La traviata is Verdi's most popular opera and one of the best loved of all stage works. Romance, tragedy and unforgettable tunes - this opera has it all. But modern audiences have largely ...
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La traviata is Verdi's most popular opera and one of the best loved of all stage works. Romance, tragedy and unforgettable tunes - this opera has it all. But modern audiences have largely lost sight of the fact that its plot was altogether unprecedented at the time of the work's composition: with the tale of a highclass prostitute dying of consumption, Verdi raised his fondness for daring subjects to a whole new level.
Kristiane Kaiser makes this Traviata well worth the watch!
La Traviata has a truly moving story and some of the most gorgeous music that Verdi ever wrote, one of my first operas and still a firm favourite. While not one of the best Traviatas on DVD- the Zeffirelli and Moffo films are the favourites, with Cotrubas(1981 Met), Gruberova, Fleming(2006), Gheorghiu(1994) and McLaughlin's productions not far off- it is a very well done production still and leagues ahead of the Ciofi and Dessay productions. The costumes and sets are elegant and handsomely detailed, with the video directing and picture quality doing nothing to hinder those qualities. And the staging is fine as well, with a magnificent façade centre-stage and party-like opening, characterful dancing in the Matador's chorus and a second act finale that is powerful, intense and moving. Much more could have been done with Act 3 however, Parigi O Cara is characterised beautifully but the act itself is too sparsely populated and there is very little of the sense that this is really the end, Violetta's death came across as an unexpected shock in context of the staging here and it was largely unmoving as a result. Musically, there is very little to complain about, the orchestral playing is resplendent, the chorus are energetic and vibrantly in their singing and the conducting keeps the drama moving swiftly while letting it have room to breathe.
The sound quality is good, it is clear and well balanced if sometimes a little lacking in resonance. What makes this production worth purchasing in particular is the performance of Kristiane Kaiser, her voice meets the demands of the flexible Bel-Canto lines and expressive lyricism of this difficult soprano role with beautiful tone and phrasing that is both expressive and sensitive. She acts with real emotional involvement, even when the stage direction was working against her she still made E Strano...Ah Fors Se Lui hugely affecting. Jean-François Borras starts off a little too restrained vocally but once he has more to sing he sings with a much more open and pleasing sound with largely unstrained high notes. As an actor, he compliments Kaiser very well(though his dreadlocks did get in the way too much, he was moving them out of the way too much and it did get distracting), he is ardent but there's also Alfredo's somewhat immature impulsiveness brought out too, he has much promise. Georg Tichy has a rounded and sonorous tone to his voice on the most part, though because it does sound more bass than baritone his high G flats in Dr Provenza sound a little woofy. His acting is strong and wholly reliable, he is certainly authoritative enough if perhaps a little too stern, like in Ditte Alla Giuvine he could have softened a tad more. In support, particularly good were Alessandro Teliga's Dr Grenvil and Magdalena Anna Hofmann's Flora respectively. To conclude, a well done Traviata that is worth the watch for Kaiser's performance as Violetta. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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