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Verdi: La Traviata

4.2 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 8, 2005
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Editorial Reviews


This new Traviata belongs near the top of the fine recorded versions of the opera despite a serious vocal problem in the middle. The great news is in the casting of the two lovers: Rolando Villazon's Alfredo is just about perfect. He sings with handsome, shaded tone, great attention to the text--his anger feels as real as his grief and passion--and absolute freedom throughout the range. He partners the stunning Anna Netrebko beautifully in their duets as well. She is breathtaking--delicate, sincere, proud--singing with beautiful tone and intelligent, graceful musicality. They're an unforgettable couple. Baritone Thomas Hampson, on the other hand, despite his usual attention to detail and wise dramatic choices, is in very poor voice and he sounds strained and out of sorts all the time. Carlo Rizzi leads a very energetic performance and the orchestra and chorus, except for a few moments of being out-of-sync with eachother, are splendid. The rest of the cast are fine and the sound from this live recording is excellent. Very highly recommended. --Robert Levine

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Prelude
  2. Dell'invito trascorsa è già l'ora
  3. Libiamo ne'lieti calici (Brindisi)
  4. Un dì felice, eterea
  5. Ebben? che diavol fate?
  6. Si ridesta in ciel l'aurora
  7. E strano! - "Ah, fors'è lui"
  8. Follie! Delirio vano è questo! - "Sempre libera"
  9. Lunge da lei - "De' miei bollenti spiriti"
  10. Annina, donde vieni? - "Oh mio rimorso!"
  11. Alfredo? "Per Parigi or or partiva"
  12. Pura siccome un angelo
  13. Non sapete quale affetto
  14. Un dì, quando le veneri
  15. Ah! Dite alla giovine
  16. Imponete "Non amarlo ditegli"
  17. Dammi tu forza, o cielo!
  18. Che fai? "Nulla"
  19. Ah, vive sol quel core
  20. Di Provenza il mar, il suol
  21. Né rispondi d'un padre all'affetto? - "No, non udrai rimproveri"

Disc: 2

  1. Avrem lieta di maschere la notte
  2. Noi siamo zingarelle
  3. Di Madride noi siam mattadori
  4. Alfredo! Voi!
  5. Invitato a qui seguirmi
  6. Ogni suo aver tal femmina
  7. Di sprezzo degno se stesso rende
  8. Alfredo, Alfredo, di questo core
  9. Prelude
  10. Annina? "Comandate?"
  11. Teneste la promessa...Addio del passato
  12. Largo a quadrupede
  13. Signora...Che t'accadde...Parigi, o cara
  14. Ah, non più! - "Ah! Gran Dio! Morir sì giovine"
  15. Ah, Violetta! "Voi? Signor?"
  16. Prendi, quest'è l'immagine

Product Details

  • Performer: Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazon, Thomas Hampson
  • Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic
  • Conductor: Carlo Rizzi
  • Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
  • Audio CD (November 8, 2005)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • ASIN: B000B6695S
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,905 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 17, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Opera, gratefully, more than any other music form gathers polarized opinions: some aficiandos prefer the old recordings to the new, the 'big' singers to the physically beautiful one somehow postulating that if the singers look credible on stage they simply can't be equally fine as singers, the recordings or performances that rise or fall on the lead and the ensemble makes little impact. Not having been fortunate enough to have been one of the lucky ones that witnessed one of the seven sold out performances of this LA TRAVIATA at this year's Salzburg Festival, I am left only with a live recording probably garnered from several performances to catch a glimpse of what all the clamor from the European audiences was about. But this is enough to believe that this is probably one of the most intelligent and musically correct Traviatas available.

Beginning with a sterling cast - the incomparably beautiful and musically gifted Anna Netrebko as Violetta, the equally handsome and gifted Rolando Villazon as Alfredo, and the always dashing and vocally distinguished Thomas Hampson as Germont - this is as credible as any Traviata staged. The staging in modern dress apparently worked in Salzburg but we have only a few photos in the 2 CD set to prove that. The orchestra is the venerable Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Carlo Rizzi, with no less than the Mozarteum Orchester providing the stage music. But the ingredients only serve as calling cards if the opera does not work as a whole, and here everything is in place.

Anna Netrebko has a very rich lyric soprano voice and has an extraordinary range through which she sings most comfortably.
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Format: Audio CD
I add my voice to those who are mystified by the poor reviews of this recording. I've heard many recordings of Traviata, including that much-vaunted Callas recording from 1955 with Guilini, and the Gheorgiu recording from Covent Garden with Solti, among others. This La Traviata is, far and away, the best I've heard.

The incredible Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is one reason this La Traviata is superior. The very first chords of the prelude are ethereal and poignant, and give a perfect start to the opera. Thanks to the VPO and the chorus, the excitement of the party scene, and the tension and drama of the gambling scene, come right through your speakers. When the VPO is called to be front and center, they are brilliant. When they are accompaniment, they play with perfect balance and mood. Rizzi does a brilliant job conducting this opera.

The principals were fantastic. Rolando Villazon was a perfect Alfredo. He has a glorious lyric tenor voice, sometimes almost a little big for Netrebko. I think Villazon hit the nail on the head with his characterization. His "Ebben? Che diavol fate?" was sublime. Villazon concentrated less on singing everything beautifully, and more on singing with proper intention. You can plainly discern Alfredo's emotional state, whether or not you have the libretto in front of you. His rage in the gambling scene confrontation with Violetta was chilling.

Thomas Hampson is one of the great baritones of our day. Like the others is the cast, he is not note-perfect 100% of the time. But, he is note-perfect most of the time, and you would be hard pressed to find a better characterization of Germont. His most important aria and scene, "Ne rispondi d'un padre all'affetto?" was brilliant.

Anna Netrebko is a Violetta for the ages.
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Format: Audio CD
I've been a fan of Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón even before they became such international superstars. One cannot resist to Netrebko's brilliant and caressing voice and to Villazón's passionate and thrilling performances. However, I still think this La Traviata, recorded in Salzburgo, shouldn't have been recorded for release. No, it's not a fiasco, for it contains some wonderful singing and does show why the partnership Netrebko-Villazón is so successful.

However, as we listen to the recording, we conclude that, as lovely as Netrebko sounds in elegiac parts like "Ah, fors'è lui" or "Dite alla giovine", she can be a much more colourful and technically effective singer than she sounds here. After a bad start at Act One, she joins Villazón in an ethereal "Un dì felice, eterea" and then sings "Ah, fors'è lui" with a very nuanced phrasing. Her "Dite alla giovine" is stylish, resigned and beautifully shaped, but it'd be even more exciting if, in the rest of the duet, she sang with that electrifying presence of Gheorghiu. Really remarkable is the end of Act Three, "Alfredo, di questo core", where Netrebko's full and rounded upper notes shine wonderfully. During Act Four, she succeeds with the recitative "Teneste la promessa", properly urgent and desperate, and sings a very committed and beautiful "Addio del passato". Obviously, Netrebko isn't still a completely polished and mature Violetta, because this was only the second or third time she sang the role in an international production. Besides that, she shows some signs of lack of breath during Act One (maybe due to the weird production!) and sings a not-so-exciting "Sempre libera". There, she lacked the bravure and spontaneous fioritura of artists like Sutherland and Callas.
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