Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
La traviata (1853) [121:33]
Violetta Valery – Maria Callas (soprano)
Flora Bervoix – Marie Collier (mezzo)
Annina – Lea Roberts (mezzo)
Alfredo Germont – Cesare Valletti (tenor)
Giorgio Germont – Mario Zanasi (baritone)
Gastone – Dermot Troy (tenor)
Il Barone Douphol – Forbes Robinson (bass)
Il Marchese D’Obigny – Ronald Lewis (baritone)
Il Dottor Grenvil – David Kelly (bass)
The Covent Garden Opera Chorus and Orchestra/Nicola Rescigno
rec. Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, 10 June 1958
ICA CLASSICS ICAC 5006 [68:37+52:56]

Experience Classicsonline

I was looking forward to hearing this new mastering of the private tape of this live, 1958 performance of "La traviata" at Covent Garden. Unfortunately, it's a disappointment; it seems that ICA Classics have simply shaved off the top frequencies. To take but one example of how this has produced an inferior result, on the other labels, a mild curiosity is still audible. Just after the overture has begun, you can hear Callas warming up quietly in the wings, accompanying the orchestra! Presumably this is something the mike picked up but the audience could not – but the remastering here by ICA has obliterated that charming little vignette – goodness knows how. The Myto issue has more hiss and rumble but you can hear the details and upper frequencies of the performance; this ICA sounds opaque, muddied and veiled - you are listening through a blanket of filtering. Nor is there more ambience, despite their claims to have engineered an improved sense of space; it's still reasonably clean, spacious mono without much distortion. Worried by my findings, I sought corroboration of my impression from independent ears before writing this review and they confirmed what I had heard: this is not a success.

This is a great pity, as there is little doubt in my mind that this performance preserves what I believe it to be by far the best souvenir we have of Callas as Violetta and for once she is properly supported by a distinguished cast. I have enthusiastically reviewed elsewhere this performance as issued on the Myto and IDIS labels; meanwhile, I'd stick with the former as the cheapest and best-sounding option, or you can go with the more expensive IDIS - but both are preferable to this one. I am not by any means against remasterings that clean up frequencies and remove hiss, and am as such a great advocate of Andrew Rose's work for Pristine. I only wish the kind of result he gets could have been achieved here.

The performance itself is a gem and is as close as we shall ever get to the-recording-that-never-was-but-should-have-been. I would add only that it would be dishonest to fail to remark that Callas' top notes are indeed occasionally a bit screamy and piercing - but they pale into insignificance when set against the depth and brilliance of her Violetta. She is in good voice and here worthily partnered; Valletti especially is in perfect voice: youthful, boyish, unaffected and impassioned. He never makes an ugly sound but there is no shortage of commitment to his Alfredo. It is true that Zanasi sounds far too young as Germont - turn to Bruscantini in the Gardelli set with Freni and Bonisolli for an authentic-sounding father - and thus lacks a little authority, but he sings honestly and expressively with far more sensitivity than either the detached Sereni or the boorish Bastianini (much as I love both in other roles and recordings). He makes the transition from stiff outrage to fatherly compassion really credible and shows particularly fine control over his soft singing. Trusted friend and ally Rescigno supports Callas unobtrusively with flexible, unhurried tempi and his calm control obviously allowed the diva to feel as comfortable as possible.

There is a bit of coughing, some stage noise and the odd imbalance – but nothing untoward and the audience applause simply heightens the obvious excitement of the evening. Unlike the wretched, crumbly, live Lisbon recording, the prompter is rarely in evidence.

I shall continue to take the Myto set down from my shelves when I want to hear Callas's incomparable characterisation of Violetta in all its lacerating pity and pathos; for me, it renders the Cetra studio recording obsolete. She maintains such poise and control in key moments such as "Dite alla giovane" that it is easy to forgive the odd instance of vocal frailty - of which there are surprisingly few, in any case. For the most part, this is a master-class by the greatest exponent of a notoriously difficult role; her Violetta is an enormously subtle creation and this performance enshrines it for posterity.

Ralph Moore























































































Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.