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La Traviata

Teresa Stratas , Plácido Domingo , Franco Zeffirelli    G (General Audience)   VHS Tape
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Brings My Friends to Tears Every Time June 13 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Yes, I've shown this film to some very different women, with the same reaction every time--they become quite wrapped up in the tragic love story of Violetta and Alfreddo, to the point of tears!
I first saw this movie when it was relatively new, and when I had never even seen a live opera yet. It was as extraordinary for me then as my friends continue to find it. From the moment I saw Placido Domingo in Violetta's hallway, I was hooked on him. But then, I have always been partial to extremely masculine foreign men like Rossano Brazzi.
It's wonderfully filmed, with lush settings and beautiful costuming, especially for Teresa Stratas, our Violetta, the jaded courtesan dying of consumption but eager to grasp at a last chance for love and happiness. With her dark hair and eyes, she bewitches Alfreddo, who impetuously offers her all he has, his love. For a time, it seems that happiness and health is theirs in the country retreat they find, far from the excesses of Paris, but Alfreddo's father arrives and makes a request of Violetta put in terms that she cannot refuse. A misunderstanding between the lovers arises, and tragedy for all is the result. But the audience finds itself caring very much about these characters and wishing that things would turn out very differently.
One scene which I particularly like is when Violetta, Alfreddo, and her lover the baron attend a sumptuous party at Flora's. Here we have dancing gypsy girls and extremely acrobatic matadors tearing up the scene and getting the blood boiling, before things really begin to heat up with the romantic triangle.
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3.0 out of 5 stars It's not really all that bad. Jan. 27 2002
Format:VHS Tape
There are two ways of looking at this film: as an opera, or as a movie. As an opera, it isn't that great. This is mainly because of Teresa Stratas screeching and moaning and I'm sure she belches once or twice too. What do you expect from a character whose most dramatic aria occurs in a drunken stupor (he intones with implied sarcasm)? Domingo is good, as is Cornell MacNeill as Germont-Pere. The two men are brilliant singers and not bad at acting either. However, Stratas overacts. A lot. Eh, sopranos.
However, the movie itself is well done. Zeffirelli has an eye for beauty and eye-pleasing scenery. The visual part of the film leaves you with the warm fuzzies, and the actual direction of Domingo really makes you like the character. However, I felt nothing at the death of Violetta. Except maybe a little bit of relief, but let's not let that get around.
All in all, it's a good attempt at cinematizing Verdi's masterpiece, and I agree with some of the other reviewers that it is probably a better buy for opera newcomers.
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By rkass
Format:DVD
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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By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:VHS Tape
Franco Zeffirelli has repeatedly proved his affinity for opera on the stage of the Metropolitan. The tableau at the end of the opening scene of "Tosca" and the split level second act of "La Boheme" with the street scene above and the restaurant below come to mind. In this 1982 film he takes Verdi's tragic opera and trims it down to a brisk 105 minutes that retains all of the emotional highlights. Zeffirelli proves his mastery before the first note of music is even played. The overture to Verdi's opera is quite atypical. At the time operas began with a loud rush of music, but in "La Traviata" Verdi saves that for the first act. Verdi's overture begins with the strings playing as softly as possible, seducing the restless audience into quiet and communicating quite clearly that what they are about to see is a tragedy. The first part of the overture is Violetta's death motif, which reappears again before the final scene. The second half repeats a theme several times with the hope that the audience will remember it when it shows up as one of the shortest arias in opera when Violetta leaves Alfredo. Zeffirelli does two things to enhance this overture. First, he does all of the opening credits, done over shots of the Paris locale, before the music starts. Second, Zeffirelli sets the scene of the overture right BEFORE the final scene. Violetta's apartment is dark and shadowy figures move about, removing items. A young man is removing a lamp and just as the second part of the overture begins he looks up--and there is a portrait of Violetta. Entranced by her beauty he sees the doctor leaving and heads down the hallway and tentatively opens the door to Violetta bedroom. But what he sees is a woman dying from consumption. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Chillingly beautiful
This is a haunting video/DVD. Blah blah about seeing it only in the opera house (open yourself to a new experience it's a stylized *film*)I have studied opera from Met performers... Read more
Published on Sept. 3 2002
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
4.0 out of 5 stars BEAUTIFUL FILM WITH SOMEWHAT AVERAGE VOICES...
The direction and the sets of this film are perfection. Verdi's score is tried, true and beautiful, a great place to start if you've never been exposed to opera. Read more
Published on Feb. 5 2002 by pietrogiovanni
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 Opera Cinema At Its Very Best
This film is the standard by which all opera films must be measured.
Zefirelli gets right to work and makes good use of the mournful overture by showing the creditors of the... Read more
Published on Nov. 11 2001 by Ruth Edlund
5.0 out of 5 stars Total enchantment and marvellous performance
This video which is a movie, sung and performed by wellknown opera singers taken at luxurious homes and country side scenery as background is really a marvellous combination of the... Read more
Published on Oct. 29 2001 by Mrs. Sunar Tjahjono
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
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