Richard Bonynge / Joan Sutherland

Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata

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Joan Sutherland was in her early fifties when she made this 1976 recording of La traviata, so her voice has a maturity that isn't ideal for Violetta. Her technique and her distinctive brightness are still fully evident, though, and her performance is sometimes vocally dazzling. Luciano Pavarotti was close to his prime at the time of the recording, and he sings with his characteristic breadth, vigor, and intensity. Matteo Manuguerra is a sturdy Germont. Richard Bonynge leads the National Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Opera Chorus in a spirited, traditional take on the score, one of the relatively few recordings of the opera that is absolutely complete. The sound is superb and clear, clean, and present.

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