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Verdi: La Traviata  [DVD] 
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Verdi's best-loved work, is performed here by a star cast in a revival of Richard Eyre's highly acclaimed 1994 production. Music Director Antonio Pappano conducts La traviata for the first time at Covent Garden. American oprano Renée Fleming returns to Covent Garden to sing Violetta for the first time with The Royal Opera. La traviata was first performed at the Teatro La Fenice, Venice in March 1853.
"Antonio Pappano takes charge of this revival, searching out the meaning of Verdi's score in a supple, sentient reading that sweeps you along." (The Guardian)
"At the age of 50, [Fleming] still looks very good in the role of the doomed courtesan...[she] sounds good, too, singing with consistent skill...There's a sincerity to Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja's portrayal of Alfredo which gives it more spontaneity than his American colleagues supply...Stronger than the vocals is the conducting of Antonio Pappano, which possesses a natural stylishness and fluency.
" (BBC Music Magazine ★★★)
"I was sniffy about her first night but this DVD comes from later in the run, by which time she had found an uncharacteristic emotional freedom. She is still the prima donna playing the part, but the beautiful sounds she makes, especially in the Act One finale and the Act Two party, are well worth hearing, and the high-quality film-work puts us right at the heart of the action.
" (The Financial Times ★★★★)
"... this is a sensible, believable, attractive presentation that is more in line with Verdi than with the idiocies of Regietheater...Vocally, [Fleming] is on good form at almost every turn... Calleja must sound authentic enough as an Italianate tenor for anyone...I always have the impression that [Pappano] works with the singers rather than challenging them to a duel. The chorus and orchestra respond fittingly to his direction.
" (International Record Review)
CastRenée Fleming (Violetta)Joseph Calleja (Alfredo)Thomas Hampson (Germont)
The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House; Antonio PappanoStage Director: Richard Eyre
Catalogue Number: OA1040DDate of Performance: 2009Running Time: 135 minutesSound: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTSAspect Ratio: 16:9 AnamorphicSubtitles: EN, FR, DE, ES, ITLabel: Opus Arte
At the age of 50 Fleming still looks very good in the role of the doomed courtesan.She sounds good,singing with consistent skill. Performance *** Picture & Sound **** --BBC Music Magazine,July'11
Vocally she is on good form.She is always worth listening and watching(and adding to one's DVD collection). --IRR,June'11
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Top Customer Reviews
The current recording provides a particularly strong characterisation of Giorgio Germont given by Thomas Hampson. He has the maturity for the part while still retaining the strength of voice which gives this difficult role the required authority, although morally doubtful, that can often descend to mere bullying. This is a notable portrayal and one good reason for considering this recording.
The next good reason is the musically satisfying portrayal of Alfredo by Joseph Calleja. He voice has the tonal characteristics that blend well with those of Fleming and together they make a convincing vocal partnership.
Renee Fleming reprises the role she made just a few years earlier with Villazon and she demonstrates a rather more emotionally developed portrayal of the role. Although of more mature years than that of the role she has nevertheless retained an astonishing level of youthfulness and beauty in her personal appearance that reduces the obvious age gap between herself and Alfredo to a remarkable degree. Her voice has a creaminess that is very attractive and she is able to act the role well and it is in that respect that, in my opinion, she demonstrates the development over her earlier portrayal with Villazon.
The orchestra responding to the inspiration and guidance of Pappano has made enormous improvements over the years and now is second to none.Read more ›
There's only one way to really measure the true performance of La Traviata however, and that is by the qualities of the soprano. Renée Fleming does seem a little faltering in the first act, the warm enveloping richness of her tone perhaps not quite bringing out the clarity of the Italian diction. The production also seems a little disjointed in Act 1, setting up the great arias well (and is there any opera that has quite so many memorable, technically and dramatically impressive arias?), but not really sure what to do with the performers in between. Fleming's 'È strano ...ah forsè'lui' however is excellent, the soprano most definitely singing it her own way, putting a different complexion and personal interpretation on the opera.
If Act I doesn't flow as well as one might hope, Act II however is superb in every respect - singing, dramatic representation, the precision and timing of the orchestration all played to perfection in both scenes.Read more ›
In act 2 Caleja sings beautifully in a country kitchen, when Hampson joins in his fine baritone cajoles and slightly threatens as he makes his case. Violetta tugs the heartstrings as she expresses her love for Alfredo. The father and son confrontation is quite well done.
In scene 2 the opening party is alright, but not too exciting. The following drama is good culminating in an excellent ensemble.
Act three finds a very poorly Violetta with some graphic signs of her illness. Her performance is very moving, and moves inexorably to the final ensemble and tragedy.
I have hovered between 4 and 5 stars as this is better than Gruberova at La Fenice, but falls short of McLaughlin at Glyndebourne, on sets and particularly with Brent Ellis as Germont. Having said that, I am pleased to have them both in my collection.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A perfect cast and production make this a must see version of this popular opera,Renee Fleming is stunning as Violetta Valery, the dying courtesan,her voice seems to improve... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Valerie Baker
Really enjoyed this. I have only been following opera for a year now and these DVDs from the Royal Opera House are fantastic, especially as they have english subtitles so that... Read morePublished 20 months ago by A. C. H. Hall
Brilliant! The opera was new to me I had't heard it before but I had read the synopsis.. It was Renee Flemings's opera all the way - as it should be. Read morePublished on 29 April 2014 by Dudley F. Martin
Loved every minute of this dvd. Every one of the cast performed well (especially Joseph Calleja) and the heroine really looked ill and dying in the final scene. Excellent value.Published on 1 Oct. 2013 by gardener