Composer: Giuseppi Verdi
Conductor: David Afkham
Reviewer: Marina Spark
The 2014 Glyndebourne Tour features La Traviata, the well-known, much loved opera that tracks the tragic demise of the beautiful courtesan, Violetta. Glyndebourne’s unrivalled reputation for creating world class opera has stood up to itself in this instance and their production of La Traviata is magnificent.
This classic opera begins with our heroine, Violetta, played by Irina Dubrovskaya, lounging on a bed. An omen of what lies in her not too distant future, this image is poignant and as the opera progresses each scene is opened by it, but with a subtle change to mark her continuing demise. Violetta’s heart is captured by the youthful and adoring Alfredo. What follows is a tale of sacrifice for love and deep tragedy.
Zachary Borichevsky plays the youthful Alfredo with a sensitivity that works very well for Alfredo. His vocal tone is exceptionally easy on the ear and his skill as an opera singer is plain to hear.
Irina Dubrovskaya plays Violetta exceptionally well throughout, instantly flourishing into the character as soon as the opera begins. She has an outstanding vocal range, as is to be expected from a leading lady, and it is a joy to hear her version of some of the classics from this well-known opera. Her characterisation is clearly well thought out and as such she gives an incredibly moving performance.
The rest of the cast is made up of approximately 22 opera singers and dancers. As highly skilled performers they all provide a spectacular chorus and support the main characters with verve and style.
The set, designed by Hildegard Bechtler, is rich and luxurious yet retains a simplicity that creates an uncomplicated view. The set is not crowded with a naturalistic set, but instead key pieces move around to mark out where the action takes place.
The orchestra, conducted by David Afkham, is spectacular. Never missing a note, they play with harmony and the full orchestra attack the score in a truly memorable fashion.
The costumes, also designed by Bechtler, like the set are relatively uncomplicated. The design aspects of this production of La Traviata uphold the musicians and performers as the centrepiece and support them. This highlights the true marvel of opera and shows that excessive sets and costumes are on the whole superfluous.
Glyndebourne’s La Traviata has everything that one could want from an opera; passion, romance and tragedy. It is plain to see why this opera has stood the test of time and is a favourite of the opera loving community, and Glyndebourne have a production to be proud of.
Runs until29th November 2014, then touring | Photo Richard Hubert Smith