WORKS: La traviata
PERFORMER: Angela Gheorghiu, Frank Lopardo, Leo Nucci; Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden/Georg Solti
CATALOGUE NO: 448 119-2 DDD
When the Royal Opera’s current production of La traviata opened last November, its only seriously unsatisfactory element was the décor. With no scenic problems, these CDs recorded live at the ROH are sheer delight. Conducting his first Traviata, Solti wisely elects to perform the whole of the score (cabalettas and ‘Addio del passato’ in full) and nothing but the score (no variants, no E flat for Violetta at the end of Act I or top C for Alfredo in Act II). The orchestra plays Verdi’s glorious score for Solti with delicacy and precision.
Nucci’s Germont succeeds in conveying the parent’s concern for his son as well as his harshness towards Violetta, and Lopardo’s Alfredo, sometimes disconcertingly gauche in the theatre, comes across here as ardent, tender and vocally elegant. Most important of all, the young Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu portrays a credible and indeed moving Violetta, simply by virtue of singing the role so accurately, with a pure legato line and a voice of rich dark beauty. This Traviata will take some beating. Charles Osborne