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Covid strikes again!  The 1 October Budapest Concert has been cancelled due to restrictions that prevented José Cura from traveling from Madrid.  Please note that his concerts for 2021 are still scheduled.

Week 2 La Traviata



Performance dates for planning purposes


La Traviata













21, 23, 28

La Traviata








La Traviata Gala (semi-staged)

Arena di Verona


Gala performance




3, 4

La Traviata a Paris

Locations around Paris


Live streamed internationally; CD; DVD




La Traviata a Paris - - 2000



Note:  This is a machine-based translation.  We offer it only a a general guide but it should not be considered definitive.



Live on Raiuno: Verdi’s La traviata in the original places and hours of the opera

Giornale di Brescia

Emanuela Castellini

June 2000


Eteri Gvazava and José Cura star of the mega-production


PARIS - The event is just a few hours away. Verdi's La traviata, the tormented love story between Violetta and Alfredo, will be performed and broadcast live on TV in the hours and with the movements of the original action, from Paris. A multimedia superproduction [will be distributed by Raiuno].

The operation is by Andrea Andermann, responsible for the 1992 of Tosca in the places and hours of Tosca who, as then, entrusts the direction to Giuseppe Patroni Griffi and the direction of photography to Vittorio Storaro; Zubin Mehta conducts the Rai National Symphony Orchestra. The singers: Eteri Gvazava, young Russian soprano in her first Verdi, in the role of Violetta and José Cura, Argentinean tenor, already considered Pavarotti's heir, in the role of Alfredo. The music will come out of speakers hidden in the various environments and the singers will have microphones hidden in their hair and clothes. 

Awaiting the very complicated performance is Eteri Gvazava; The Violetta of the 2000 will die at midnight with the sound of the bells of Notre Dame: “I'm really excited. I've been studying the score and scenes for months. Violetta requires a dramatic voice while mine is lyrical but I will have to not force it to give an intense interpretation."

José Cura is already a star. Will the bel canto purists protest the adaptations needed for TV? “The sound may not always be perfect. I know I'm not on stage but it's worth it. I act in 360 degrees, the camera can follow me everywhere; I will serve me when I return to the theater. Thanks to the TV we will bring the work to the world."

Is it the right operation? "It is a unique, intense and exciting experience. It is so fascinating that it deserves some risk.  In the opera world there has always love ... necrophilic: the present never goes well, the past becomes mythical despite having been criticized when it was present. Caruso and Gigli were also criticized [in their time]. However, the visuals will be precious accomplices in the story of Violetta and Alfredo, while the music will allow us to understand the feelings. Being there will be unforgettable.” 

- La Gvazava? “She has done an incredible job—she is very good and seductive. Whoever does this job, if he is not mediocre, is happy not only for himself but for others if things go well. I have never been envious of those who find themselves in the place they deserve.” 



Note:  This is a machine-based translation.  We offer it only a a general guide but it should not be considered definitive.

Amami Alfredo nell'opera hi-tech


Stefania Berbenni

19 May 2000


Two microphones for each performer, hidden cameras and steady-cams, four sets scattered around Paris while the orchestra plays at the Salle Wagram.

With a cast of stars, Oscar winners and artists in search of glory, here is a preview of the multimedia Traviata.'  But will it be opera or superfiction?

The earring falls, slips under the table, there is ambiguity in that sudden detachment from the lobe: force of gravity or force of seduction? Violetta bends down to pick it up, Alfredo does the same, they find themselves under the lace tablecloth, hidden, protected by lace where it seems easier to say without pretense what the true nature of love is, "cross and delight". Kiss. End of the scene. The music is silent, the cameras are turned off, the choir that has just sung the Libiamo with full glasses scatters in the golden halls of the Italian embassy in Paris. Alfredo (Josè Cura) and Violetta (Eteri Gvazava) come out from under the table, go to the monitors in the next room to see each other again, study each other, listen to each other again (the scene had been recorded): both try to understand if the professional gamble to which they have been called has meaning, feasibility, artistic dignity. Because they are not rehearsing the "classic" Traviata, they are developing the first soap with music, the first live film with a brilliant soundtrack (composed by Giuseppe Verdi), the opera which is also an archetype of absolute love, opposed. A dangerous mix of cinema, television, opera. A hi-tech, multimedia, two thousand proof Traviata. An operatic superfiction that on June 3 and 4 will enter millions of homes on five continents, live on TV, invading the global television village: 125 connected countries, 25 billion expected viewers, four appointments distributed over the weekend, each half an hour each.

