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Opera Vivrà - o gioia!
In considering the recorded versions of La Traviata in my view, the singing of the central character (Violetta) must be secure. Live recordings are different, we have to accept spontenaiety for better or for worse. No one does security better than Sutherland and for me, her partnership with Bergonzi as Alfredo has not been bettered. I have all the versions listed above; they all have their merits and their drawbacks but when it comes to the performance, give me Sutherland/Bergonzi every time. Of course, it's horses for courses so we all have our preferences.
For me the Callas 1958 live Lisboa with Kraus, the Monteux recording with Carteri and Valletti which is little spoken of, the Ponselle live one, but not unconditionally, Jarmila Novotna with Peerce! and the first Sutherland rec. Decca.
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