seems churlish to be too critical of a production of an opera that
attracted a capacity audience who demanded a large number of curtain
calls from the leading players. La traviata is a perennial favourite
and deservedly so - it is packed with stirring melodies, memorable
characters and a heart-breaking storyline.
you may ask, was I left somewhat cold by the experience?
sets and costumes were all sumptuous, perfect for the period. The
orchestra were in superb form - delicate and chamber-like at times
and, at others, filling the theatre with power and emotion.
chorus demonstrated their usual flair, control and character - as
it to be expected by Glyndebourne. The minor roles were taken appropriately
- never attempting to steal the scenes.
two leading men were in very strong form. Edgaras Montvidas, as
Alfredo, has a very honeyed tenor sound. He was able to rise to
the climaxes without distorting his sound and created the right
blend of ardent romanticism and youthful arrogance. David Kempster
as Germont was outstanding vocally. He took time to reach his prime
- but once there, he dominated his scenes with an even, rich, warm
tone that was totally right for the role.
production of La traviata, hangs on the performance of the Violetta.
There is no doubt that Majella Cullagh has the voice to tackle this
challenging role. She has the coloratura for the first Act, the
lyricism for the second and the drama for the third.
concern is that her acting did not always match her vocal presence.
For example she spent the first act standing at the front of the
stage, her body slightly angled to the audience, looking coquettishly
out at the audience. This is a very old fashioned way of performing
in these more naturalistic times.
it did not detract from her achievement - it was an outstanding
feat of singing.
the number of people who left the theatre dabbing away genuine tears,
I am certain that Verdi was very well served by this traditional
production. And who am I to go against that?