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Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu-ray Review

Posted November 7th, 2012 by Lawrence D. Devoe, MD

verdi traviata opera australia bd cover 271x338 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: PCM 2.0, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Japanese
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Opera Australia
  • Blu-ray Release Date: October 30, 2012
  • List Price: $39.99

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Overall
rating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review
The Film
rating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review
Video Quality
rating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 5 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review
Audio Quality
rating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review
Supplemental Materials
rating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 5 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All Blu-rayDefinition.com screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

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The Film

rating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review

chandelier emma 600x338 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review

La Traviata has been a staple of the Italian repertory since its premiere more than 150 years ago.  The well-known story traces the last days of Parisian courtesan Violetta Valery (Emma Matthews) as she is slowly dying from tuberculosis. This Francesca Zambello 2012 Australian production is set outdoors in the Sydney harbor under a truly spectacular Swarowski chandelier, replete with occasional fireworks in the background. Like an increasing number of productions today,  this one begins with our heroine already dead and  waiting to be carried off by the undertakers.

For grand opera, and there are some pretty hefty party scenes, La Traviata is really a very intimate work with the majority of scenes occupied by only a few singers.  Violetta is being pursued by the young Alfredo Germont (Gianluca Terranova) and sees an opportunity for real love at last. However, Alfredo’s father, Giorgio (Jonathan Summers) convinces her that she must give up Alfredo so that Germont’s daughter can be married without any scandal.  Ultimately, the lovers are reunited but it is too late as Violetta dies in Alfredo’s arms.

Soprano Matthews has true star quality and, like the chandelier, is the centerpiece of this production.  Her partner Terranova has a powerful but frequently effortful delivery with relatively little shading.  The elder Germont is solidly handled by veteran baritone Jonathan Summers whose slightly raspy voice is age appropriate (he is 66). Conductor Castles-Onion (one of my favorite showbiz names) keeps things moving right along and given the distance between singers and orchestra manages a well-coordinated production.  A doff of the cap to the sound and video engineers who deliver a very attractive product.

Video Quality

rating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 5 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review

duet1 600x338 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review

This is beautiful watch in every aspect. The backdrop of Sydney, the amazing chandelier, the creative staging, it is all breathtaking and quite different from anything that I have ever seen. When you see Emma Matthews carried away in the chandelier and singing her brains out, it just brings everyone to their feet. The over-the-top couch in Act II is something out of a Las Vegas hotel on steroids.  Costumes are 1950-60 modish and quite attractive.  Camera angles are in frequent motion drawing viewers into the action.  Colors and details are most attractive. The rather prominent head mikes were a little distracting at first but with continued viewing became unobjectionable.  The fireworks, previously mentioned, are used quite judiciously: massive explosions in the first act party scene and a single flare at the end, marking Violetta’s passing.

Audio Quality

rating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 5 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review

fireworks 600x338 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review

I was truly stunned by the sonic balance given the performance venue. Voices and instruments are nearly perfectly in the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack belying the outdoor setting. The 2-channel version is also quite good.

Supplemental Materials

rating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 5 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review

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Brief interviews with director Zambello and costume designer Tess Schofield, a cast gallery, photo shoots with the stars, and some time-lapse photos of opening night and stage construction are about it.  There is also some glamour footage of the chandelier with its 3200 light elements.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

rating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review

germont 600x338 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review

With a veritable raft of treasurable Traviatas already on BD with some of the reigning divas of our times, Renee Fleming (twice), Angela Gheorghiu, and Anna Netrebko, the competition for best in show is quite stiff. Mme Matthews may not be as well known as her rival Violettas but she brings terrific personality to the role, definitely not a shrinking violet this one, and has vocalism galore. The rest of the cast does not rise to this same level of inspiration but there are no supporting performances that are less than adequate.  Musical direction favors a brisk pulse, preferable to the occasional languid performances that can make this opera a drag.  This Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour production may not capture pride of place among the preceding BDs but for its innovative staging, the incredible backdrop of Sydney at night, great costumes and that splendiferous chandelier, it really deserves to be seen…and heard.

Additional Screen Captures

Purchase La Traviata on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

couch 600x338 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review

emma2 600x338 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review

chandelier 600x338 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review

alfredo 600x338 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review

pariagi 600x338 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review-

Purchase La Traviata on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
rating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review
The Film
rating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review
Video Quality
rating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 5 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review
Audio Quality
rating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review
Supplemental Materials
rating Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 5 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Reviewrating 0 Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata  [Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour] Blu ray Review

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