Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread: La Traviata at the Cincinnati Opera

          
   
    Bookmark and Share
  1. #1
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Midwestern U.S.
    Posts
    3,001
    Post Thanks / Like

    La Traviata at the Cincinnati Opera

    https://www.cincinnatiopera.org/

    Springer Auditorium, Music Hall
    14 June 2018

    Opera in three acts with music by Giuseppe Verdi
    Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave after Alexandre Dumas fils

    Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, conductor Renato Balsadonna
    Cincinnati Opera Chorus; Chorus Master Henri Venanzi

    Stage Director: Linda Brovsky
    Set and Costume Designer: Desmond Heeley
    Lighting Director: Thomas C. Hase
    Co-Lighting Designer: Krista Billings
    Wigs and makeup: James Geier
    Choreographer: Johanna Wilt
    Production stage manager: Constance Dubinski Grubbs

    Original production staged by Frank Galatti and owned by Lyric Opera of Chicago

    Cast
    Violetta Valery: Norah Amsellem
    Alfredo Germont: Ji-Min Park
    Giorgio Germont: Youngjoo An
    Flora Bervoix: Reilly Nelson
    Baron Douphol: Thomas Dreeze
    Annina: Nicolette Book
    Marquis d’Obigny: Simon Barrad
    Gaston, Vicomte di Letorières: Martin Bakari
    Dr. Grenvil: James Eder
    Giuseppe: Samuel Smith
    Flora’s servant: Stefan Erik Egerstrom
    A messenger: Michael Young

    The Cincinnati Opera celebrated its return home to the refurbished Music Hall with this outstanding performance of Verdi’s repertoire warhorse. The cast was uniformly excellent, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Opera Chorus were in fine form under the baton of Renato Balsadonna, and Linda Brodsky’s staging of the traditional Lyric Opera of Chicago production never lapsed into the old “stand and deliver” pattern.

    French soprano Norah Amsellem, last heard here as Liù in Turandot (and familiar to many as Micaëla in the video of the ROH Carmen), was a touching Violetta. She offered many moments of beautifully floated, exquisitely controlled soft singing, and she had the high note for the conclusion of “Sempre libera” – though from where I sat (second row, orchestra section) it did have something of a piercing edge to it. Happily, she was allowed to sing both verses of “Addio del passato.” She’s a gifted actress as well and was clearly engaged with her character, interacting credibly with all of those around her. Her Alfredo, South Korean tenor Ji-Min Park, was also returning to Cincinnati, having appeared as Ernesto in Don Pasquale here a few years ago. He has an attractively warm, full lyric tenor with an absolutely secure upper register and clear, ringing high notes. His portrayal really captured Alfredo’s youthful impetuosity and immaturity. At first, Alfredo was almost puppyish in his devotion to Violetta, and then pretty much behaved like a petulant brat in the second act party at Flora’s digs. When he returned to the dying Violetta in Act III, he’d finally done some growing up. The third among the principal soloists was South Korean baritone Youngjoo An, making his Cincinnati Opera debut as Giorgio Germont. His rich voice conveyed both dignity and authority, ideally suited for the self-righteous, upper middle class paterfamilias who gains understanding and compassion after meeting Violetta.

    The high standard set by the principals was maintained by those in smaller roles. Reilly Nelson made a spirited Flora with her attractive mezzo, while Cincinnati Opera Young Artist Nicolette Book lent a pleasing soprano and sympathetic manner to Annina. There were more appealing voices from Simon Barrard (Marquis d’Obigny), Martin Bakari (Gastone di Letorières), and another Cincinnati Opera Young Artist, James Eder (Dr. Grenvil). Baritone Thomas Dreeze had the right dark tone and imperious attitude for Baron Doupol. The comprimario roles of Violetta’s servant Giuseppe, a messenger, and Flora’s servant were capably filled by Samuel Smith, Michael Young, and Stefan Erik Egerstrom, respectively. Mention must also be made of Bella Ureta and Marcus Romeo, the two excellent Cincinnati Ballet soloists who appeared in the scene at Flora’s party.

