Notes and Editorial Reviews
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Verdi’s best-loved work is performed here by a star cast in a revival of Richard Eyre’s highly acclaimed 1994 production. Music Director Antonio Pappano conducts La traviata for the first time at Covent Garden. American soprano Renée Fleming returns to Covent Garden to sing Violetta for the first time with The Royal Opera. La traviata was first performed at the Teatro La Fenice, Venice in March 1853.
"...Antonio Pappano takes charge of this revival, searching out the meaning of Verdi's score in a supple, sentient reading that sweeps you along." – The Guardian
There is no doubt who is the star
of this Royal Opera House production. Renée Fleming once again proves she is not only one of the world’s greatest divas but also a consummate actress. She holds this less than perfect production together with her natural expressive performance shining through every scene. This is sustained from initial rapture as she falls for Alfredo’s ardour, through to the ecstasy, sacrifice and suffering of Act II and her anguished death scene in Act III. The voice has lost none of its lustre. She is supported by a rather wooden and not very romantic-looking Joseph Caleja as Alfredo who nevertheless is strongly passionate in voice; and the threatening presence of Thomas Hampson as Alfredo’s stern, unbending father; his Act II aria ‘Di Provenza il mar’ as he comforts his son after he has compelled Violetta to leave him is particularly moving.
The sets of this Covent Garden production are somewhat minimal. The lighting, except in Act II Scene 1 is subdued. The Act I party scene is a plain rotunda, Act II Scene 1’s love nest is spartan and hardly romantic, looking little more than a kitchen; Act II, Scene 2 fares a little better with a more imaginative spacious backcloth and a large central gaming table on which the gypsy dancers disport themselves at the beginning of the action. The Act III set is again minimal with high shuttered windows. It presents a rather too stark atmosphere with blood-drenched pillows and nightdress.
Violetta’s Act I full party gown is gorgeous, all white and floating with golden stars motifs. The rest of the ladies’ costumes are contrastingly restrained as they are throughout the production. Taken together with the downbeat sets there is a sense of pervasive melancholy that weighs down the production robbing it of sufficient dramatic contrast.
Pappano directs the Covent Garden Orchestra with passion and conviction.
Renée Fleming triumphs but this Covent Garden production is less than perfect.
– Ian Lace, MusicWeb International
Violetta – Renée Fleming
Alfredo Germont – Joseph Calleja
Giorgio Germont – Thomas Hampson
Baron Douphol – Eddie Wade
Doctor Grenvil – Richard Wiegold
Royal Opera House Chorus and Orchestra
Antonio Pappano, conductor
Richard Eyre, stage director
Recorded live at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, June and July 2009.
- Cast gallery
- Antonio Pappano interviews Renée Fleming
Picture format: NTSC 16:9 anamorphic
Sound format: LPCM 2.0 / DTS 5.1
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Menu language: English
Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian
Running time: 135 mins
No. of DVDs: 1
Works on This Recording
La traviata by Giuseppe Verdi
Joseph Calleja (Tenor),
Richard Wiegold (Bass),
Eddie Wade (Baritone),
Renée Fleming (Soprano),
Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,
Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
Written: 1853; Italy
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