Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Reviews

Budapest Festival Orchestra: a scintillating Bluebeard

Ravi Shankar’s posthumous opera Sukanya drew a full house to the Royal Festival Hall last Friday but the arrival of the Budapest Festival Orchestra under their founder Iván Fischer seemed to have less appeal to Londoners - which was disappointing as the absolute commitment of Fischer and his musicians to the Hungarian programme that they presented was equalled in intensity by the blazing richness of the BFO’s playing.

Elizabeth Llewellyn: Investec Opera Holland Park stages Puccini's La Rondine

It’s six or so years ago since soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn appeared as an exciting and highly acclaimed new voice on the UK operatic stage, with critics praising her ‘ravishing account’ (The Stage) of Mozart’s Countess in Investec Opera Holland Park’s 2011 Le nozze di Figaro in which ‘Porgi, amor’ was a ‘highlight of the evening’.

Sukanya: Ravi Shankar's posthumous opera

What links Franz Xaver Süssmayr, Brian Newbould and Anthony Payne? A hypothetical question for University Challenge contestants elicits the response that they all ‘completed’ composer’s last words: Mozart’s Requiem, Schubert’s Symphony No.8 in B minor (the Unfinished) and Edward Elgar’s Third Symphony, respectively.

Cavalli's Hipermestra at Glyndebourne

‘Make war not love’, might be a fitting subtitle for Francesco Cavalli’s opera Hipermestra in which the eponymous princess chooses matrimonial loyalty over filial duty and so triggers a war which brings about the destruction of Argos and the deaths of its inhabitants.

Dougie Boyd, Artistic Director of Garsington Opera: in conversation

One year ago, tens of millions of Britons voted for isolation rather than for cooperation, but Douglas (Dougie) Boyd, Artistic Director of Garsington Opera, is an energetic one-man counterforce with a dynamic conviction that art and culture are strengthened by participation and collaboration; values which, alongside excellence and a spirit of adventure, have seen Garsington Opera acquire increasing renown and esteem on the international stage during his tenure, since 2012.

I Fagiolini's Orfeo: London Festival of Baroque Music

This year’s London Festival of Baroque Music is titled Baroque at the Edge and celebrates Monteverdi’s 450th birthday and the 250th anniversary of Telemann’s death. Monteverdi and Telemann do in some ways represent the ‘edges’ of the Baroque, their music signalling a transition from Renaissance to Baroque and from Baroque to Classical respectively, though as this performance of Monteverdi’s Orfeo by I Fagiolini and The English Cornett & Sackbutt Ensemble confirmed such boundaries are blurred and frequently broken.

The English Concert: a marvellous Ariodante at the Barbican Hall

I’ve been thinking about jealousy a lot of late, as I put the finishing touches to a programme article for Bampton Classical Opera’s summer production of Salieri’s La scuola de' gelosi. In placing the green-eyed monster centre-stage, Handel’s Ariodante surely rivals Shakespeare’s Othello in dramatic clarity and concision, as this terrifically animated and musically intense performance by The English Concert at the Barbican Hall confirmed.

Riel Deal in Toronto

With its new production of Harry Somers’ Louis Riel, Canadian Opera Company has covered itself in resplendent glory.

Concert Introduces Fine Dramatic Tenor

On May 4, 2017, Los Angeles Opera presented a concert starring Russian soprano Anna Netrebko and her husband, Azerbaijani tenor Yusif Eyvazev. Led by Italian conductor Jader Bignamini, members of the orchestra showed their abilities, too, with a variety of instrumental selections played between the singers’ arias and duets.

COC: Tosca’s Cautious Leap

Considering the high caliber of the amassed talent, Canadian Opera Company’s Tosca is a curiously muted affair.

Matthias Goerne - late Schumann songs, revealed

Matthias Goerne Schumann Lieder, with Markus Hinterhäuser, a new recording from Harmonia Mundi. Singers, especially baritones, often come into their prime as they approach 50, and Goerne, who has been a star since his 20's is now formidably impressive. The colours in his voice have matured, with even greater richness and depth than before.

Schubert's 'swan-song': Ian Bostridge at the Wigmore Hall

No song in this wonderful performance by Ian Bostridge and Lars Vogt at the Wigmore Hall epitomised more powerfully, and astonishingly, what a remarkable lieder singer Bostridge is, than Schubert’s Rellstab setting, ‘In der Ferne’ (In the distance).

Baritone Josep-Ramon Olivé wins the 2017 Guildhall School Gold Medal

The Guildhall School of Music and Drama has announced baritone Josep-Ramon Olivé as the winner of this year’s Gold Medal, the School’s most prestigious prize for outstanding soloists. The prize is awarded to singers and instrumentalists in alternate years and this year was the turn of the singers.

Stunning power and presence from Lise Davidsen

For Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen this has been an exciting season, one which has seen her make several role and house debuts in Europe and beyond, including Agathe (Der Freischutz) at Opernhaus Zürich, Santuzza (Cavalleria Rusticana) Norwegian National Opera and, just last month, Isabella (Liebesverbot) at Teatro Colón. This Rosenblatt Recital brought her to the Wigmore Hall for her UK recital debut and if the stunning power, shining colour and absolute ease that she demonstrated in a well-chosen programme of song and opera are anything to judge by, Glyndebourne audiences are in for a tremendous treat this summer, when Davidsen appears in the title role of Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos.

LALO and COQUARD: La Jacquerie

La Jacquerie—here recorded for the first time—proves to be a wonderful opera, bringing delight upon delight.

Three Rossini Operas Serias

Rossini’s serious operas once dominated opera houses across the Western world. In their librettos, the great French author Stendahl—then a diplomat in Italy and the composer’s first biographer—saw a post-Napoleonic “martial vigor” that could spark a liberal revolution. In their vocal and instrumental innovations, he discerned a similar revolution in music.

