscantini matches his tone and dynamics to hers. When she cries out she will die of this sacrifice ("morro!")she lets her full mature voice out with immense impact. When she bids farewell to Alfredo a little later, again the new size of her voice and the intensity of her delivery are very moving.

In the last act she takes as her cue the cry of "e tardi!" -- "it's too late". Addio del passato and indeed her dealing with Alfredo who surprises her by showing up (father not far behind) has a slightly ironic edge -- she doesn't really expect to live to enjoy Paris, and again when she collapses knowing death is nearer than even she had dreamed (gran dio, morrir si giovane) her force is far beyond the pathetic qualities we often get. She is not afraid to show bitterness, even barely suppressed rage, and both her voice and her wonderfully pointed words support her well.

There certainly are more vulnerable and sweeter sounding Violettas but this one is very special.

There is quite a stylish supporting cast and a solid conductor. The Japanese chorus has been well coached musically, somewhat less so dramatically.

I wouldn't be without this Traviata but I gave it four stars simply because not everyone will like what Scotto does, or how she sounds at some moments of shrillness and edginess.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Todd Kay - Published on Amazon.com
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Renata Scotto's Violetta in Tokyo 1973 seems special for things we should be able to take for granted but no longer can: the ease of the little quicksilver fillips as her voice winds around José Carreras's near the end of their initial duettino; the perfect Italianate roll to the "r" of "Morrò!"; as good a reading of the letter and the exclamation "É tardi!" as I have heard. How would you go about teaching that last one? But how many times have you heard it come out all wrong, because a well-intentioned soprano with a beautiful voice is trying too hard -- grafting an arch brand of drama on from without, rather than expressing by simple means what is within? Scotto is not only natural and fluent but (surprise?) understated in ways you will not find on the more recent TRAVIATA videos. You never hear or see her working too hard for effects, which is the case with the glamorous contemporary figures Angela Gheorghiu (Solti/Decca), Renée Fleming (Conlon/Decca), and Anna Netrebko (Rizzi/DG). Netrebko is the most affecting actor of those three, but in the fussiest production (a polarizing staging by Willy Decker at Salzburg, recently imported for other sopranos at the Met). More than any of these, Patrizia Ciofi in the Robert Carsen/Lorin Maazel DVD of Verdi's Urtext edition (initially released by TDK, now reissued by ArtHaus) matches Scotto for cumulative musical/dramatic impact, but she is a very different kind of singer/actress.

This is obviously the pre-Met, pre-heavy-repertoire, pre-diet Scotto, and the voice is in good working order. She is only edgy on high to the degree that she always was, young or old, and that later-career flap or flutter on sustained notes is detectable but minimally intrusive. I will admit that I even enjoy the Lady Macbeth (Muti), the Manon Lescaut and the vocally tattered Musetta (both Levine), all from the early 1980s, but in 1973 the voice was more smoothly produced and better held together than on any of those later performances. I cannot imagine anyone who likes the Scotto of the 1960s rejecting this on the grounds that her sound qua sound is beyond their tolerance.

Of course, there are one-night/one-take imperfections. In the modern Met HD era, Violetta's first solo scene would probably be patched up with dress-rehearsal footage for a DVD release -- the soprano has tuning issues in the recitative and the aria, and in the coda of "Sempre libera," she does all the usual things that suggest gearing up for the unwritten high option (dropping out for a measure, turning away), but then seems to decide at the last second not to risk it. Her best singing is in the later two acts, and it is a very specific and well-drawn heroine. I often feel that some of this singer's own pugnacious nature manifests in her characters, and her Violetta is no tender flower. She has been made vulnerable by her physical situation, but she is shrewd and formidable, really the most worldly of the three principal figures. The initial dismissal of Giorgio Germont, which elicits his "Quai modi!" does not have that quick, showy anger that is a standard choice (see Gheorghiu). Rather, it is offhand, cool, regal. Very effective. There is a good deal of piano singing throughout, and this has a silken quality in the midrange, with a lot of color and a superb legato.

The men are of less interest. Carreras sounds as good as he ever did or would, and one can luxuriate especially in the sound of the lower two-thirds of a wonderful voice (even this early, he tended to stab at the highest notes). He does not have Scotto's seasoning or her imagination. When they trade verses of the same music, she sounds inspired and surprises us with her choices; he sounds well drilled and does what the Alfredos usually do. I will not spend a lot of time describing what they do physically, but the artistic discrepancy is exacerbated if you are watching. She is mercurial, alert to situation and mood, telling us a lot with her face and eyes; he just lowers his lids and extends an arm once in a while. There is more of an equal partnership suggested by the studio recording of Scotto and Alfredo Kraus (conducted by Riccardo Muti, EMI), although Kraus had a less beautiful voice than did Carreras, and both he and Scotto had reached a certain age by that point.

Sesto Bruscantini is better here than on the earlier FAVORITA in VAI's Tokyo line, or else the demands of the music are better matched to what he has to offer, but he sounds older than his 53 years at the time (the 70-year-old Renato Bruson on the Fleming DVD actually has more in the tank). This is neither the coldest nor the most sympathetic Germont. The voice and the acting suggest an aged, physically frail, provincial, and rather limited man who is not above manipulation. The second verse of "Di provenza" begins well. Bruscantini sings this more tenderly, effectively differentiating it from what has come before.