This jumble of genres has a title, Traviata à Paris; it also has a creator, Andrea Andermann who with his company (RadaFilm) has been working on the project for eight years. Andermann has an exceptional production partner in Rai (it provides him with full technical-managerial support) so much so that the broadcasting rights (that is, the transfer to world’s TVs) are divided between the two parties. "It is live cinema, but it is also Verdi's Traviata. It is the chronicle of a shocking, scandalous love. It is the TV that gives an account of what is happening on the love front," explains Andermann, who in 1992 directed a similar project, Puccini's Tosca.

These days in Paris they rehearse ten to twelve hours a day: the movements of the cameras, the audio system, the gestures of the performers, the music. Because on June 3 and 4 nothing can go wrong, the live broadcast won't allow it. Vittorio Storaro, director of photography, winner of three Oscars, studies shots, hides cameras. Giuseppe Patroni Griffi, master of direction (he also worked on Tosca eight years ago), insists on details, expressive nuances. He has a guideline:  the music: "I never forget that I'm staging an opera for TV: the characters are musical creations, the notes tell us what they feel, what feelings they are possessed by. Images can be precious accomplices to dig into the narrative."

Zubin Metha and the Rai Orchestra will play at the Salle Wagram, while the choir and performers will be on one of the four breathtaking sets scattered around Paris: the music will come out of speakers hidden among the furniture and plants of the garden, the protagonists will have double microphone hidden by their hair or clothing. The French capital, aware of the impact of the images on tourism, has made exceptional scenarios available, such as the Petit Palais or the Hameau de la Reine in Versailles. Period pottery and precious objects such as the pen with which Violetta writes the farewell letter to Alfredo in Act II (art director is Aldo Terlizzi) have been rented from Parisian antique dealers; hundreds of dresses were made with precious fabrics for the two parties called for by the libretto; and then, horses, carriages, mirrored windows: a riot of pomp and sophistication. The action has been moved forward by fifty years: we are in 1900 instead of 1850 as indicated by Francesco Maria Piave’s libretto, derived, as is known, from La dame aux camèlias by Alexandre Dumas fils.

Will the purists be outraged at the artistic license taken for use by the world-wide audience? Certainly, the lovers of Verdi's score will not easily digest the natural concessions to the cinematographic-television medium which, inevitably, often wins over music (Panorama attended three days of rehearsals). And perhaps not a few fans of the notes will turn up their noses on the cast: except for Josè Cura, an accredited tenor, the other two main roles are entrusted to Eteri Gvazava, a young Russian soprano in her first Verdi role, and Rolando Panerai, an "historic" Giorgio Germont for over fifty years on the stage who replaced Ruggero Raimondi at the last minute. The soprano admits: "I have been studying the score for more than three months. Violetta requires a dramatic voice while mine is lyrical. I have to be careful not to force it and at the same time to give a more intense interpretation". With devotion to Patroni Griffi and professional determination, the TV-Violetta from Siberia repeats scenes, studies the score, indulges in some daring shots in the second act when the two lovers relax in the country house. Will she convince, this petite Eteri Gvazava? Hers is not only a performance as a soprano, but also as an actress: just think of the last act, with the camera a few centimeters from her face, for half an hour. The Violetta del 2000 will die at midnight on June 4th, to the sound of the bells of Notre-Dame and must be able to make half the world cry.

