REVIEW: Victorian Opera Presents LA TRAVIATA

Lush and lovely revisit to a classic

By Margaret Wieringa

Violetta is a party girl, drinking and dancing and partying her life away in 1870s Paris. She loves being courted by numerous men and doesn’t believe in love – until Alfredo Germont woos her and steals her heart. Moved away from Paris to the countryside, Violetta is approached by Alfredo’s father who convinces her it is in Alfredo’s best interest to end it, and the famous tragedy plays out.

Victorian Opera 2014 - La traviata - © Jeff Bubsy

Directed by Henning Brockhaus and designed by Josef Svoboda, Victorian Opera presents this stunning production that has been acclaimed around the world. The feature that immediately grabbed the audience’s attention is the gigantic mirror that is raised before the performance commences. The backdrops are giant paintings on the floor and are reflected, along with the performers, in the mirror. This effect was magnificent, although it was not so successful during the restrained scenes at the country house, especially as it appeared the actors were climbing on the house at times which became unintentionally humourous. The appearance of doubling the size of the stage with the mirror showed a strong contrast between the decadence of the parties and the nightlife of Paris to the emptiness and loneliness of Violetta in her demise.

The production of La Traviata introduces Australian audiences to soprano Jessica Pratt, who held the audience in her hand every moment she was on stage. We lived her joy and delight and sighed as her fortune changed, and during several sections, audience members were heard called ‘Brava’. While the large social scenes were spectacular down to the tiny detailing on the costumes and the beautiful interactions between the various cast members, it was the duets that took my breath away; at the country house, with Violetta and Alfredo’s father, played with aplomb by Jose Carbo, and later in Violetta’s house between Violetta and Alfredo, played movingly by Alessandro Scotto Di Luzio.

This is an elegant production that is perfect not only for the seasoned opera lover, but also for those who have yet to take the plunge into opera. Brava!

Venue: Her Majesty’s Theatre
Dates: Saturday May 17, Tuesday May 20, Thursday May 22, Saturday May 24, Tuesday May 27, Thursday May 29
Times: 7:30pm
Booking: www.ticketek.com.au or phone 1300 795 012

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