Urania Remasters Marriage of Figaro

Good news for lovers of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro: the famous Living Stereo recording, a co-production of RCA Victor and English Decca, is now available again, well remastered, on Urania.

Tosca: Stark Drama at the Chandler Pavilion

On Thursday evening April 27, 2017, Los Angeles Opera presented a revival of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. In 2013, director John Caird had given Angelinos a production that made Tosca a full-blooded, intense drama as well as a most popular aria-studded opera. His Floria was a dove among hawks.

Glyndebourne Festival 2018 programme announced

The UK’s first professional production of Samuel Barber’s Pulitzer prize-winning opera Vanessa takes place at Glyndebourne Festival 2018. One of the great American operas, Vanessa was hailed as a triumph at its premiere in 1958 but quickly fell out of the repertoire and has only been staged intermittently since.

Major new international singing competition launched by Glyndebourne

The Glyndebourne Opera Cup - the international competition for opera singers is designed to discover and spotlight the best young singers from around the world, offering a top prize of £15,000 and a platform for launching an international opera career.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Reviews

Adriano Graziani as Alfredo and Caitlin Lynch as Violetta in the final scene. [Photo by Tim Trumble]
04 Mar 2014

Arizona Opera Presents La Traviata as Violetta’s Dream

Nashville Opera Artistic Director John Hoomes set the opera as Violetta’s dying dream, so colors and other aspects of the backgrounds were symbolic and bright.

Arizona Opera Presents La Traviata as Violetta’s Dream

A review by Maria Nockin

Above: Adriano Graziani as Alfredo and Caitlin Lynch as Violetta in the final scene.

Photos by Tim Trumble

 

She remembered the party at which she first met Alfredo as a study in shades of red. The scene at her country home was all in light neutrals while Flora’s party was held amongst dark shades that portended darker events.

The libretto for Verdi’s La traviata is based on the life of Alphonsine Rose Plessis, a French “call girl” who changed her name to Marie and mixed with upper class men in the early years of the nineteenth century. Verdi first called the opera Violetta after the name he and librettist Francesco Maria Piave gave the title character, but the more disparaging term Traviata or fallen woman better fit the mindset of the time. Piave based the libretto on the text of the play, La dame aux Camélias. The play grew out of a novel by Alexandre Dumas, fils, who had actually known the woman. Franz Liszt knew her, too, as did many artists of the time, because she was well read and a good conversationalist.

In truth, Marie had little schooling, but combined physical beauty with a natural refinement. An English gentleman recalling her said, "Her inbred tact and instinctive delicacy compensated for a totally inadequate education. Whatever she recognized as admirable in her friends she strove to master herself, so that her natural appeal was enhanced by the flower of her intelligence." She died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-three. After a lavish funeral at the church of La Madeleine, her possessions were auctioned off, her debts were paid, and her sister Delphine inherited enough money to open a modest shop.

Traviata_AZ_2014_01.gifMark Walters as Germont asks Caitlin Lynch as Violetta to leave Alfredo.

It is up to the stage director to decide which of the various aspects of this young woman’s life to show. Nashville Opera Artistic Director John Hoomes set the opera as Violetta’s dying dream, so colors and other aspects of design were symbolic and bright. She remembered the party at which she first met Alfredo as a study in shades of red. The scene at her country home was all in light neutrals while Flora’s party was held amongst dark shades that portended darker events. Hoomes’ production has also been seen at Opera Colorado and Boston Lyric Opera.

Soprano Caitlin Lynch, familiar to the Arizona Opera audience because she had already sung two Mozart heroines with the company, exhibited her ability to sing precise and accurate coloratura in the first act of La traviata. Although the role was new to her, she went on to imbue the more lyrical later acts with floods of gorgeous tone, while her interpretation of the character brought out the handkerchiefs in the scene with the elder Germont and at the end. Tenor Adriano Graziani was a handsome Alfredo whose interpretation was effective, but he had occasional problems staying in tune. Baritone Mark Walters had no such difficulty. His Germont was robust and as judgmental as only a nineteenth century self-righteous bourgeois gentleman could be. Best of all, he sang with burnished unwavering tones.

David Margulis was a jack-of-all-trades in this performance. He sang, he danced, and he played the part of “El Toro” in a faux bullfight. A second year member of the Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio, he will probably be a valuable character tenor in future years. Chris Carr was an impressive Baron Douphol and a plausible threat to Alfredo. As Flora, Beth Lytwynec was quite the dominatrix in her half skirt over pants and boots. Stefan Gordon sang the Marquis d’Obigny with a polished sound. Calvin Griffin was a sonorous Doctor and Andrea Shokery a submissive Annina. Conductor Steven White led a brisk reading of Verdi’s score with a huge dynamic range. When necessary, he held the orchestral sound down to allow the artists on stage to produce their tones with ease and he always allowed them any necessary leeway.

Maria Nockin


Cast and production information:

Violetta Valéry, Caitlin Lynch; Alfredo Germont, Adriano Graziani; Giorgio Germont, Mark Walters; Gastone, David Margulis1; Baron Duphol, Chris Carr1; Marchese d’Obigny, Stefan Gordon1; Dr. Grenvil, Calvin Griffin1; Flora Bervoix, Beth Lytwynnec1; Annina, Andrea Shokery1; Giuseppe, Francisco Renteria; Messenger, Earl Hazell; Flora’s Servant, Greg Guenther; Conductor, Steven White; Director, John Hoomes; Chorus Master, Henri Venanzi; Choreographer, Michele Ceballos Michot; Lighting Designer, Douglas Provost.

1Marion Roose Pullin Studio Artist

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):