Verdi's opera tells the tragic tale of Violetta, who is dying of consumption and leaves her beloved Alfredo at the request of his father, only to be reunited shortly before her death. — No Track Information Available — Media... more » Type: DVD
"I'd read about the stir that this production caused at the 2005 Salzberg Music Festival and I was anxious to see it for myself on DVD. La Traviata has always been one of my favorite operas and while I won't say that any one version is definitive for me, this one is among my favorites.
Even if your not a fan of Anna Netrebko, I'd say watch it. I'm not entirely unbiased because I do like Netrebko. I think she's a gifted vocalist and I think when she plays this particular role she really owns it. No, she's not "the next Callas". I don't think there will ever be another Callas, but that's no reason why we can't appriciate her on her own terms. Anna Netrebko's strengths are her acting ability, her lusterous dark tones, and her ability to go quiet on certain notes and still make them extremely resonant and powerful. She's gorgeous obviously, so it's not too much of a stretch to imagine men falling over themselves for her. And she and Rolando Villazon have a wonderful chemisry. His tenor blends beautifully with her soprano. Each one seems to feed off of the other's performance.
But to me the best part was actually the design. It opens on the party scene but the stage is naked except for a sofa the color of Violetta's dress. There's a giant clock in the corner that reminds Violetta of her mortality even at her most festive moments (and if that weren't enough Death himself is always hanging around-though at the end of the first act Violetta gulps down some champagne and then throws her glass at him!) Violetta and Alfredo's love nest also has spare scenery except tha furnature is draped in a floral cloth that matches their robes. When Violetta promises Germont that she'll sacrafice her love for Alfredo she pulls the cloths from the furnature as she sings. The furnature is left a sterile white. Then she changes back to her dress from the first act amidst these blank surroundings. Combined with the music the effect is haunting.
I think the test of a performance is if it makes me feel. The greatest singing in the world is meaningless if it doesn't produce and kind of emotion in the listener. In this production all of the elements really came together and made me cry. I don't know how much of that was Anna Netrebko's "star" power because I felt it in scenes that she wasn't even in. I think it was just all of the elements of a production working and coming together in the right way. "
Ahh! So this is what Verdi was thinking of!
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 09/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Who cares if you like or don't like 19th C opera in modern dress! If you don't like this performance, you just don't like singing! All three prinicipals are superb--dare I say unmatched! It helps, of course, if you've seen a production of La Traviata with opulent sets and costumes; most opera fans have, and can supply those images from memory. This is a streamlined production all about music. Villazon is "singing like an angel" these days. If that quotation reminds you of someone long dead, it's no accident. His performance in Donizetti's Elixir deserved an Oscar for acting and an "Enrico" for beautiful singing. He almost makes me reconsider the idea of reincarnation. Netrebko and Hampson are equally special. All three sing their roles in ensemble with the orchestra in ways that shape their arias symphonically. This performance is so good that it makes me re-evaluate Joe Green as a composer of music rather than merely of operas."
Fun, sexy, updated, widescreen.
OperaOnline.us | Boston, MA | 07/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Recorded live at the Salzburg Festival in 2005 this 2-DVD Premium Edition of Verdi's "La Traviata", featuring Carlo Rizzi, directing the Wiener Philharmoniker, is a treasure in every way a great opera and great production (staged by Willy Decker and Directed by Brian Large) can be. Filmed in widescreen and recorded for digital sound, every visual and audio advantage that could be given to the cast was offered, including an interesting use of a single set (picture a cinemascope screen and walls lit in soft white or blue) with an occasional tapestry covered couch or two to contrast color against the black and white unisex suits worn by the chorus, and red dresses and robe of Ms. Netrebko. It's not necessary to dwell on the voices of the stars, suffice so say that the performances were lively and vibrant, filled with easy passion and an obvious affection and chemistry that clearly exists between Villazón and Netrebko. This is a sensuous, minimalist production of "Traviata" that obviously exploits the sex appeal of Ms. Netrebko and exuberant vitality of Mr. Villazón who does justice to those scenes that require he cavort around in little more than a pair of shorts. For this Premium Edition, the full opera is contained on a single disk; the second disc is reserved for some extras, one of which stands on its own for its sheer enjoyment: "The Making of . . . video." This alone is worth the cost of the set because it captured the stars and supporting cast in rehearsal, joking, interacting - and in one particularly funny scene, having Ms. Netrebko lecture Villazon that he uses his hands too much when he sings as she stands behind him pressing his hands behind his back, and using her own arms, under his, to gesture the way she thinks he looks. This was a laugh out loud moment because her feminine gestures are so clearly at odds with his male persona. To warm up to this production you might even want to view the "making of" first to understand what it is you will see and why it is staged as it is. This 2-DVD set is a clear "must own" because it gives us an updated and far sexier "La Traviata" than we are accustomed to seeing, and because the music, both vocally and orchestral, comes across so beautifully. A revjeiw from OperaOnline.us."
Passionate, Sensual and Brilliant
Rivendell | Illinois, USA | 08/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This Traviata will not be to everyones taste due to its minimalist staging and modern design. However, for those willing to try something new, this is a rare treat. Villazon and Netrebko have a real chemistry about them and this production oozes sensuality. The voices are sublime and the acting superb. The minimalist staging works wonderfully well and really adds to this production, as nothing is there to detract from the magnificent singing and acting - except for the symbolic messages in the staging. There is a relaxed abandoned feel to the performance which is very different and very appealing. Both Villazon and Netrebko are extremely relaxed in their acting, not the stiff and stuffy stars of old - this is modern and well worth adding to your collection. Netrebko seems to have the talent to sing in all ranges lyric, coloratura and spinto - she is seriously impressive, my only fear for her, is that her popularity will ruin her voice if she does not take care of it. Give this DVD a chance - you won't be at all sorry, unless you are really set in your opera loving ways. "
This is great production
Pirooz Aghssa | Ann Arbor, MI United States | 07/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As I get older I become more conservative about operas and plays being updated and messed with. But this is a great and thoughtful production where the director's concept actually makes the total effect of the opera much more powerful.
This is opera as great theatre and yet the music is not compromised.
Enough has been written about the two stars and I agree with the accolades. But for those who know this opera well, watch and listen to the way Thomas Hampson sings the cantabile lines: he is not a singer who is seduced by a melody. He is a thoughtful artist who is after creating a total character withing the structure of the music. His singing of the cantabile lines bring out the provincial aspects of Germont's character. I found this interpretation incredibly orginal and brave. Kudos to Thomas Hampson. A true artist.
Buy this Traviata. This is what opera can be when it is done right."