Watching the rehearsals, one cannot help but think of Verdi, that nineteenth-century man who for more than fifty years investigated the feeling of love, as a detective might, finding proof of its contradictory and violent nature ("Croce e delizia .. . ") in Rigoletto (filial love), in Otello (passionate) and of course in Traviata (to name some of the most famous titles). Certainly, Verdi could never have imagined that his music would one day travel over the air across the globe, becoming "live cinema." A planetary event, while the opera's debut was a Venetian fiasco: the premiere of Traviata at the Fenice in 1853 was a resounding failure, raining whistles. What would he say today seeing dozens of cameramen chasing Violetta and Alfredo? How much would he suffer thinking Addio del passato, Violetta's yearning farewell to life, will be listened to by many while munching on cookies and chips on the sofa at home, in slippers? Anyone who wants to can attend the "performance" and hypothesize possible answers. The ticket for the "multimedia theater" is free.


Note:  This is a machine-based translation.  We offer it only a a general guide but it should not be considered definitive.



Stefania Berbenni

19 May 2000

 The world-famous Argentine tenor on taking on the role of Alfredo on the small screen while thinking about his future as an artist--without La Scala

In some respects, José Cura embodies Traviata à Paris, and not so much because he is the only true "star" of the cast (he is an internationally renowned tenor, one of the most acclaimed Otello in the world). It is his way of moving around the set, of poking around behind the cameras and camera lenses that gives rise to his thought (he always has his personal camera with him because he is working on a book of photos, Traviata as seen by Alfredo). Cura is "multimedia," ready to mix languages, to yield, musically, to inevitable compromises. He does not exclude cinema or TV works, in addition to singing of course, in his future. On the set of Traviata à Paris he is capitalizing on knowledge that no theater can offer. "I know I'm not on stage. I realize the sound won't always be perfect. But it's worth it."

Why is that?

Because I am acting in 360 degrees, not staring at an audience. I move, I run, the camera follows me. We will have an audience that will count in the millions. Traviata will reach many people, many of whom perhaps never knew of its existence. Maybe someone will appreciate the opera.

You don’t see risks for your career?

Performing an opera in the theater is a risky thing.  Here we talk about "live cinema" while an orchestra plays ...

... and you artists sing.

Of course, there could be technical setbacks, or something dictated by chance. A horn blaring, something falling, a sudden noise. It’s part of the game.

And what is the point for you?

I am having an experience that I consider unique: I see how such a "machine" works. I will use it when I get back on stage.

Are you not afraid of criticism?

I believe that in the opera world there is a kind of necrophilic love: the present never suits us, the past becomes mythical but only after being criticized when it was the present. I think of the criticisms of Caruso, Gigli ...

After "Traviata" many commitments are waiting for you, some shifted for months because of rehearsals here in Paris. In December you  will do Trovatore in Madrid, instead of at La Scala for December 7, as some have reported.

I will debut on December 8th. Funny, isn't it? Also because there had been contacts. Then a few weeks ago I received a fax that [La Scala] had freed me from any commitment. No more Scala. And I didn't understand why.




Note:  This is a machine-based translation.  We offer it only a a general guide but it should not be considered definitive.


La Traviata - from Paris to the World

La Nacion

1 June 2000


Live: José Cura will lead the cast of the television version of Verdi's opera, in natural settings.

Divided into four installments performed between next Saturday and Sunday, Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata, will have the highest audience in its history.

The opera will be performed in various natural settings in Paris, where the tragic story of the Lady of the Camellias—written by Alexander Dumas and brought to the musical theater by the Italian composer—will take place and be televised live and direct on television to 124 countries.

Argentinean tenor José Cura will be the principle figure in this spectacular version that will try to emulate the successful experiment carried out with Puccini’s opera Tosca [1992].

Stellar figure

Without a doubt, José Cura will be the star of the night since the rest of the cast is led by a new soprano, the Russian Eteri Gvazava, and Rolando Panerai (who replaces Ruggero Raimondi).

The television transmission will not arrive live in Argentina, although a cable channel is in talks with the production company to broadcast it at a later date.  For its part, Teldec has already announced that there will be a two-CD edition of Verdi's popular opera, which will be released on the 25th of this month.




