Verdi: La Traviata (Annely Peebo/ Paola Leveroni/ Renato Bruson/ Scott Piper/ Stefania Bonfadelli) (Arthaus Dvd: 107129)
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This production of Verdi's ever-popular, melodic opera was filmed in Busseto, near Parma, Italy, close to the composer's home and birthplace. The story of the opera concerns the plight of Violetta a mid-19th century Parisian courtesan who is dying of consumption. She responds to the ardent love of the young Alfredo but sacrifices him when his father, Giorgio pleads that their love will ruin his daughter's happiness and his son's career. Leaving the musicality of the opera to conductor Placido Domingo, Franco Zeffirelli is here concerned with a natural expression of Verdi's opera - and Alexander Dumas' story. Thus Zeffirelli directs the set designs, lighting, costumes as well as the acting. Zeffirelli's La Traviata is a feast for the eye and Placido Domingo draws first class performances from his orchestra, chorus and cast, particularly Stefania Bonfadelli who is outstanding - above all there is Verdi's gorgeous music.