I have seen the Zefirelli video a number of times because there is so much
wonderful stuff in it but I also get frustrated by the serious cuts in the
Germont/Violetta scene--simply unjustifiable on either musical or dramatic
grounds--and by that last act.
Violetta DOES die alone in that film and I believe the point Zefirelli is
trying to make is that she has been alone for the entire act, hallucinating
the arrival of Alfredo and Germont, pere. This would be a logical outgrowth
of the staging of the first prelude where Violetta walks ghost-like through
her apartment, and briefly captivating the young boy who works for the auction-
eer sets off her memory of the entire story. In point of fact, the whole
opera then becomes a flashback. You may or may not like it but I think it
hangs together in cinematic terms.
HOWEVER, Stratas was NOT alone in the recording studio whan the final scene
was recorded. I taped my copy off BRAVO and the voices of the other four
characters are clearly audible--if highly suppressed--singing the final lines
of the opera. I think the sound recording was made first, as would be
logical in such a project, and then Zefirelli had to have the voices erased
from several of the tracks in order to present his interpretation. However,
a very ghostly image of the sound remains in the sound track and you can
hear it if you turn the volume up and listen carefully--Domingo, MacNeil, et
al exclaiming over Violetta's death. Please, check this out, those of you
who have a copy of the video--I can't believe mine is the only copy where this
effect is apparant.