This new Traviata belongs near the top of the fine recorded versions of the opera despite a serious vocal problem in the middle. The great news is in the casting of the two lovers: Rolando Villazon's Alfredo is just about perfect. He sings with handsome, shaded tone, great attention to the text–his anger feels as real as his grief and passion–and absolute freedom throughout the range.
Perhaps the least performed of Italian master Giacomo Puccini’s mature operas, La Rondine (The Swallow) was originally conceived as Puccini’s first (and only) operetta. But, as stage director Rolando Villazón puts it, “Puccini is Puccini”. Thus the work turned out to be an artful blend of operetta and opera, with a somewhat lighter mood and simpler plot than most of the composer’s more serious masterpieces. But its gorgeous music makes it a “must see” for any opera fan. This riveting and beautifully portrayed video account of La Rondine stars the rapidly emerging soprano (and Delos artist) Dinara Alieva and widely acclaimed tenor Charles Castronovo in the lead roles. Filmed live at the top-ranked Deutsche Oper Berlin, the action unfolds in a dazzling and profound production under the direction of legendary tenor and stage director Rolando Villazón and conducted by the renowned maestro Roberto Rizzi Brignoli.
“A moving performance, well cast and with sympaethetic conducting from Carlo Rizzi…Shicoff is in splendid voice, phrasing and shaping his big set-pieces sensitively, and Edita Gruberova makes a moving Violetta.” (Penguin Guide)
Here is the opera event of 2005, the Salzburg Festival’s "La Traviata" featuring Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón, and Thomas Hampson in a dramatic staging by Willy Decker – the thrilling production that prompted riotous ovations not seen since Karajan’s heyday.