`La Traviata' Goes on Location in Paris / TV experiment brings drama, intimacy to Verdi

Octavio Roca, Chronicle Staff Critic

Don't miss this one.

There have been more than a few film and television versions of "La Traviata," but Giuseppe Patroni Griffi's may be the most original and certainly one of the most exciting.

It stars the splendid trio of Eteri Gvazava, Jose Cura and Rolando Panerai, set against the background of actual Parisian locations and filmed with exquisite flair by the Oscar-winning Vittorio Storaro. It is conducted by Zubin Mehta as if everyone's life depended on it, and it is terrific.

Sunday's Great Performances showing of "La Traviata" from Paris follows the opera's spectacularly successful live broadcast in Europe last season, when Verdi's popular masterpiece was serialized over two days so the action would take place at the time indicated in the libretto.

No, the gimmick didn't quite generate the sort of hype that attended the fate of rat-eating survivors stranded on an island. But the fate of Verdi's doomed courtesan Violetta and her beloved Alfredo kept millions of European viewers tuned in -- and it should thrill American opera lovers now.

The American broadcast is not serialized but rather given in just over two hours of frantic, thrilling action. The soundtrack, both complete and in highlights, is available on CD from Teldec and joins the short list of choice recordings of this much-recorded opera.

True, Mehta's conducting is not the most elegant, and the singers are not always careful of Verdi's tempo indications or even his notes. No matter. This is one "Traviata" that feels alive, rings true and will touch the heart deeply.

Verdi's music does that, of course. But this is a particularly intimate version of a work that, for all its grand operatic trappings, is just a tale of three people. Steadycams deployed with fluid speed, intense acting and downright reckless singing add up to high drama. From the first shot of Cura's Alfredo at a window before the party in Act 1, right through his impulsive return to Paris in Act 2 and the devastating finale, the effect of this film is up close and very personal.

The locations help. Perhaps using Marie Antoinette's own cottage at Versailles borders on the silly -- Violetta did well for herself as a fashionable courtesan, but surely not this well -- yet the settings are never less than gorgeous. And the use of what is now the Italian Embassy in Paris for the opening party and of a small apartment within earshot of the bells of Notre Dame for the final act was inspired.

Most inspired of all, however, was the casting. Gvazava, singing Violetta for the first time, is innocent of artifice and disarmingly gentle. She shies away from the traditional E-flat at the close of "Sempre libera," but her performance is in every other way both fearless and natural. Her "Dite alla giovine," to cite one example among many, reveals more about Violetta's staggering sacrifice in a few notes than many more seasoned singers have in the whole opera.

It helps in that scene that her Germont is Panerai, who is at least as touching here as he was 30 years ago when he first recorded the role opposite Beverly Sills. If anything, the vulnerability in the baritone's voice now only reminds one of the humanity of Alfredo's father and the impossible choices he and Violetta make in the center of the tragedy.

As Alfredo, Cura proves again that there is no more exciting young tenor on the scene today. His dashing looks and heroic timbre, the impulsive thrust of his singing and his attention to words come together in a complex portrait of a man caught in a maelstrom of emotion.

There are some odd musical choices. We get only half of Alfredo's Act 2 cabaletta, and there are similar cuts elsewhere that used to be standard but have no excuse anymore. Still, what remains is ravishing. And it works. Lucky viewers seeing "Traviata" for the first time may well fall in love with opera because of Gvazava, Cura and Panerai. Those already captivated by Verdi's genius will marvel at this great new chapter in a glorious tradition.



A 'Traviata' Roams Paris, Partaking of Its Rhythms

New York Times

Alan Riding

June 6, 2000

In a fantasy world of opera where plots frequently strain credulity, ''La Traviata'' is unusually realistic. Based on a true story, it was Verdi's only contemporary opera, one inspired by events and attitudes of his time. In fact, even today, it requires no great leap of imagination for audiences to accept that the tragic love of Violetta Valery and Alfredo Germont is unfolding in and around mid-19th-century Paris, and not on stage.

So why not present it, live and in color, in Paris?

