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I enjoyed this La Traviata Bul-ray product. Evenmore, caption in english much more helpful to me. However, it's a little bit shorten feeling from the other original Blu-ray products. I suppose if this kind of opera and musical Blu-ray product had been improved of the quality of screen and sound and caption language, ie Korean and Japanese more, it would be selling more. Thanks.
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97 of 100 people found the following review helpful
Sensational BargainApril 9 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
I saw this recording listed and thought there must be some catch; La Traviata performed at La Scala on Blu-ray for less than $10 didn't seem possible. I'm delighted to report it's for real! This is a production of the entire opera on stage at La Scala recorded live with audience in 2007.
As one would expect, the production is first class; the chorus and orchestra do a fabulous job and the settings are worthy of La Scala. The icing on the cake is the singers; all major rolls are well sung and generally look the part. The tenor, Ramon Vargas has less of a stage presence than the tenor on my other recording of La Traviata, Placido Domingo, but one should not hold that against lesser mortals.
Since the performance is a live production, the audience response is recorded as well; using the DTS-HD Master Audio places the listener in the Teatro alla Scala di Milano at this 2007 production. It's pretty exciting!
The HD video is so detailed I believe I could have counted the dots in the material on Violetta's sleeve in the first act. I have an OPPO BDP-83 connected to my Samsung T220HD TV/Monitor and when playing it on this set up one might say there is too much detail to be seen. I'm sitting much farther back with my primary surround system and will freely confess that less is more in this regard.
If you enjoy Verdi, and La Traviata in particular, I highly recommend you get this recording. The sound track offers both LPCM stereo and the DTS-HD Master Audio and does a great job on both.
I have viewed some of the bonus features and had mixed feelings about them; I am something of a traditionalist and have problems with productions of Siegfried that have a chest freezer sitting in the background; but that's just me I suppose. The section from Giselle looked very interesting and seemed to promise a good performance of that ballet.
This is another one I'm delighted to have in my collection!
53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
A Superb TraviataOct. 4 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
This new DVD from Arthaus faces formidible competition from Gheorghiu's first Violetta on Decca; this was her "double" debut, both on DVD and CD. It was her first undertaking of the role and clearly she meant to make it her own. The conductor, Solti, allows for the second verses to arias that are either frequently cut (O mio rimorso and Addio del passato) and includes the cabaletta to Di provenza--not one of Verdi's most inspired moments.
This new DVD uses sets that were new in 1990 although I don't think anyone could lodge a complaint in this area: they are opulent, plush and quite gorgeous. The conservative opera goer will have no complaint here. If memory serves me correctly this is the same production that featured Tiziana Fabriccini, an interpretation that was very controversial, Roberto Alagna and Paolo Coni and conducted by Muti. It should be re-released by whoever has the licensing rights.
Gheorghiu matches all the excellences of her earlier performance. She always looks stunning, sings beautifully and is an accomplished actress. I can't think of any other singer who has this role in her repertoire could match this diva. Yes, it's true that she doesn't take the optional high D at the end of the first act aria, but that's what it is: an option. Her performance is nuanced and touching. I have heard some of Fleming's performance but I find her superficial and dramatically utterly uninvolved. (A downside to the LOs Angeles DVD is Bruson who in his prime was a baritone to be reckoned with; here, at 70 (!) his tone is partched and is afflicted with a wobble which is very distressing.)
Vargas is a great improvement over Lopardo who is somewhat wooden and appears uncomfortable. The former would never be accused of being a great actor but his instincts are always right and while not being "handsome" he has a cherubic sweetness that is very engaging. He has clearly thought out the requirements of the music and brings a great deal of imagination. A pity that the second verse of O mio rimorso was cut as it spoils the musical balance that Verdi was aiming for. (Gheorghiu was also denied her second verse in the Addio del passato.)
Frontali is a vast improvement over Nucci who by rights should be able to shine in this role; the latter became a "Verdi baritone" by default. His milieu is clearly in the Donizetti/Bellini/Rossini operas. the voice is slender, but well focused, but I prefer Fontali's bigger more rugged sound. Of course he has no competition--at least none that I know of on the horizon.
Initially I had my doubts about Maazel. In the 70's (I am hazarding a guess)he recorded Traviata with Lorengar, Aragall and DFD. It was a near complete text if I recall, but Decca management doubtless came down with the mandate to get it on two LP discs. As a result the tempi were brutal in many cases and even though the set did garner some good reviews I have no doubt that it was due to Lorengar. Here Maazel seems much more relaxed and at one with the score. In short one of the best performances of Traviata that I have heard.
For those who want or require a regie Traviata stay away. There is no Konzept here. I would dearly love to see the Venice performance (again Maazel I believe) and even though what I have seen of Villazon/Netrebko is more than offputting (more due to Rizzi who seems to be this generation's Molinari-Pradelli). The cover on the Bel Aire DVD is a Maryln Monroe 'manque"--not the association I make with Traviata. OTOH if a conventionally staged, directed production of this opera is what you want I can only recommend this new set.
