Verdi: La Traviata (In English) - Barstow, Brecknock, Howlett, Walker; Wilks. London, 1974

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I was very surprised to find a recording of La Traviata featuring Josephine Barstow.  The darker color and weightiness of her voice are not characteristics that one associates with Violetta, however, she manages to convey the pathos of the role extraordinarily as well as negotiating the "Sempre libera" with aplomb.  The English National Opera had the good sense to cast the rest of the roles with larger voices to match Barstow's.  John Brecknock voice is not necessarily Italianate in quality but nonetheless he successfully alternates between sweet, lyrical and more dramatic singing throughout the course of the evening.  Neil Howlett is very good as Germont and Sarah Walker is a delight in the normally forgettable role of Flora.  The sound is decent although slightly distant.  The English is not always discernible especially from Barstow.

OD 10637-2

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