One of the most grown-up review sites around

50,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


A most rewarding CD
Renate Eggebrecht violin


Nick Barnard review
Michael Cookson review

Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases

Anderson Choral music

colourful and intriguing

Pekarsky Percussion Ensemble

one of Berlioz greatest works

Rebecca Clarke Frank Bridge
High-octane performances

An attractive Debussy package

immaculate Baiba Skride

eloquent Cello Concerto

tension-filled work

well crafted and intense

another entertaining volume

reeking of cordite

Pappano with a strong cast

imaginatively constructed quartets

the air from another planet

vibrantly sung

NOT a budget performance

very attractive and interesting

finesse and stylistic assurance

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Giuseppe VERDI (1813 – 1901)
La traviata (1853) [112:13]
Violetta Valéry: Pilar Lorengar (soprano)
Alfredo Germont: Giacomo (Jaime) Aragall (tenor)
Giorgio Germont: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone)
Annina: Mirella Florentina (soprano)
Flora Bervoix: Stefania Malagù (mezzosoprano)
Gastone: Pier Francesco Poli (tenor)
Dottore Grenvil: Giovanni Foiani (bass)
Barone Douphol: Virgilio Carbonari (baritone)
Marchese d'Obigny: Silvio Maionica (bass)
Chor und Orchester der Deutsche Oper Berlin /Lorin Maazel
rec. 1968, Deutscher Oper, Berlin. ADD
DECCA 4430002 [65:37 + 46:45]

There are two possible caveats regarding appreciation of this set, so let’s address those first. One is the nature of Pilar Lorengar’s soprano, which has not so much a flap in the vibrato as a fast shimmer in the tone which some find disturbing and others attractive, adding to the vulnerability of her sound, ideal for the depiction of the fragile heroine. I like it, especially as otherwise her tone is naturally beautiful and her intonation unerring. The second issue is the suitability of Fischer-Dieskau’s baritone to portraying Italian “paternalistic” roles, as per Giorgio Germont here. Even some of his fans balk at his venturing here; in his thirties he got away with some Wagnerian bass-baritone roles such as his early Dutchman for Konwitschny and others can tolerate his Rodrigo in Solti’s “Don Carlo” while conceding that for all his sensitivity and intelligence his was never the right, vibrant timbre to do justice to Verdi’s long, cantilena line; as such, it is, for example, probably best to pass over his ill-advised Macbeth for Gardelli. Within the limitations of his voice he is predictably nuanced and sympathetic here, even if the gravitas associated with a rounder, truly resonant baritone of the Merrill-Milnes-Manuguerra type is missing; his windy top notes are far less satisfying than the pathos and delicacy of his first confrontation with Violetta, where Lorengar, too, is as touching as Cotrubas.

Concerning the other principal, the under-recorded tenor Giacomo Aragall, there is surely less debate. He has a lovely voice, a ringing top B and an easy, youthful manner, even if he tends to lack subtleties that Bergonzi brings to the role of Alfredo. Maazel’s conducting is very fine, too: flexible, impassioned and extraordinarily attuned to, and supportive of his singers. The analogue sound is excellent, and the score only slightly cut; the tenor and baritone each get a verse of their usually cut cabalettas.

I advise sampling before you buy to discover if either of the potential drawbacks mentioned above bothers you; otherwise I recommend this a wholly viable account of one of Verdi’s most popular operas which has, paradoxically, proved more elusive on record. My personal favourites remain either of Callas’ live 1958 recordings in Lisbon and London and Caballé’s studio recording conducted by a rather hard-pressing Prêtre, but this one deserves an honourable place on the shelves, too.

Ralph Moore


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger