The clatter of information was overwhelmed by soaring bel canto, Verdi’s domestic tragedy destroyed by director Simon Stone, resurrected by conductor Michele Mariotti, a tour de force for South African soprano Pretty Yende.
There is esoteric opera — 16,500 spectators at this year’s Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, and there is pop opera — upwards of 500,000 spectators for the opera festival at the Arena di Verona, one quarter of them for an over-the-top new production of La traviata, designed and directed by Franco Zeffirelli.
A beautifully sung Traviata in British stage director John Copley’s 1987 production, begging the question is this grand old (30 years) production the SFO mise en scËne for all times.
If you don’t have the means to get to the Rossini festival in Pesaro, you would do just as well to come to Indianola, Iowa, where Des Moines Metro Opera festival has devised a heady production of Le Comte Ory that is as long on belly laughs as it is on musical fireworks.
It took only a couple of years for Il trovatore and Rigoletto to make it from Italy to the OpÈra de Marseille, but it took La traviata (Venice, 1853) sixteen years (Marseille, 1869).
La Traviata has hit the stage at San Francisco Opera every three to five years (even annually in some periods) since 1924. Surprises have been rare.
Richard Eyre’s 1994 staging of Verdi’s La Traviata may have been revived many times, but this production reveals striking new depths of interpretation.
Piotr Beczala, the Polish lyric tenor, stars in the current La Traviata at the Royal Opera House, London.
One way of thinking about La Traviata is to consider it as a portrayal of bubble wealth that makes artistic capital from the shimmering, rainbow hues of the surface rather than showing any interest in what sustains the bubble.
An appreciation of La traviata plus La clemenza di Tito and Le Nez/The Nose at the Aix-en-Provence Festival.