Verdi: La Traviata / Serafin, De Los Angeles, Del Monte

Release Date: 6/17/2010
Catalog Number: EMI 49578
Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor: Tullio Serafin
Number of Discs: 2

Physical Format:

Low Stock
Notes and Editorial Reviews
Victoria de los Angeles has so many moments of adorable vivacity and pathos that her Violetta is quite unforgettable.

"Anyone who is supposed to 'know about records' finds himself asked one question more often, perhaps, than any other: 'Which Traviata should I buy?'." The sentence comes from Desmond Shawe-Taylor's "Quarterly Retrospect" of January 1961. He answered that this set, now reissued, then new, was probably the one, though by a narrower margin than he had at first supposed. The years have flown (nearly a quarter of a century of them), bringing many more Traviatas, but the question still remains, and one can only say that it is hard to foresee a time the los Angeles recording will be out of the running.

Serafin's slow speeds trouble less than they did when the set was new (except in "Addio del passato" which would certainly be intolerable if the second verse had been included). With our increased expectations of completeness, a more serious drawback is likely to be the absence of cabalettas for Germont and son (neither DS-T nor Alec Robertson in the original reviews appeared to be bothered by this, but in those days it would have been their presence rather than their absence which would have caused comment). The recording itself has worn well, with imaginative but unobtrusive production by Victor Olof. Moreover, the virtues of Serafin's conducting emerge more clearly after our subjection in the intervening years to conductors who see it as 'their' Traviata: Serafin is modest but not self-effacing, and one is aware of sensitive guidance right from the opening bars of the Prelude.

Most depends on the singing of the three major roles. Here, the Alfredo has plenty of character, a good voice and some sense of style. The father has sufficient gravity and sympathy, and though his voice is 'standard' rather than particularly individual he is in a good tradition of Italian baritone. Victoria de los Angeles has so many moments of adorable vivacity and pathos that her Violetta is quite unforgettable. She copes well with the high tessitura of Act 1, and in Act 2 the great duet finds her at her very best. To take a single example, the lamenting phrases starting "Cosi alla misera" have a heartrending poignancy. The records are worth buying for such things alone.

-- Gramophone [12/1985]
Works on This Recording
1. La traviata by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer: Bonaldo Giaiotti (Bass), Sergio Tedesco (Tenor), Silvio Maionica (Baritone), Mario Sereni (Baritone), Victoria de los Angeles (Soprano), Santa Chissari (Soprano), Vico Polotto (Baritone), Renato Ercolani (Tenor), Carlo Del Monte (Tenor), Silvia Bertona (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor: Tullio Serafin
Period: Romantic
Written: 1853 ; Italy
Customer Reviews