February 2003 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Gary S. Dalkin
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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DVD Film Review

La Travíata  
Music composed by Giuseppe Verdi
Violetta Valéry……………………………Stefania Bonfadelli (soprano)
Alfredo Germont………………………….Scott Piper (tenor)
Giorgio Germont………………………….Renato Bruson (baritone)
Flora Bervoix……………………………...Annely Peebo (mezzo-soprano)
Annina……………………………………..Paola Leveroni (soprano)
Baron Douphol ……………………………Ezio Maria Tisi (baritone)
Gastone, Visconte di Letorières………....Cristian Ricci (tenor)
Marquis d’Obigny …………………………Andrea Snarsky (bass)
Dr Grenvil ………………………………….Gastone Sarti
  Director and Set Designer: Franco Zeffirelli
Orchestra and Chorus of Fondazione Arturo Toscanini conducted by Plácido Domingo
[Special features: Making of "La Traviata", Clips and Interviews]
(Recorded at the Teatro Giuseppe Verdi, Busseto, February 2002)
  TDK DVD Video DV-OPLTR  
[Opera: 139 mins. Features: 66 mins]
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traviata

This Zeffirelli production of Verdi’s ever-popular, melodic opera was filmed in February 2002, in Busseto, near Parma Italy, close to the composer’s home and birthplace. Actually, the record shows that Zeffirelli had filmed La Traviata before, in 1982. The Italian film director whose credits include: The Taming of the Shrew (1966); Romeo and Juliet (1968); Jesus of Nazareth (TV) (1977); Othello (1986); and, more recently, Tea with Mussolini (1999) began his professional career as a stage director.

The story of the opera concerns the plight of Violetta a mid-19th century Parisian courtesan who is dying of consumption (tuberculosis). She responds to the ardent love of the young Alfredo but sacrifices him when his father, Giorgio pleads that their love will ruin his daughter’s happiness and his son’s career. [Readers may recall that M-G-M made a film of the story in 1937 starring Greta Garbo and Robert Taylor (music by Herbert Stothart)].

Leaving the musicality of the opera to conductor, Plácido Domingio, Zeffirelli is here concerned with a natural expression of Verdi’s opera – and Alexander Dumas (fils)’ story – i.e. Zeffirelli’s directs the set designs, lighting, costumes as well as the acting. (One of this DVD’s features demonstrates his remarkable detailed knowledge of the costumes of the period.) Seldom has this melodrama seemed so sincere, so true.

This Zeffirelli production of Verdi’s ever-popular, melodic opera was filmed in February 2002, in Busseto, near Parma Italy, close to the composer’s home and birthplace. Actually, the record shows that Zeffirelli had filmed La Traviata before, in 1982. The Italian film director whose credits include: The Taming of the Shrew (1966); Romeo and Juliet (1968); Jesus of Nazareth (TV) (1977); Othello (1986); and, more recently, Tea with Mussolini (1999) began his professional career as a stage director.

The story of the opera concerns the plight of Violetta a mid-19th century Parisian courtesan who is dying of consumption (tuberculosis). She responds to the ardent love of the young Alfredo but sacrifices him when his father, Giorgio pleads that their love will ruin his daughter’s happiness and his son’s career. [Readers may recall that M-G-M made a film of the story in 1937 starring Greta Garbo and Robert Taylor (music by Herbert Stothart)].

Leaving the musicality of the opera to conductor, Plácido Domingio, Zeffirelli is here concerned with a natural expression of Verdi’s opera – and Alexander Dumas (fils)’ story – i.e. Zeffirelli’s directs the set designs, lighting, costumes as well as the acting. (One of this DVD’s features demonstrates his remarkable detailed knowledge of the costumes of the period.) Seldom has this melodrama seemed so sincere, so true.

Ian Lace

****(*)

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