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Verdi - La Traviata / Cotrubas · Domingo · Milnes · Bayerisches Staatsorchester · Carlos Kleiber

4.8 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Verdi: La Traviata (2 CD's)
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Audio CD, January 20, 1986
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  • Verdi - La Traviata / Cotrubas · Domingo · Milnes · Bayerisches Staatsorchester · Carlos Kleiber
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Editorial Reviews

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The best Traviata on disc? If not, it's within hailing distance. No true Verdian would want to be without Callas's 1955 live recording, and it's hard not to love those starring Moffo, Caballe, Scotto, Sutherland, and de los Angeles among others. But this set offers the best all-round combination of excellent sound, fine singing, and dynamic conducting. Ileana Cotrubas is a wonderfully spontaneous Violetta, conveying the passion and vulnerability of the character. Only Callas among her starry rivals on disc can match Cotrubas's emotional and vocal mastery here. Domingo sings with ardor, and Milnes uses his beautiful voice to good effect as Germont. But it's Carlos Kleiber's show, and that enigmatic conductor leads the most energetic Traviata since Toscanini. Tempos are fast, but his sense of theatricality is unerring--this is one of those studio recordings that captures the sense of being at the opera house listening to one of those rare performances when everything clicks. --Dan Davis
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Product Details

  • Performer: Ileana Cotrubas, Placido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes
  • Orchestra: Bayerisches Staatsorchester
  • Conductor: Carlos Kleiber
  • Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
  • Audio CD (January 20, 1986)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000001G5W
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,383 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Ileana Cotrubas will break your heart. Her sweet, silvery voice makes a delicate and touching Violetta. She sings a very sparkling and lovely "Sempre libera." Her voice is beautiful--far lovelier than Maria Callas's. And her interpretation of the role will leave you in tears, especially in her duets with Sherill Milnes' incomparable Germont. And in her "Addio del passato." Listen to the emotion in her voice when she reads Alfredo's letter....
Placido Domingo is the perfect Alfredo with his warm, romantic tenor voice.
Don't miss this one. 1000 stars!
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This recording of "La traviata" ranks with the best. The best thing about it is Carlos Kleiber's magnificent conducting. He paces the opera in just the right way. His conducting of Acts 1 and 2, plus the two preludes, is brilliant. His tempi for Violetta's Act 1 aria are virtually perfect. He keeps the orchestra playing at a white-hot intensity and has a special gift for creating dramatic tension. He manages to make every instrumental line clear. The orchestra is extraordinarily vivid under his baton. I found his conducting of Act 3 to be slightly less satisfying. Somehow, things seem rushed in this act. His tempi for "Addio del passato" and "Parigi, o cara" are too fast. He rushes Cotrubas through "Addio del passato". On top of that, the second verse is cut. Curiously, the short ensemble right before Violetta's death does not work. It sounds too rushed.

The cuts in this recording are unacceptable. Besides Violetta's third act aria, her "Ah, fors'è lui" is missing one verse. The duet "Parigi, o cara" is missing its second verse. The "Gran Dio, morir si giovine" section is truncated. Also, Alfredo's cabaletta is missing its second verse, though with Domingo singing, this is a blessing in disguise. Also, Germont's cabaletta is missing its second verse, though this is no big loss.

Plácido Domingo is a virile and ardent Alfredo, but the role does not suit his spinto voice. He sings the Brindisi charmlessly, but is quite good in his other music. The Germont of Sherrill Milnes is very good. It is an effective portrayal.
Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
I am here to say that if you're looking to buy the best recording, this is the one. I have heard several Violettas but this is the best one, and the professional opera critics will agree with me on this one. I've listen to Maria Callas in her Portugal performance with Kraus (in which her voiced seemed strained), which is pretty good, but you can heard the audience thoughout the entire recording, plus, the recording isn't in stereo and isn't conducted as good as this one. Sutherland does a great job and jumps though the part with great easy, however, there is no "pathos" or great acting in the voice. Victoria de los Angeles can't reach some on the high notes (especially at the end of "Sempre libera") and has a really strained voice in some parts. Ileana Cotrubas sings though the hard parts very nicely with great emotion, unlike a lot of sopranos. Domingo gives a great Alfredo along with Milnes as Germont. The orchestra and the conducting are superb. There is a good balance with the choir as well. Therefore, this IS the greatest recording for any opera beginner's collection.
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Format: Audio CD
I have several Traviatas in my collection, it being one of my favorite operas, and being a Callas fan, I would often resort to the famous live recordings of 1955 and 1958 in order to satisfy my fill of her Violetta. Her early studio recording with Cetra didn't have the characteristics of the Violetta yet that would make it her own role. As good as her voice was in that recording, it didn't have the dramatic elements that gave her Traviata the heartbreaking qualities that we have come to associate with those two recordings. I am a Callas fan, I would admit that, and no one comes close to Violetta as Callas does. But, there is an alternative for those who aren't very close to her voice. Without compensating theatrics for vocal beauty, here is a Traviata with a well-rounded cast talented both vocally and dramatically. First of all, there is the Romanian soprano Ileana Cotrubas. While her coloratura isn't as accurate as the bel canto queens' coloratura (Callas, Sills, and Sutherland), her performance in the first acts as a spinto and a lyric coloratura is outstanding. And there is a feeling you get that she is a woman who tries to show a good face with the partying crowd as well. Then at the duets with Sherril Milnes, she expresses emotions much like those Callas can express at will. The last act is particularly heartbreaking, and it is in this scene where I judge Violetta to be a creature that only a few sopranos such as Cotrubas can create. As difficult as the fioritura is in the first act, most sopranos with a technique and a well-built tessitura can easily manage it without paying as much attention to the details of the drama, because the partying voice is quite easy to replicate in a performance. The second and last acts though, are more difficult.Read more ›
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