Nino Verchi's conducting is light and airy, mostly to the good. What I wrote about Scotto not seeming to work too hard at underlining dramatic points applies equally to him. Where Solti, Maazel, Rizzi, and Conlon give us weighty, ponderous attacks -- for example, in the repeated braces of chords that crop up in multiple movements of middle Verdi, and in Violetta's final march to the grave -- Verchi consistently goes in for a lighter touch. "Lighter" does not mean "quicker"; several of his tempi di mezzo are slower than average. He is very good in the party music, and deserves much of the credit for this Brindisi's sweet, naïve charm. Perhaps the associations from the piece's many years of overexposure will fall away, and you will find yourself thinking of what it means to *these* people, putting aside their concerns and sincerely voicing high spirits that may last no longer than an evening, but are real in the moment. Verchi paces well throughout. Violetta's duets of Act II/i and Act III with father and son, respectively, do not seem too long, as they may in some performances mentioned above, and it is not because of the cuts. It owes as much to the maestro's sense of proportion, his not larding scenes with localized quasi-symphonic effects. Most importantly, without excessively indulging his star soprano (as Conlon does almost to an obsequious degree, seeming to lead a different performance when Fleming is singing as opposed to her leading men), he gives Scotto a level of freedom and comfort of which she makes good use, as when he keeps the orchestra's volume down for her hushed, shattered "Dite alla giovine." With the poorest orchestra of any of the five performances mentioned (the NHK), Verchi coaxes the best reading of TRAVIATA, albeit with technical flubs and bobbles you would never hear on a commercially released performance led by a Solti.

The two comprimario women, Anna di Stasio (Flora) and Anna Pedroni (Annina), are as good as it gets.

The production is straightforward; each scene looks like the first thing that is likely to come to mind when you think of LA TRAVIATA. Of the other DVDs mentioned, Fleming's (the first of her two available, taped in Los Angeles) follows a similar route to the most visually opulent effect. Gheorghiu's (*her* first of two, at the ROH in London) is likewise traditional but plainer to the eye. The respective DVD productions featuring Ciofi and Netbreko as our courtesan take more liberties in the contemporary Regietheater manner. When I am inclined that way, I find Carsen's mercenary disco-era world a more stimulating alternative than Decker's abstract minimalism, stalking death figure, and giant clock.

Some of the musical cuts are more bothersome than others. I do not especially miss the cabalettas for the Germonts, but I would have liked the second verse of "Addio del passato," and there is that irritating and pointless traditional cut and graft near the end, giving Violetta the last word and depriving the deathbed party of their vocal reactions.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x941d7ac8) out of 5 stars A close to ideal Traviata 1 Aug. 2008
By DDD - Published on Amazon.com
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Initially I was reluctant to write this review since I would be following Albert Innaurato's but then I figured what the hell, why not? especially since he is so spot on and the performance is so marvelous. My only regret is that every standard cut that could be made at the time was made. Considering that the opera is not that long and surely all the singers would have been up to a more inclusive text, I have often wondered why these cuts existed for so long. No matter since what is left is as close to a "Traviata Perfection" that I can't imagine it being bettered. I was surprised to find Bruscantini singing the Elder Germont; it is not a "beautiful" voice but it is Italian and as a consequence is fully integrated into the production. I would have preferred Zanasi (from the Tokyo Lucia)but what we are given is well worth the investment. Since the Japanese subtitles cannot be eliminated I opted for no subtitles to be added. For most auditors I would think subtitles for this opera (ditto Boheme, Tosca, etc.)would not be necessary.

I wish Sony/BMG would release the Traviata with Fabriccini and Alagna. It is a conventional production from Scala, and a fuller text. Paolo Coni would not be my ideal Germont, but he is at least acceptable. The "regie" productions from Fenice, Salzburg, et.al. sound most unappealing even though the singing has been applauded. In the meantime it is more than easy to "make do" with Scotto or Gheorghiu.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x941c8edc) out of 5 stars Enjoyable for young Carreras. 28 Dec. 2013
By Leeber Cohen - Published on Amazon.com
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As stated in the other reviews this video serves as a wonderful example of Carreras in his prime. It is also serves as a good example of the difficulty Scotto would have in the following decade with her high notes under pressure. This is discussed in the other reviews. As stated the voice was much sweeter ten years earlier. There is no question that Scotto had become a wonderful singing actress and gave many subsequent wonderful performances in the theatre. For some ears the voice will be to strident. For DVDs I am fond of the Moffo performance recorded for Italian TV, the Zeffirelli movie with Stratas, the first Gheorghiu with Solti, and Netrebko with Villazon. Any Traviata performance depends most heavily on the Violetta and the conductor. There are many enjoyable Traviatas on CD. Callas in various performances with DiStefano, Valetti, or Kraus as Alfredo. Again beware the Callas high notes. Caballe and Bergonzi are wonderful but many find the conducting a let down by Pretre. Recordings by Sills with Gedda and Cotrubas with Domingo are worth listening to. There are numerous broadcasts out there. You can find Sills with Alfredo Kraus, Caballe with Carreras, and Moffo with several different tenors. In previous genrations Rosa Ponselle was probably very wonderful in the house. I still find the 1935 Met broadcast now on the Sony Verdi Box that it does not capture her voice well. If you have a chance listen to excerpts with Claudia Muzio in Addio del passato from 1935 or Bidu Sayao in Sempre Libera from the 1940s. You will hear two very different sopranos with incredible voices. There are many others. Traviata is a wonderful opera to learn about the Verdi soprano. I think it was Beverly Sills who said that it requires a coloratura, dramatic, and lyrical soprano all wrapped up in one singer. It is wonderful to have so many tremendous Violettas to compare.
4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x941c8f84) out of 5 stars La Traviata: Renata Scotto & Jose Carreras,1973 VAI 28 Jun. 2009
By James E. Jackson - Published on Amazon.com
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Renata Scotto and Jose Carreras presented thier usual great preformance.
I could tolerate the poor picture quality given the picture was recorded using 1973 technolgy.The Japanese subtitles constantly on screen was very annoying.I will use this production for listening only.
SHAME ON VAI for this release.
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