Victoria De Los Angeles has long been a favourite singer of mine and her Violetta satisfies on so many levels. She is a little strained by the tessitura of the first act, but the voice is generally clear and beautiful, her singing always musical and deeply felt. As in everything she did, the sensitivity and sincerity of the performance are most affecting and she is without doubt one of the best Violettas on disc. What I miss is that sense of desperation and impulsiveness inherent in the character. Her Violetta is touching, but not overwhelmingly tragic as it is with Callas, who does tend to spoil me for all comers.
She has a good supporting cast with Carlo Del Monte a manly and forthright Alfredo and Sereni a sympathetic Germont, as he is in Callas’s Lisbon performance.
I sometimes feel Serafin’s virtues are rather underestimated. He paces the score brilliantly, particularly good in the choruses, which can sometimes outstay their welcome. If I’m honest, I rather prefer his approach to the more interventionist Kleiber. The cuts traditional at the time are observed, so no cabalettas to Alfredo’s and Germont’s arias.
If Callas, particularly in London, remains my yardstick for this opera, this is nevertheless one of my favourite studio sets and I might even place it just above Cotrubas/Kleiber.
2 thoughts on “De Los Angeles in La Traviata”
Ponselle will always be MY yardstick for this opera. The 2nd act especially far outshines even Maria.
I know and appreciate Ponselle’s Violetta of course, but I wouldn’t agree that her Act II outshines Callas, especially in London 1958, where Callas peers so deeply into Violetta’s pain and loss. Callas takes us out of the opera house and presents us with something so palpably real that it’s almost too painful to listen to. See my review of the London performance https://tsaraslondon.com/2017/07/17/callass-covent-garden-traviata/