    Maestro Balsadonna led a nuanced reading of Verdi’s score by the always-reliable CSO and showed sensitivity toward his singers – perhaps not surprising for someone who spent a decade as Chorus Master at the Royal Opera. (His name is listed in the credits on the aforementioned Carmen video.) Only at the conclusion of the first act’s opening scene did he let the orchestra loose to the point that those onstage were practically overwhelmed – and again, some of that may have been due to where I was seated. Since the two-year restoration/renovation of Music Hall, the Springer Auditorium is supposed to have superb acoustics, and the sound in general yesterday evening was very clear. Evidently, the acoustics are so fine that Cincinnati Opera Artistic Director Evans Mirageas noted in his welcoming remarks that the sound of a ringing cell phone will be even more conspicuous now, reminding everyone to silence any electronic devices before the performance got underway. (Following the first intermission, we received another reminder, this one very charmingly given by Norah Amsellem herself via the PA system.)

    Although there have been a number of productions of La Traviata at major houses over the past two decades where the action was updated to the present day, I think this is one of those operas that is really best left in period. So much of the plot is driven by Victorian morality and social mores that simply no longer have any force in contemporary society. Is Violetta’s plight any less moving because she wears a hoop skirt (or in this case, a bustle) instead of a short, slinky cocktail dress? Do modern audiences really have that much of a problem empathizing with anyone who lived in an earlier era and whose tragedy is caused at least in part by conditions prevailing at the time? In any case, leaving events in period didn’t result in any sort of a dull, static treatment in Linda Brovsky’s staging. She really seems to have paid attention to characterization, down to the smallest roles and the choristers. The latter were given some real individuality, with a few of the men engaging in horseplay and a few of the ladies getting tipsy during the two party scenes. No one just stood around or moved around aimlessly, indulging in stock gestures. This was real drama, a real bringing to life of the opera’s story.

    At the curtain, there was a standing ovation for all involved.

  2. #2
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    4,029
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    Although there have been a number of productions of La Traviata at major houses over the past two decades where the action was updated to the present day, I think this is one of those operas that is really best left in period. So much of the plot is driven by Victorian morality and social mores that simply no longer have any force in contemporary society. Is Violetta’s plight any less moving because she wears a hoop skirt (or in this case, a bustle) instead of a short, slinky cocktail dress? Do modern audiences really have that much of a problem empathizing with anyone who lived in an earlier era and whose tragedy is caused at least in part by conditions prevailing at the time? In any case, leaving events in period didn’t result in any sort of a dull, static treatment in Linda Brovsky’s staging. She really seems to have paid attention to characterization, down to the smallest roles and the choristers. The latter were given some real individuality, with a few of the men engaging in horseplay and a few of the ladies getting tipsy during the two party scenes. No one just stood around or moved around aimlessly, indulging in stock gestures. This was real drama, a real bringing to life of the opera’s story.
    A very perceptive review and a good argument for traditional staging.
    " … if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it, and above all become passionate about it."
    Roald Dahl

  3. Likes Soave_Fanciulla liked this post

Similar Threads

  1. Frida at the Cincinnati Opera
    By MAuer in forum Opera House & Theater Performance Reviews
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: June 25th, 2017, 06:45 AM
  2. La Bohème at the Cincinnati Opera
    By MAuer in forum Opera House & Theater Performance Reviews
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: June 16th, 2017, 05:01 PM
  3. Il Trovatore at the Cincinnati Opera
    By MAuer in forum Opera House & Theater Performance Reviews
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: June 20th, 2015, 05:49 PM
  4. Aida at the Cincinnati Opera
    By MAuer in forum Opera House & Theater Performance Reviews
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: July 19th, 2013, 05:08 PM
  5. La Traviata at Cincinnati Opera
    By MAuer in forum Opera House & Theater Performance Reviews
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: July 27th, 2012, 06:09 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


free html visitor counters
hit counter




Official Media Partners of Opera Carolina

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Opera Carolina

Official Media Partners of NC Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of North Carolina Opera

Official Media Partners of Greensboro Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Greensboro Opera

Official Media Partners of The A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute and Piedmont Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of The A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute
of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Piedmont Opera

Official Media Partners of Asheville Lyric Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Asheville Lyric Opera

Official Media Partners of UNC Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of UNC Opera
Dept. of Music, UNC-Chapel Hill College of Arts and Sciences

www.operalively.com

VISIT WWW.OPERALIVELY.COM FOR ALL YOUR OPERA NEEDS