Verdi La Traviata Joan Sutherland 4757922
. . . the recording has an Urtext quality that shows you exactly what Verdi wrote . . . Sutherland's Violetta is certainly among the most musically accurate on disc . . . the beauty of this recording is that its Urtext attitude doesn't translate into sterility . . . good health and endless colour of the Sutherland voice . . . attentive conducting [by Sir John Pritchard] . . . he even gives inner soliloquies a distinctive pulse that tells you such thoughts aren't heard out loud . . . a recording acoustic with much bloom.
. . . it is hard to imagine that any are superior to this version . . . Joan Sutherland had literally conquered the world's major operatic stages and this recording tells us both how and why! . . . she seems totally assured through all the role's changing demands. Her singing in the first act has a shimmering quality -- unequalled in my experience. However, she seems equally able to handle the later more dramatic and ultimately tragic moments of the opera . . . As the tragedy develops Sutherland's voice seems to darken and throughout the performance the listener is aware that this is a big voice in every sense . . . [Carlo Bergonzi] is an open-throated tenor . . . in Bergonzi's interpretation we have an Alfredo completely in love with Violetta and this spills over in his sense of betrayal at the end of the act . . . [Robert Merrill's] rich velvety tone and smooth emission are ideal for the role [of Giorgio Germont], especially when the character is at his most sanctimonious in the first scene of Act 2 . . . [John Pritchard]: Given the impressive nature of this performance from the brio of the opening bars of the First Act to the sad and tragic conclusion of the opera, it may be in order to wonder why he was later overlooked.