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La Traviata

Teresa Stratas , Plácido Domingo , Franco Zeffirelli    G (General Audience)   VHS Tape
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I'm personally a great fan of La Traviata, which was my first opera and my favorite ever since. But among various discs I have by various performers and conductors, this one is simply the best.
Let's put aside Zeffirelli's unforgettable scenes(I always think the most important thing is music), Domingo and Stratas give us silky, brilliant arias shining as jewels.
Compared with this film, the Kleiber version sounds a little bit too reserved. (Even same Domingo sounds less emotional),
and Solti/Georghiu one is too light. From the first time I saw this film, I became a fan of both Domingo and Stratas.
I'm so sorry I cannot get an OST of this film, so I just turn on DVD and listen to it even when I don't have time to watch it!
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By rkass
The subtitled VHS version of this film was a great introduction for me years ago when I was learning about opera. Despite the valid criticisms about some of Zeffirelli's cuts and embellishments, I still think it's a beautiful film, both visually and musically. It's great to have it finally available on DVD, in widescreen format.
I do have a major criticism of the DVD however. Although there are regular subtitles in French, the English titles are actually "Captions for the hearing impaired." This is the only option for English titles, so there are sometimes distracting descriptive captions on screen: eg. "[Music Starts]....[Laughing]....[People Singing]....[Finale}" One would think that Universal, an American company, would have provided standard English subtitles as well. (There were standard subtitles on the VHS version and, I would assume, on the American theatrical release.)
The nice thing about subtitles on opera DVDs is that they can be used when one is learning about a new opera, but then turned off when they become intrusive. The English captions are adequate for this purpose and I would still highly recommend this disc for newcomers and opera fans alike.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good, Very Zeffirelli April 9 2001
By A Customer
Give the singers a break- no Domingo doesn't look the part (in spite of his amusingly lightened and straightened hairdo) but I for one would rather see the actual singers in a filmed version, rather than beautiful actors lip-synching.
While I prefer a lighter Alva-type tenor in this music, I find Domingo to be fully commited musically and dramatically: a very statisfying performance. Statas's voice is not perfect and her tongue does that strange wagging thing, but she really captures Violetta's fast-failing health both vocally and visually. Even better- you can see the fear in Violetta's eyes as she realizes that she is running out of time. Thus, the coloratura is no mere showy display: it's an exploration of Violetta's building desperation. How much more believable it is, then, that an intelligent, been-around-the-block gal as this should do something so self-delusional as run off with Alfredo when she knows in her heart that it will never work.
You really have to love the look of this film- it has a faded quality that puts the whole work into a fittingly soft focus: the lush purple/violets and reds- it looks just like a Monet or a Renoir come to life. Exactly what I want from Zeffirelli. The only bad thing that keeps me from giving this 5 stars: the strange cuts that he makes (similar to the jarring, disorienting cuts in Romeo and Juliet)- such as Violetta's death. Why cut away from her? It destroys the impact of the final moment. Still- the love and commitment from all involved triumph over all concerns.
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4.0 out of 5 stars La Traviata March 10 2000
Okay, I admit it. I saw this in the theaters (more than once, a lot more than once). I own it on video. And now I own it on DVD.
I'm amazed but two things-- how much it annoys me, and how much it continues to move me. The first time I saw it, I started crying at the end of the Third Act. And each time I saw it, it got worse until I reached the point of crying during the overture. So yes, it does pack an emotional wallop.
But, there are still some things that annoy me. First, the whole thing has been recorded under pitch. The film, the video, the DVD are all under pitch throughout. Was that a mistake, or a conscious effort to stretch the time a little? Second, everyone complains about Domingo being too old (perhaps following the lead of Maltin). Domingo's age has never bothered me. Stratas' vocal age does. I keep hoping as I watch it that she won't sound so tired and inappropriate at the end of Act I, but she does. I just tell myself that she will sound better later on. (And singing to the wine goblets in Sempre Libera always strikes me as funny: will she break them with her high notes?)
And why bother cutting the doctor scene from the beginning of Act 3?
I might seem to have a lot of complaints, but the complaints never explain why I feel compelled to watch this again and again. For that, the director and singers receive some credit, but the real credit is owed to Verdi.
Buy this, watch it, then watch it again.
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1.0 out of 5 stars A Serious Disappointment Jan. 27 2000
I have recently purchased and watched as many Operas as I could afford on DVD. Each has been wonderful and short of being there this format gives a truly emotional experience. I knew that Franco Zifferelli's film would be different but I was not prepared for the utterly one dimensional presentation of what is otherwise great music by performers of the highest calibre. The picture quality was little better than VHS (poor), sound was seriously flawed throughout and with no PCM stereo soundtrack included the option of using the disc as a sound only CD was not available to save the day. I cannot recommend this presentation to anyone who expects to enjoy an opera. It is a horrible experience and one I hope never to repeat. Opera depends for much of its impact on the stylised acting that singers must use to convey the drama and their performance needs the interaction that can only come from an audience participating in a live performance. Even as a film this production is poor.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Cinema 2, Opera 1
Your opinion of "La Traviata" is likely to depend on how free you feel filmmakers should be to adapt established works of art. Read more
Published on June 23 2002 by Charles S. Tashiro
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Beautiful
This is a magnificent production; one to be enjoyed again and again. Not being a professional critic of films or musical performances, I do not look for, nor do I expect to find,... Read more
Published on March 24 2002 by Lazyboy
5.0 out of 5 stars ^_^
I honestly have to say that this was quite a good version of La Traviata. I'm new to Opera, having been in instrumental music all my life, and this DVD held my attention... Read more
Published on Dec 5 2001 by Katherine Dickerson
5.0 out of 5 stars The second greatest opera film of all time
Only the film version of Carmen tops this breathtakingly beautiful and sumptuous production of La Traviata. Read more
Published on Aug. 25 2001 by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Traviata
This is a great version of La Traviata. As it is a film and not just a stage production, there is no annoyingly loud audience sound, no curtains between acts, and wonderful... Read more
Published on Aug. 10 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Lavish Entertainment
This my third purchase of this work, the first two being on videotape. The second videotape was of poor visual quality. In particular the colours were faded. Read more
Published on June 16 2001 by VIRGO
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice try
I like this movie a lot because of the good performance and excellent photography. Domingo's Alfredo is still good enough however, Stratas's Violetta is not good at all in Act I -... Read more
Published on Jan. 2 2001 by Raymond
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! What a Visual Delight!
Amazing filmic effort to capture La Traviata. Not just as opera-for-the-ears but also as a grande opera-for-the-eyes...this is a sensual delight. Read more
Published on Aug. 1 2000 by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Should be in VHS only.
The picture quality and the sound quality are both acceptable for a VHS tape, but they are not what I expected from a DVD. Singers and orchestra are quite perfect.
Published on April 27 2000 by Jaime Marti
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