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Puccini - La Boheme (The Metropolitan Opera HD Live Series) The opening night of this production at La Scala last year was greeted by controversy that got the star soprano and conductor lustily booed by the angry audience. The Italian papers came up with some speculations as to why that nasty audience response happened. When I first looked at the cover of this DVD, the first thing I noticed was the pretty picture of Angela Gheorghiu ; the next, the names of Ramon Vargas and Roberto Frontali were printed significantly smaller than the names of the soprano and conductor Lorin Maazel. I thought it was in bad taste and slighted the other two principals who are top Verdi singers of this generation with distinguished operatic careers. After listening to the performance on this DVD, I thought I had a better take on the controversy than those Italian papers. My theory is that the soprano and conductor hatched a scheme to do something on that first night performance that would surely enrage the passionate La Scala audience and make themselves the wronged victims. In a subsequent performance used for this DVD, they performed tremendously, and the guilt-ridden and contrite boo birds apologized with huge ovations for them, which was the object of their plot to sell this DVD. But to further reward the conspirators by printing their names much larger than everyone else is going too far. Having said that, the performance here is superb.
Despite some negative comments in the papers about the 20-yr old production sets used here, I prefer it to the Met's Zeffirelli production with its extremes and some garishness particularly in Act2. It's a relief to see Violetta in her last moments in a modest but decent surroundings, not in some dilapidated warehouse. All principals are in top form. As noted earlier, Vargas and Frontali are preeminent Verdi singers and great choice as the Germonts. Gheorghiu is not a typical or traditional Verdi soprano (the likes of Tebaldi, Freni or even Moffo) but she has a beautiful, expressive voice with dark shades for a wide range of expressions and is a very convincing actress. With sensitive and generous partners in Vargas, Frontali and Maazel, she can be a marvelous Violetta as demonstrated on this disc. My little complaint is the stage direction and coaching that let Vargas do a lot of distracting things while singing his one aria in Act2 - looking for cup and saucer, pouring his coffee, and singing his one-verse O Mio Rimorso while lugging a suitcase and rummaging through some unmentionables looking for a document. Miraculously, he did not miss a beat and sang with his customary elegance and vibrancy in rich and burnished tones. For the most part, the singing and acting of the three principals, the contributions of everyone, comprimarios, dancers, chorus, orchestra and , of course, the crafty Maazel throughout the opera - all make this brilliant DVD a must have and worthy addition to everyone's collection of this wonderful opera.
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Update: Great performance, DTS sounds fine with new AVRApril 24 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
Update 11/19/2011: I originally posted the review below in which I complained about the DTS surround track. Since then, I've bought a newer AVR which supports high-resolution audio such as the DTS-HD MA on this disc. My previous AVR didn't have an HDMI input, so I connected the video using HDMI directly to my HDTV, and used a digital optical cable for the audio from my Blu-Ray player to the AVR. This worked well for my other Blu-Ray discs, because the high-resolution audio was down-mixed to a a five-channel surround mix that sounded fine. For some reason, this Blu-Ray did not sound fine using that system, but it sounds great with my new AVR. The vocals are clear and no longer sound overwhelmed by the orchestra, and the orchestra sounds clear and well balanced.
So I am revising my rating from 3 to 5 stars, with the caveat that you *may* experience the audio issues I described below if you do not have an AVR that has an HDMI input for your audio signal. I believe that some Blu-Ray players also output high-res audio over multi-channel analog cables as well, so that should work too If your AVR does support high resolution audio, you'll hear an outstanding performance in excellent surround sound. I'm pleased to recommend this disc, which continues to be a real bargain.
Original review: I agree with the positive reviews about the performance, and the image quality of the Blu-Ray is excellent. Unfortunately, I found the DTS surround track to be very poorly mixed, with the orchestra sounding sloppy and often overwhelming the singers. The 2-channel stereo mix is better, which would indicate that the problem with the DTS was in the processing and not inherent in the recording itself. I at first suspected the problem I was having with the DTS might have been a result of my equipment, though I haven't had any similar problems with other opera Blu-Ray discs, but after reading a review on a Blu-Ray review website complaining about the same issue, it's clear that others have experienced it, too. Still, for $9.99, you get a great performance, outstanding picture quality, and if you're willing to settle for stereo instead of surround, an acceptable sound mix.
The bonus materials consist of trailers for other productions, and the menu to access these is sluggish and clunky, hardly the best way to convince buyers to shell out for more from this company. All in all, the whole disc strikes me as a missed opportunity.
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
La Traviata Looks So Good in Hi-DefOct. 15 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
I used to have the DVD of Decca version of La Traviata featuring Angela Gheorghiu. I liked it but this blu-ray provides a whole new experience with its great high definition vision and audio. Ms. Gheorghiu, as Violetta, performs amazingly in both singing and acting. It's great to observe all the details of the singer's facial expressions and gestures in hi-def. Mr. Vargas, as Alfredo, performs very well even though his acting is rather clumsy. The baritone, as the father, sings flawlessly. I thought the production was also excellent. I expected more from the Gypsy's dance/song but all in all this title deserves five stars.
This is my very first opera title in blu-ray and I'm more falling in love with blu-ray after watching this Verdi's masterpiece. I know I'll be watching it over and over again especially the first act.
Technically, it was shot in 1080i and features PCM 2.0 & DTS HDMA 7.1 audio track. No extras.