La traviata
CHAN 3023
BBC Music Magazine
'... this is a splendid English-language performance with a typical English National Opera cast of the time. Valerie Masterson's Violetta is exciting in the coloratura of Act I, moving in the great Act II duet, with Christian du Plessis a dramatically convincing Germont; and at her best in Act III. John Brecknock's lyric tenor is ideally suited to Alfredo, and all three principals benefit from the solicitous conducting of Charles Mackerras.'
The Fallen Woman
Opera in 3 acts
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave
after Alexandre Dumas's La dame aux camélias
English translation by Edmund Tracey
The Cast
Valerie Masterson, soprano - Violetta Valéry
John Brecknock, tenor - Alfredo Germont
Christian du Plessis, baritone - Giorgio Germont
Della Jones, mezzo-soprano - Flora Bervoix
John Gibbs, baritone - Baron Douphol
Roderick Earle, bass - Doctor Grenvil
Denis Dowling, baritone - Marquis d'Obigny
Geoffrey Pogson, tenor - Viscount Gaston de Letorières
Shelagh Squires, mezzo-soprano - Annina
Edward Byles, tenor - Joseph
John Kitchiner, baritone - A Passer-by
English National Opera Chorus
English National Opera Orchestra
Sir Charles Mackerras - conductor
Recorded in Abbey Road Studios, London, August, September and November 1980
Producer - John Fraser, Sound engineer - Stuart Eltham
Gramophone
‘"ENO at its very best." The verdict when reviewing the original issue on LP holds good eight years later, and the recording still keeps its honourable place alongside a select few that do something like justice to the opera in its original language. Masterson's singing is a model of reliable accomplishment, and her characterization is touchingly vivid. Mackerras's feeling for the tenderness of the score never betrays him into sentimentality. The production, which includes party noises appropriate to Gay Paree, is imaginative without being obtrusive, and the Peter Moores Foundation, which supported the recording, earn renewed gratitude.’
Classic FM Magazine
'Valerie Masterson is caught here at her prime, and in a role that suited her perfectly; vocally, physically and in interpretation... Her diction is superb; her responses to Germont are both beautiful singing and fine acting. Her grasp of Violetta's personality is as credible as the best on disc, and that includes Callas. Her suffering is less intense, perhaps, but that fits with her gentler characterisation... John Brecknock... complements her with an excellent Alfredo of the soft-grained lyrical variety... conveying his naively poetic idealism - making his bitter reaction all the more convincing.'