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CD Review

Giuseppe Verdi

La Traviata

Sung in Russian
  • Yelizaveta Shumskaya
  • Ivan Kozlovzky
  • Pavel Lisitsian
  • Yelena Gribova
USSR State Symphony Orchestra/Alexander Ivanovich Orlov
Guild GHCD2305/6 The Russian Legacy 135m ADD
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Verdi must be turning in his grave, this the most Italian of Italian operas sung in Russian! Seriously, this is one of the best ever recordings of the work and although the sound is rather feeble and does sound slightly dated, the interpretation and the sheer quality of the singing has to be heard to be believed.

One can sense that this is a great recording from the very first bars of the Prelude which literally jump out of the pages of the score under Orlov's heart on sleeve direction. The 'Brindisi' is beautifully paced whilst the singing of Shumskaya as Violetta puts her at the very front rank of sopranos with the Russian language adding an extra dimension to the human drama that is unfolding. I was completely bowled over after the performance and the sound does get familiar after a while, so that obstacle drops also.

Guild also includes a delightful bonus in the shape of Pavel Lisitsian singing some representative Verdi arias and duets. Documentation, as usual in this series is detailed and exhaustive although no libretto is included. At this price and with such a performance that would be almost asking too much.

Copyright © 2004, Gerald Fenech