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Verdi: La Traviata / Ciofi, Sacca, Hvorostovsky, Maazel, Et Al

Verdi / Ciofi / Sacca / Tufano / Cordella / Maazel
Release Date: 10/18/2005 
Label:  Tdk   Catalog #: OPLTF  
Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Roberto SaccàFederico SacchiDmitri HvorostovskyAndrea Porta,   ... 
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Venice Teatro la Fenice OrchestraVenice Teatro la Fenice Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Patrizia Ciofi (Violetta Valéry)
Roberto Saccà (Alfredo Germont)
Dmitri Hvorostovsky (Giorgio Germont)
Eufemia Tufano (Flora Bervoix)
Elisabetta Martorana (Annina)
Salvatore Cordella (Gastone)
Andrea Porta (Il barone Douphol)
Federico Sacchi (Il dottore Grenvil)
Vito Priante (Il marchese d'Obigny)
Luca Favaron (Giuseppe)
Salvatore Giacalone (Un domestico)
Antonio Casagrande (Un commissionario)

Stage Director: Robert Carsen

Sound Formats: DD 5.1 DTS 5.1 PCM-STEREO
Picture Format: 16:9
Subtitles: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish
Region Code: 0
Number of Discs: 1
Read more Time: 146 minutes
Booklet Languages: English, German, French

When the legendary Venetian Teatro La Fenice, which had been completely destroyed by fire in 1996, rose like a phoenix from the ashes again, its rebirth was celebrated with Verdi’s La Traviata, an opera that had seen its première more than 150 years earlier in the same theatre. Led by star conductor Lorin Maazel, a cast of brilliant singer-actors brought an exact replica of the March 1853 version to the stage, giving audiences the opportunity to experience the opera as the world first heard at its premiere in Venice. The original score had been found in the archives of La Fenice, so that La Traviata could relive its premiere without any revisions. The great Violetta-Germont duet, the second act finale and the opera’s last two numbers resounded through the theatre in just the way that Verdi initially intended.

With Italian soprano Patrizia Ciofi in the title role, German-Italian tenor Roberto Saccà as her lover and Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky as his father, the live recording features highly eminent singers of the Italian repertoire and stars, who are at home in opera houses throughout the world.

Patrizia Ciofi, who sings the courtesan Violetta, scored highest praise when she stood in for Natalie Dessay at short notice, taking the role of Lucie in the 2002 production of Lucie de Lammermoor at the Opera de Lyon. She is regarded as the Belcanto Star of today, especially in France and Italy where she has stirred both audiences and critics alike with her portrayal of Violetta in the La Scala production of La Traviata under Riccardo Muti. This recording presents her once again as a Traviata who combines pointed and intelligent acting with vocal brilliance.

Roberto Saccà is highly regarded in the Mozart and Verdi repertoire. He has sung Alfredo at various major European opera houses. Their stage personalities and their acting prowess allow them to portray a leading couple most plausible in their attraction and passionate reactions towards each other.

Dmtri Hvorostovsky, here taking the role of Alfredo’s father, has captured international stages with his masterly renderings of the difficult baritone Verdi parts. He sings the elder Germont in this production with outstanding vocal sparkle and lends the character touches of a personality with human traits. The fascinating staging by internationally celebrated opera director Robert Carsen captures Verdi’s original intention. He takes up Verdi’s dictum that the opera is “a subject from our own time” and sets it in a well-healed contemporary environment. His interpretation picks up the two driving forces of the plot: the topic of prostitution and bourgeois hypocrisy and – immediately connected to it – the other central concern of the opera: money.

The multi perspective filming and close-up cameras underline the singers’ outstanding acting ability and leave the impression of a film rather than stage action.

In an informative essay in the DVD’s booklet he states, that although it is sometimes easy to forget that La Traviata is a story about a prostitute, this actually forms the basis of the opera’s action and the characters’ interaction: All the men in the opera relate to Violetta’s profession, be it out of sexual interest or because of her unacceptability to bourgeois society. The opera also explores money as a destructive and corruptive force in the interaction between lovers and family, only Violetta’s generosity and instinctive compassion, which lead her to sacrifice her own love, are far removed from money.

Robert Carsen goes on to state: „While Eros and Thanatos are at the heart of almost every opera, it is significant that Verdi’s first title for La Traviata was “Love and Death”. Violetta Valéry is the living incarnation of both and, as such, her character has come almost to represent the operatic art form itself. Apart from La Fenice’s unique historical connection with La Traviata, it seems appropriate that this opera should be the one chosen to reopen one of the world’s most famous and beautiful opera houses.“

In fact, the Gran Teatro della Fenice has always been a legend in the operatic world. It was here that five Verdi operas were introduced to the public: Ernani, Attila, the first version of Simon Boccanegra, Rigoletto and La Traviata, not to mention operas by Rossini, Bellini and Leoncavallo. The second half of the 20th century also saw important premières with operas by Igor Stravinsky, Benjamin Britten, Sergej Prokofiev, Luciano Berio and Luigi Nono.

Fondly called “La Fenice” - evoking the myth of the Phoenix bird that periodically burns itself in order to rise again from the ashes as a symbol of eternal renewal - the Venetian theatre has burned to the ground twice since it opened in 1792. Following the first fire, during the night of 12/13 December 1836 it was rebuilt according to the original plans by Tommaso and Giambattista Meduna on a new site, the Campo San Fantin, where it has now been rebuilt following the second fire on the night of 29/ 30 January 1996, which reduced the theatre to its bare foundations.

Opening the first full season in autumn 2004 after the reconstruction of the theatre to its old splendour, this opera performance proved an unforgettable night, now to be enjoyed on DVD. Before the first full season started in November 2004 with La Traviata, the theatre had been provisionally opened in December 2003 for a series of concerts including the gala opening conducted by Riccardo Muti and the New Year’s Day concert 2004 under Lorin Maazel (both concerts are available on TDK DVD).
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Works on This Recording

La traviata by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Roberto Saccà (Tenor), Federico Sacchi (Bass Baritone), Dmitri Hvorostovsky (Baritone),
Andrea Porta (Baritone), Salvatore Cordella (Tenor), Elisabetta Martorana (Soprano),
Patrizia Ciofi (Soprano), Eufemia Tufano (Mezzo Soprano), Vito Priante (Baritone)
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Venice Teatro la Fenice Orchestra,  Venice Teatro la Fenice Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 

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