The Flying Inkpot – Opera Explained – La Traviata (Naxos)
Opera Explained: An introduction to La Traviata
Author: Thomson Smillie
Narrator: David Timson
Naxos Educational 8.558050
by Derek Lim
If you have a friend or relative who has just started listening to opera, this will make a perfect gift. La Traviata is one of the most beloved of Verdi’s many opera and this audiobook-style introduction to it, complete with musical examples will make it many more friends. Of course the staged element of opera is lost, as it is often in purely audio recordings anyway, but apart from reading a book and having every bit explained to you (and even then there are losses — the audio element is lost!), this is probably the next best thing. The limitation of the CD is that it’s reduced to purely one disc; still all the important arias and scena are present and described in some detail. David Timson’s grandfatherly voice, perfectly paced and neither too slow nor too fast, and Thomson’s informative writing make this a great start to your opera-loving friend. Seasoned opera fans will probably know most of what’s happening already. The performances are probably the weakest link in this disc, but they are still adequate.
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