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Nadine Sierra’s Violetta within the Met’s La traviata is as outstanding as her current Lucia – Seen and Heard Worldwide

United States The Met: Reside in HD – Verdi, La traviata: Soloists, Refrain and Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera, New York / Daniele Callegari (conductor). Broadcast stay to Cineworld Basildon, Essex, 5.11.2022. (JPr)

The opening of Michael Mayer’s La traviata © Marty Sohl/Met Opera

Manufacturing – Michael Mayer
Revival Stage director – Sarah Ina Meyers
Set designer – Christine Jones
Costume designer – Susan Hilferty
Lighting designer – Kevin Adams
Choreographer – Lorin Latarro

Violetta Valéry – Nadine Sierra
Alfredo Germont – Stephen Costello
Giorgio Germont – Luca Salsi
Flora – Siphokazi Molteno
Gastone – Jonah Hoskins
Baron Douphol – Brian Main
Marquis D’Obigny – Jeongcheol Cha
Dr Grenvil – Paul Corona
Annina – Eve Gigliotti
Giuseppe – Patrick Miller
Messenger – Jonathan Scott
Germont’s daughter – Allegra Herman

Reside in HD director – Gary Halvorson
Reside in HD host – Renée Fleming

Although I’ll revisit a few of my evaluate once I noticed Michael Mayer’s La traviata when it was first placed on in 2018, I’ve altered the preliminary (somewhat low) opinion I had of it then. Clearly, the units and costumes stay fixed, however it’s potential that in its subsequent main 2020 revival or for this one there have been modifications within the Personregie as a result of the forged acted with such dramatic credibility.

La traviata is the near-perfect opera car for 3 singing ‘stars’ – which it undoubtedly will get right here in Nadine Sierra, Stephen Costello and Luca Salsi – and if given them audiences will come repeatedly to listen to it. Typically opera firms get the urge to experiment however usually want a La traviata – as a lot as La bohème – that may return 12 months after 12 months as a field workplace banker. Verdi wrote his best operas in two durations of his life – the center years produced RigolettoIl trovatore and La traviata, and his final ones introduced us AidaOtello and Falstaff. He was on the top of his powers when he composed La traviata for Teatro La Fenice, Venice, in 1853 and the dramatic construction of the opera is nearly excellent with few of the longueurs a few of his works can have. Act I in fact, recounts the consumptive courtesan Violetta’s attraction for the penniless aristocrat Alfredo Germont; Act II reveals us the confrontation between Violetta and Alfredo’s father who calls for she surrender the scandalous liaison together with his son; adopted by Alfredo denouncing Violetta at Flora’s occasion – that’s initially held up by some gypsies and bullfighting nonsense – and the final act has their reconciliation earlier than Violetta’s unhappy demise from TB (kudos right here for Nadine Sierra’s efficient wheezing).

I initially accused this La traviata of being ‘Disneyfied’ and certainly Mayer has introduced one thing of Broadway to it and Christine Jones’s fundamental single set does reminds you of a Disney musical, Magnificence and the Beast maybe? I admire how Violetta lives in splendidly ornate and gilded environment, part-salon and part-bedroom, worthy of Versailles and everybody we see is sumptuously costumed. A big mattress is ever-present centrally throughout the three acts and throughout the Prelude (which pays homage to that for Wagner’s Lohengrin) we see Violetta’s soul rising from her deathbed as snow gently falls: we’re supposed to grasp what we subsequently see is her life ‘flashing earlier than her eyes’. On this Reside in HD broadcast filled with attention-grabbing interviews and backstage insights we heard from set designer Jones and costume designer Susan Hilferty how throughout Mayer’s manufacturing we seen 4 seasons with costumes and matching lighting (from Kevin Adams). There’s the winter of her demise (Act III), spring proven by the snow turning into falling petals for the primary act and through Act II there’s summer season for the scene with Alfredo’s father and autumn for Flora’s occasion. The mattress is pivotal to what we see and, for example, within the second act Violetta is sleeping in it as Alfredo – who’s normally proven alone – sings ‘De’ miei bollenti spiriti’. Even within the first act Baron Douphol (Brian Main) has lounged suggestively on it earlier than being dismissed by Violetta.

This time the gymnastic Act II gypsies and matadors made sense and I may perceive it now – within the context of Mayer’s Konzept of Violetta reliving her previous life in spirit – because the illustration of the Latin American Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Useless). The foremost novelty the director brings to an in any other case pretty conventional La traviata is when Alfredo’s strait-laced father, Germont, presents the younger daughter we hear sung about to Violetta within the second act. Her engagement has been tainted by her brother’s affiliation with somebody with such a doubtful fame. The position right here of the daughter – not present in Verdi’s authentic libretto – is a silent one and he or she may even ‘hang-out’ Violetta’s demise within the ultimate act.

Nadine Sierra (Violetta) © Marty Sohl/Met Opera

Nadine Sierra is nearly as outstanding offstage as on and is remarkably personable when interviewed although I used to be stunned when she spoke to Renée Fleming – a high quality Violetta herself – that she didn’t recommend she was one in every of her ‘inspirations’ within the position and solely named Italian soprano Mariella Devia. Even accepting I used to be listening by means of cinema loudspeakers; Sierra’s Violetta (a job debut) was as outstanding as her current Lucia on the Met (evaluate right here). We continuously heard stated how the soprano singing Violetta wants three voices, coloratura (Act I), extra lyrical (Act II) and extra dramatic and expressive (Act III); that’s what Sierra’s one voice is able to and there aren’t any vocal gear modifications. Her complete efficiency was a spotlight from as suitably glowing ‘È strano! … Ah, fors’è lui’ and ‘Sempre libera’ (culminating within the non-compulsory E-flat) to her deeply affecting farewell (‘Gran Dio!…morir sì giovane’).

Stephen Costello just isn’t that a lot older than Sierra however regarded barely too outdated for Alfredo. He has a darkish, barely baritonal tenor, although with some interesting intrinsic magnificence and appropriate spinto energy. To his credit score Costello tried to be as youthfully impetuousness and smoulderingly jealous as Alfredo must be, and whereas I used to be not sure of the chemistry between him and Sierra’s Violetta firstly, I used to be extra satisfied by the top of the opera. As his father Germont, Luca Salsi was an imposing presence on stage and regardless of his stentorian baritone voice his ‘Di Provenza il mar’ sounded notably heartfelt. Along with his father so fast to anger and threatening to hit Alfredo one fearful if there had been violence in his upbringing.

The great Met refrain performed a spirited half of their two occasion scenes and this La traviata was forged from power with an ensemble profiting from even the smallest roles; notably catching the attention and ear have been Siphokazi Molteno’s Flora, Brian Main’s Baron and Eve Gigliotti’s Annina. Daniele Callegari performed with sensitivity, authority, ardour and a high quality sense for retaining the drama transferring ahead, while coaxing a sometimes first-class account of Verdi’s heart-rending rating from the Met Orchestra.

Jim Pritchard



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