Bought this after seeing a live performance of La Traviata by New Devon Opera this summer, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I am not an opera officionado - this was only the second opera I'd ever seen and the first I'd actually enjoyed. For what its worth though, the CD is fantastic with Joan Sutherland putting in a great performance in the main role. I found the introductory notes extremely helpful and having listened to it many times, I think that my highlight is the end of act 2, which is absolutely breathtaking!
Excellent singing throughout from a very good cast. Sutherland sounds very young and shines throughout. Bergonzi is a brilliant partner to Sutherland and Merrill is memorable. Well recorded and very well conducted this is excellent value for money, a really strong Traviata.
Yes her diction is poor, yes she does not inhabit the role of Violetta like Callas or Scotto do, but sing beautifully she can and does. Joan Sutherland was at her zenith when she recorded this first Traviata (1962), she is delightfully flirtatious and prectitably dazzling in the coloratura of the first act, and elsewhere she makes up with tonal beauty the lack of dramatic insight and verbal nuance. She is very well partnered by the ever elegant and intelligent Carlo Bergonzi and the rock-solid bronze-like voiced Robert Merrill, both singing superbly. Chorus and orchestra are excellent under the sensitive baton of John Pritchard. Complete text and good sound if somewhat boomy. Perhaps not the most moving version but certainly amongts the best sung, another real bargain in the DOUBLE DECCA serie.
What can I say, bought this cd because I was exposed to opera a good deal as a youngster and now as an almost 50 year old man found out that i really enjoy this kind of music... Well this was recorded one month before I was born... just found out by reading the notes. Given this fact i'm blown away about how good the recording is. Besides all this sentimental and technical talk, this is a very enjoyable piece of art!
I have listened to and loved classical music for years, but shunned opera...squally sopranos, silly stories etc. I have started with some famous works like this. I must have heard some of the melodies before. Joan Sutherland had a magnificent voice, and the part of Violetta is a bit like a concerto for soprano. She carries it off beautifully but murders the Italian language! Her diction is poor. But my goodness, she hits the notes. And isn't squally. I like this Decca series for the listening guides (no librettos).