This weekend an Italian production team did just that, with an ultrarealistic version of ''La Traviata'' set in four different Parisian locations and broadcast live or slightly delayed in 125 countries (it will be rebroadcast by PBS in the United States in late summer, provisionally on Aug. 27). The lush production went off with barely a glitch, with Violetta's poignant demise timed to coincide with the bells of Notre Dame Cathedral chiming at midnight Sunday.

The hidden star of the $25 million production was of course technology, but it served to enhance the show. The Russian soprano Eteri Gvazava, singing her first ''Traviata,'' was a beautiful and moving Violetta, while the Argentine tenor Jose Cura was a convincing Alfredo and the Italian baritone Rolando Panerai a forceful Giorgio Germont. The National Symphony Orchestra of the RAI, the Italian television network, was conducted by Zubin Mehta.

Eight years ago the same production team, led by Andrea Andermann, presented a similar version of ''Tosca,'' broadcast at the time and from the places established by Puccini, with Catherine Malfitano and Placido Domingo in the lead roles. With ''La Traviata'' the locations are less specific than those of ''Tosca'' in Rome, yet as the Paris opera, it seemed like an obvious candidate for a new audiovisual adventure.

To place the production even more firmly in Paris, Mr. Andermann and his director, Giuseppe Patroni Griffi, set it in the Paris of the Universal Exhibition of 1900 and included live views of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower, shot from a boat traveling down the Seine. And for the locations of the four main scenes, they again picked places that reinforced the link to Paris, albeit allowing time for performers to change costumes and move between the scenes.

For Act I, Violetta's party, where she first meets Alfredo, was held on Saturday evening in the Hotel Boisgelin, the 18th-century Left Bank mansion that is now the residence of the Italian ambassador to Paris. For Act II, the hamlet built for Marie-Antoinette in the park at Versailles became the country retreat of Violetta and Alfredo on Sunday noon. The finale of Act II, Flora's party, where the lovers break up, took place on Sunday evening in the Petit Palais in Paris, itself built for the Universal Exhibition. And for Act III, which began at 11.30 p.m. on Sunday, the ailing Violetta's apartment was on the Ile St.-Louis, with a view of Notre Dame.

The technical challenge was to link these different locations to the Salle Wagram, where Mr. Mehta was leading the RAI orchestra. Each performer, including a large chorus in two scenes, was equipped with two tiny radio microphones and could follow the conductor's beat on television monitors hidden around each location. In place of a score Mr. Mehta had a television monitor showing the performance as well as an earpiece carrying their voices.

The recording itself posed other challenges. With television broadcasts of theater opera productions, the cameras stay offstage; with other film versions of opera, like Franco Zefferelli's own ''Traviata,'' the music was prerecorded and the scenes shot in takes like a movie. Here the cameras had to move constantly among the singers without ever being seen by another camera.

Perhaps the great technical breakthrough this weekend, then, was the daring use of four Steadycams, large cameras strapped to the body of the operator that provided both visual fluidity and stunning close-ups. In Act II they followed Violetta and Giorgio through fields, while in Act III Garett Brown, the Englishman who invented the Steadycam for Stanley Kubrick's film ''The Shining,'' caught the drama of Violetta's reunion with Alfredo and subsequent death in one uninterrupted 28-minute take.

''In 'Tosca,' we were just amateurs,'' said Vittorio Storaro, the Oscar-winning cinematographer. ''Now the camera is even freer because the Steadycam can be used emotionally. The Steadycam is now part of the style.'' Mr. Andermann put it even more succinctly: ''It's like a work for solo, orchestra and Steadycam.''

After years of preparation and weeks of rehearsal, however, a final headache was posed by the forecast of stormy weather. And indeed, heavy rain both preceded and followed three of the scenes. But the only significant glitch was a brief blackout during Act I when Ms. Gvazava entered the Left Bank mansion's garden and a camera faltered.

''It lasted three seconds, but it felt like three days,'' Mr. Andermann said. ''We had five seconds to decide whether to run the backup tape. But then it came back on again. Still, it was a bit like when Placido Domingo fell in the first act of 'Tosca.' It proved it was going out live.''

