on 12 February 2009
I love this opera and have the Placido Domingo 1982 and Netrebko/Villazon Salzburg versions as well as this one, all great concepts. Renee Fleming brings a natural youthful charm, warmth and dignity to the role and the 'traditional' setting for the melodrama is sumptuous. The opening night garden scene works very well for the comings and goings of the chorus into the house and later when we hear Alfredo singing outside the garden walls. Renee Fleming and Rolando Villazon are just beautiful to look at and listen to. Villazon is perhaps the most touching and believable Alfredo ever, a young passionate man struggling to cope in a world he barely understands. Villazon has described Alfredo as being very young and it is the first time he has felt these emotions. You can see why he is drawn to Violetta and why she finds him irresistible. His gift of a book seems to hint at the fact that the courtesans of Paris often presided over 'salons' frequented by artists and writers as well as their aristocratic 'patrons'(see Renee Fleming's research into the role on the Met site). Renato Bruson as Germont Pere is a little older in looks and voice than one might expect at first and although his voice is past it's prime he husbands it's resources well to portray the 'rash old man', set in his ways, unbending, determined not to let Violetta be involved with his family and not emotionally close to his son. His manipulation of Violetta, working on her insecurities by suggesting that the age gap will become a problem later on, and appealing to her motherly noble feelings towards his young daughter is believable because of the presumed ages of the two leads. Highly recommended.
on 10 February 2014
Set Design. 5/5
Relevant, lavish without going too far, eye catching yet not distracting.. It's just tasteful, enough said on that.
Costume design 1/5
Costumes looked sourced from a reputable wedding hire store & so i thought an opportunity was lost to do something truly impressive.
Read comment above.
Look, I am astounded that opera singers of this vocal standard can spare concentration to also act simlitaneously, so I am really in awe of this. In this case, the acting is good but it didn't blow me away in the convincing department.. It seemed the acting got in the way of singing perfectly, and singing got in the way of acting perfectly, which often occurs in operas.
My short recommendation
Yes, Add this to your traviata collection but don't pay too much for ii - wait and get it when it's a great bargain, as I did,
Picture Quality 4/5
I have a pretty handsome audio visual setup so if an image is not top notch, it's the disc that's usually at fault. This recording didn't seem like blu-Ray quality to me - looked more like 1080p. That said, it's still a great picture quality.
Audio Quality 5/5
Recorded by the very capable DECCA recordings it came as no surprise to me that it's perfect.
If you have a good audio kit, you went be disappointed.
I am still developing my knowledge in orchestral arrangements so I would prefer to other more serious opera buffs review. I will say though that i really enjoyed the music performance - from the back row, bravo to you, mr Conlon!
on 29 February 2012
Stuck up in the Amphi at Covent Garden back in the 1980s & 1990s the discomfit associated with an excess of elbows and the intense heat were often mitigated by the visual pleasures of a traditional production. Filmed by the very experienced Brian Large, who can do wonders with the use of space, this production is lavishly staged. The first act with the wonderful hooped skirts and smartly uniformed black servants creates an atmosphere worthy of prebellum Tara in the Deep South. Flora's ball is also a feast for the eye with an expert use of colour and the clever introduction of the dancers. The lighting of the third act in some productions is far too dark but fortunately such is not the case here and the sickroom is admirably lit.
La Traviata depends so much on the abilities of the soprano and Rene Fleming enjoys a worldwide and justified reputation as a great lyric soprano. In this particular production I felt that the lady was firstly concerned with continuing to establish her reputation as a great singing actress. Such an opinion was evident in the duets with Germont senior for there was far too much weeping. These too audible sobs interfered with continuity and distracted from enjoyment of the singing. The strengths of Violetta's character were more in evidence when Ms Fleming sang the role at Covent Garden a few years later.
Devoid of histrionics in his acting Rolando Villazon makes both a touching and sympathetic Alfredo.
Renato Bruson is a distinguished Verdi singer especially in dramatic and noble parts. Smartly dressed (so important) in this a third outing on DVD as Germont senior the singer at once establishes a stern but elegant father. His acting, devoid of artificial gestures, emphasises the character contrasts with Alfredo.
Among the lesser roles Anna Alkhimova does well as a sympathetic Annina deeply concerned for Violetta
Both the production values and the good singing make this purchase a worthy addition to a La Traviata library. It was my great good fortune to be among the audience at Covent Garden in 1994 to witness the highly acclaimed performance of Angela Gheorghiu and that production remains the cornerstone of my La Traviata collection. In the early 1980s Franco Zeffirelli mastermined a ravishingly filmed shortened version of the opera with the great singing actress Teresa Stratas who is well partnered by the youthful and ardent Placido Domingo but Cornell MacNeil does not make the impact of Renato Bruson. In 2004 La Fenice staged a modern production which included a number of surprises among them Patrizia Ciofi as a very different Violetta from the normal interpretation of the lady as an elegant courtesan. The production has seriously divided reviewers but I regard it as an exceptional and interesting addition to a collection.
on 20 September 2012
What can do this dvd justice, La Traviata is the most brilliant opera, very good and relaxing, Renee Fleming is the best soprano of this time, couldn,t be better,