Verdi: La Traviata - Freni, Cioni, Cappuccilli; Giulini. London, 1967
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Although Mirella Freni sang Violetta on more than one occasion, the role never became a fixture of her repertoire. Perhaps it was the looming specter of Maria Callas who had had such a success in the role a decade earlier, or perhaps it was the fact that Sempre libera, although wisely paced, did prove a bit of a stretch for her. It is a shame because in the rest of the role she is perfect, bringing the pathos and Italianate sensibility that made her so moving as Mimì. In this production from 1967, staged by Luchino Visconti, she is joined by Renato Cioni as Alfredo and Piero Cappuccilli as Germont. Cioni's voice, although sturdy, lacks grace and does little to overcome the callow nature of the character and imbue him with any kind of sympathy. Piero Cappuccilli, here in his prime, sings like a god. Carlo Maria Giulini eschews the frenetic tempos which were all to popular with many of his colleagues for a pacing that gives a chance for the singers to actually sing and for the words to come out. The sound is very good.
Mirella Freni sings "Tu, che le vanità" from Don Carlo