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James A. Altena
Fanfare, September 2010

This review begins with a confession: Until now I have never been particularly taken with La Traviata. Despite owning two fine recordings (Moffo/Tucker on RCA and Cotrubas/Domingo on DG), and seeing it several times on stage, I have heretofore found it unconvincing as both drama and music. That has now changed completely, thanks to this flawed but compelling production. The reason can be stated very succinctly: Angela Gheorghiu. Her assumption of Violetta, both vocally and visually, is simply stunning. The voice has it all—phenomenal technical security and breath control from bottom to top, fluent coloratura (though one can visually see the physical effort involved in its production), secure intonation, beauty of tone, and the rare combination of lightness and weight needed to project all the different aspects of this notoriously difficult role. Equally critical, however, is her complete identification with the character, an assumption so total and natural that at times while viewing it I forget I am watching a performance. Her every facial expression and small gesture are telling; her plight and emotions so compelling that at several points tears well up in my eyes. Rarely have I been so moved upon viewing a film or stage production of a play or opera...For the most part, Lorin Maazel is an asset, and far superior to many other conductors of this work. His legendary technical command is always in evidence, and he shapes the whole score in an arch that properly makes Violetta’s outburst “Amami, Alfredo! Amami quant’io t’amo!” the fulcrum of the entire opera...Ramón Vargas generally sings well...The sets are traditional, opulent, and tasteful...an excellent and effective dramatic touch is the montage of Violetta’s remembrances shown during the act II orchestral prelude. The sound quality is good if not exceptional; the same can be said for the Blu-ray video.



Karl Lozier
Positive Feedback Online, May 2010

Here with this fine Blu-ray release of Verdi’s La Traviata, the appeal will probably be limited to opera lovers, particularly Verdi aficionados. Serious opera lovers often limit themselves to particular vocalists and at times to certain conductors. I have not kept up entirely with the current crop of famous opera vocalists, though the results here are very pleasing indeed. With its famous and well deserved reputation, seldom are productions of the famous La Scala less than very good. Here the recording and visuals enhance that reputation and as such, easily earns recommendation.






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5:45:03 PM, 11 July 2014
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