A beautiful opera sung by a fantastic cast. La Traviata is quite a heavy one though, so I’m not sure I would want to see it again and again!
From the first notes of the overture we know that this will tell a tale of sweet tragedy. And music doesn’t lie- La Traviata is exactly that tale of unfortunate souls bound together in a romantic love that ends in tragedy all too soon. But it is a beautiful tale all along the way, even its heartbreaking finale.
The opera is known for originating some of our most loved modern stories- including Pretty Woman and Moulin Rouge, and it isn’t hard to see why. Even in its theatrical form the opera is rooted in its story and not over the top in execution. In many ways the opera is very much like a film, following the story of characters with whom we are encouraged to empathize with. And empathize we do!
Violetta and Alfredo are believably in love, and as we see their story progress we understand a love that is true and steadfast. Our story moves along quite rapidly, but is detailed in single scenes and conversations, and even though we feel like we have joined their story somewhere in the middle it doesn’t take us long to catch up.
Lorina Gore as Violetta is outstanding. Her soprano rings out, sweet and flirtacous, romantic and impassioned, strained and heartbroken. Lorina makes the incredible notes of her many arias seem all so natural.
Both Alfredo (Rame Lahaj) and his father Giorgio Germont (Jose Carbo) are equally exceptional in their roles. Alfredo is a handsome and steadfast romantic, and has a voice that woos its audience. Lahaj makes efforts to attend his gaze into the audience whilst still making it feel as though it is entirely directed a Violetta, which makes it feel almost as though his declarations are for us both. Giorgio Germont is a loving father who has to make a difficult decision. He could easily be perceived as the “bad guy” here, but his sincerity and remorseful behavior towards Violetta help us understand the pain of his decision. Carbo’s baritone voice is comforting and warm in his role.
The set designs here are exquisite- we move from an extravagant party of wine and velvets, to a beautiful courtyard of falling autumn leaves, to the devious room to an echoingly empty room. The realness of the set is encouraged through the use of great opening windows, which let in that “sunlight” which spills onto the set, and at times there is off stage singing which makes the whole set seem larger than the stage itself.
La Traviata is a very passionately romantic opera, but the tragedy is not in its romance, which makes for a bittersweet end. Although our Violetta dies, she dies in the happiness of her lover’s arms, a final pleasure.