This production seemed to encapsulate all that is in Verdi’s music with elegant overtures and romantic tunes that stick to your heart and your memory. This production of La Traviata was very, very, Verdi.
Company: Opera and Ballet International
Production: La Traviata
Location: Buxton Opera House
The Concept: Based on the Alexander Dumas (the younger one) novel La Dame aux Camelias, which is loosely derived from Dumas’ real life affair with courtesan Alphonsine Plessis – La Traviata is about courtesan, Violetta who soon finds the ardent admiration of Alfredo who both worries for her ailing health and her life as a courtesan. Alfredo takes Violetta away from her life and the two love birds build an unsustainable nest together.
Eventually Violetta decides to return to the life as a courtesan to ease the financial burden but also parts ways with Alfredo at the request of his father who feels the scandalous relationship will affect his daughter’s chances at a well-placed marriage. Alfredo feels scorned but eventually realizes Violetta’s actions were done out of love for him and on her death bed all is resolved. Of course, it is an opera so love, heartache and death are imminent but this doesn’t stop us from enjoying the journey and being teary-eyed at the end.
The Successes: Alyona Kistenyova as Violetta was incredible. You could see she put her heart and soul into her performance and was remarkably on point with her vocals. It was a delight to see her in action and seemingly go from strength to strength. Her efforts were respected by the entire audience. Vitalii Liskovetskyi really seemed to do a fantastic job of keeping up with Kistenyova in his performance as Alfredo. The two together made some beautiful duets. Additionally, Iurie Gisca as Alfredo’s father deserves a nod for his excellent performance at the start of Act 2, Scene 1.
Overall, the production value was incredibly good. The sets were beautiful and looked as though they were actually built for the Buxton Opera House by seemingly blending in with the décor from stage to venue and back again. Costumes were equally as fantastical and none more than Violetta who wore some stunning ensembles. My favourite was a white dress with red poppies scattered around it and akin to something Scarlett ‘O Hara would have worn.
The Setbacks: Not many to mention but the setbacks did seem to be ever-present, the subtitles were too high so that most of the audience could see them but about twenty percent couldn’t who were in the stalls and the view was obstructed by the overhang of the dress circle seating. I was one of those who visually had no subtitles and was not too disappointed as I tend to see opera for the emotional value.
Alfredo’s wig was out-of-place and appeared to be a noticeable distraction throughout.
The last setback for me would be the chemistry between Kistenyova and Liskovetskyi, which didn’t appear to be much. They sang beautifully together but were not convincing in their affections for each other.
In my opinion, these are all minor setbacks that can be easily remedied and this is easily the best Opera production I have seen at the Buxton Opera House.
Final Thoughts: The story was beautifully told with incredibly talented performers amongst a high production value. This production seemed to encapsulate all that is in Verdi’s music with elegant overtures and romantic tunes that stick to your heart and your memory. This production of La Traviata was very, very, Verdi.