Among the many paradoxes of Carlos Kleiber's not-particularly-happy life -- chief among them the horrible, crippling inferiority complex towards a conductor, his father, whose talent was actually inferior to Carlos's -- is that the only Traviata he recorded officially -- with Cotrubas as Violetta -- is also his worst. It's by far his worst record, and it's a pretty bad Traviata even compared to other not-so-stellar versions by other conductors.
Luckily, there have always been alternate versions, bewtleg recordings of Traviata conducted by CK that not only don't suXor but are actually beautiful, Kleiberian wonders of phrasing and clarity.
Among them -- the P2P networks (OperaShare too) are lousy with'em, may Zeus bless'em -- there's this delicious 1985 version @ Munich, Gruberova/Shicoff rawking the haus, Carlos conducting.
Now, is tonight's Traviata going to be this good? We wish, and even if we so don't carry the Maazel-Hata-Society card, we doubt it.
But if Angela's voice doesn't sound as small as it apparently did during rehearsals (la Scala is a huge theatre esp. after the renovations that enlarged the backstage area ginormously, and maybe she wasn't completely singing in voce to save her vocal chords for the big night, who knows) and nobody boos her -- the loggionisti don't seem to have a beef with her, just with her hubby, but you never know -- OC should be in for a nice night.
We'll report back, deep in the Milanese night (late afternoon for you East Coast types, teatime in San Francisco).