For the video version, which will be seen in the United States, the blackout will be replaced for a few seconds by the backup version recorded during the final dress rehearsal. What the American audience will see, though, is Mr. Andermann's proudest ''discovery,'' the tall Siberian-born soprano whom he picked from among hundreds auditioned to be his Violetta.

''Eteri was supposed to be the surprise, and she is the surprise,'' he said. ''I kept her out of contact with the world for six months, three months learning Italian in Rome, three months during rehearsals. I found her in a small opera company in Germany. She knew nothing about film or television. No one had heard of her. Now I think she will have a marvelous career. She's a natural tragedienne, all that deepness of Russian soul, but she also showed she is a natural comedienne.''


Island of Bliss

Classical Music Guide

Alan Rich


 Only a couple of choked phrases from under Zubin Mehta¹s baton, and you know that in PBS' new video of La Traviata, which turns up Sunday night on KCET, the eloquent Verdian breath is going to be in short supply. This is another of those gadgety productions, like the Roman travelogue in the PBS Tosca of a couple of years ago or the Aïda filmed at the Pyramids. This one takes place all over Paris: four scenes, four venues.

I can't wait for a Fidelio on Alcatraz. Heroine and father-in-law do their big scene while chasing each other through the woods around Versailles; the party scenes are so populated with ephebes that you expect Oscar and Bosie to show up in matching bath towels.

Argentinian tenor José Cura is the splendid Alfredo, a role ideal for the smooth, elegant middle of his voice. Russia¹s Eteri Gvazava, the Violetta, comes in under the pitch now and then, but I like the somewhat dark quality in her voice that works particularly well in her scenes with the elder Germont. He, alas, is the veteran Italian baritone Rolando Panerai, now 76, given to eyeball rolling to cover the notes he no longer commands. His Act-Two cabaletta has been excised, the better part of wisdom in this case. One of the two verses of Alfredo's often-cut "Oh mio rimorso" has been left in, filmed with the camera about two inches from his nose. Has it never occurred to camera folk that the human mouth while singing is seldom if ever a thing of beauty?



Note:  This is a machine-based translation.  We offer it only a a general guide but it should not be considered definitive.

A “Traviata” that will Become a Milestone

Le Parisien

Agnès Dalbard

12 June 2000


EVE RUGGIERI devotes his entire magazine “Musiques au coeur” (on France Musiques) to La Traviata, Verdi's most popular and most frequently performed opera. Tonight we will see Giuseppe Patroni Griffi's film, which was shot live in Paris on June 3. This version, conducted by Zubin Metha, revealed the Russian soprano Eteri Gvazava in the role of Violetta and confirmed the first place status of Argentinean tenor José Cura.

Hymn to passion

Do not miss this RAI film which blew up opera audience records on France 3; 1,321,000 watched the first act at the Italian Embassy on Saturday June 3rd, with 1,374,000 watching the following evening for Flora’s party (Act III) at the Petit Palais. Never before has a retransmission offered so many emotions for the eye and the ear. In this hymn to passion, the symbiosis between beauty and youth is perfect. Ravishing, Eteri Gvazava embodies an overwhelming Violetta with a voice to die for. An excellent actor and singer, José Cura has the presence of a Placido Domingo, the vocal finesse of a José Carréras. 





















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José Cura on Wikipedia.  

Want to know more about José Cura?  Check out his Wikipedia page (click on the photo and find out such neat things as.....

  • Full name:  José Luis Victor Cura Gómez
  • First starring role:  Bibalo's Signorina Julia, Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi, Trieste, Italy, 1993
  • First performance in US:  Giordano's Fedora, Chicago Lyric, USA, 1994



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About | Awards and Honors | José Cura | Cover Photos | Calendar | Concerts - Early | Concerts | Discography | Guest Artist - Budapest | Guest Artist - Prague | Guest Artist - Sinfonia Varsovia | Media | Opera Work | Opera Work 2 | Photos | Press

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