Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Giuseppe Verdi, Richard Bonynge, Joan Sutherland|
Verdi - La Traviata / Sutherland, Pavarotti, Manuguerra, NPO, Bonynge
It's hard to resist such a starry cast, and Sutherland-Pavarotti fans will want this no matter what. Luciano's legions will find more to crow about, though, for he's in fine voice, creating an Alfredo to remember with his ... more »
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It's hard to resist such a starry cast, and Sutherland-Pavarotti fans will want this no matter what. Luciano's legions will find more to crow about, though, for he's in fine voice, creating an Alfredo to remember with his distinctive lyric tenor endowing the arias and even the recitatives with a bright sound and excellent diction that lets you understand every word. But Sutherland was a better Violetta in her first traversal of the role. By 1979, when this set was made, her impressive high notes remained intact, but the rest of the voice was showing wear, her diction was muffled, and dramatic values were underplayed. Manuguerra's a fine Germont and Bonynge's conducting is unsteady, tending to drag in the latter acts. This set will give pleasure to many, but do investigate those of Callas and de los Angeles on EMI and Cotrubas with Kleiber on DG, among others. --Dan Davis
SUTHERLAND'S GRAND VIOLETTA
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording gave me a really big surprise. As a great admirer of the supreme art of Maria Callas, I always was somewhat lukewarm on the histrionic abilities of Joan Sutherland, though I yield to none in my admiration of her vocal and technical accomplishments (who in this century sang like Sutherland in her prime?). Her first recording of Traviata left me cold and indifferent, but my feelings about this second recording are very different indeed. Sutherland's work here is not that of a mere vocal technician, but that of a true artist. She makes Violetta something grand and tragic all at the same time. Her singing has gained authority and real stature.The voice is still amazing but what she does with it on this recording is even more amazing. Luciano Pavarotti, expectedly, sounds wonderful, and he opens up the cabaletta of his aria in the beginning of Act II to wonderful effect. Everything in this recording works very, very well, and Bonynge outdoes himself by creating a "Traviata" that really matters. Yes, Callas was a great Violetta, but Sutherland, especially as heard on this recording, is great as well. Would it only be that we could have two sopranos like Sutherland and Callas singing today!"
Sutherland still amazing
(5 out of 5 stars)
"La Stupenda is a senior citizen here, almost 60... Yet, it's just amazing to me that she can still sing Violetta! Granted, the voice is not the perfection of an instrument that it was in the 1960's, it's still magnificent. Yes, Pavorotti sings well also. What I do miss here, however, is the soaring high notes of the young Dame Joan ( the ring, the timbre, the bigness of the high C's, D's, E's in alt ). Yes, she can still hit those notes with ease, but gone are the fullness, and the sensual quality of Sutherland's youth ( which was, by the way, incomparable! ) Yes, maybe I'm dwelling, but to have heard Sutherland in her prime was to have heard the Queen of Song, perhaps of all time."
Sutherland and Pavarotti sings Verdi's "La Traviata"
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 05/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first owned this version of "La Traviata" ("The Wayward One") as one of the earliest digital records and distinctly remembering laughing at loud when we got to the famous Act II, Scene I aria "Amami, Alfredo" and Joan Sutherland decides to hold the high note far longer than I have ever heard it held before. There is something about the audacity of that note that is rather delightful. Now, despite my family name I know nothing about the Italian language and therefore cannot judge about the Italian diction of Sutherland or anybody else in the cast, and while I understand how those who speak the language can be infuriated by such inaccuracies, I have to admit they do not bother me and I am content to listen in blissful ignorance of my native tongue.
I have often used "La Traviata" in class, usually on unsuspecting literature students for whom I screen the Zeffirelli film version, but I had also used this CD when talking about the function of music. In this regard I play the overture to show how it effectively sets up the opera. Not only is the beginning unusually quiet, compelling the audience to be quiet and listen, it also went against the conventions of the time, which dictated an opera should have a grand opening (exactly what Verdi uses in the opening of Act I). Furthermore, the first part of the overture employs the "death" motif, which recurs at the start of Act III when Violetta is in bed just about consumed by consumption. The second half of the overture functions to establish in the mind of the audience the theme of Violetta's short but significant aria. I always tell students that Verdi wants them to remember that theme because it is going to come at the highpoint of the opera, the point at which Violetta makes the fatal choice to deny herself happiness.
This recording was done in 1979 and while Pavarotti was closer to his prime than Sutherland at this point, it certainly does not make a whit of difference in enjoying the recording as far as I am concerned. I have heard one of Sutherland's earlier recordings of "La Traviata" and there seems to be more pure power behind the singing in this version. Again, I understand she sacrifices some of the emotional shadings of the role, but then it was always "Lucia" that was Dame Joan's dramatic forte. Finally, beyond the signing the orchestra sounds just wonderful, which adds to the enjoyment of listening as well. This is still one of my favorite opera recordings."