Going into this recording, I must admit I had several reservations. When this recording was made, Alfredo Kraus was 65 years old and Kiri Te Kanawa was 48. Would they be able to bring the youthful passion and naïvete (especially in the role of Alfredo) to the roles that they require? Both singers demonstrated a craft to be envied - younger singers could and should takie a few lessons from these two. Kraus even tossed in a High C at the end of, Oh mio rimorso, oh infamia. His voice sounds a little older, but none the worse for the wear. Technically, Te Kanawa made an excellent Violetta. Her notes came clearly and seemingly easy enough. However, there was a lack of passion and fire that made Violetta seem as if she was merely going through the actions. Hvorostovsky brought age to the scenes and definetly was the authority-figure the elder Germont is supposed to be. Zubin Mehta's conducting was as usual un-remarkable. He tended to make the solos and duet in the first act sound like tone-poems. His tempos outside of this remained even and rythmic. The Orchestra performed with a lack of passion and enthusiasm as well. This recording is a good document of a voice that has had a long and illustrious career (I am referring to Kraus). It is also a study for Sopranos in the technical aspects of Violetta, but not her passionate side.
Copyright © 1996, Stephen L. Parker