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Met Opera: La Traviata - Avoca Beach Picture Theatre

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by Helen Belli (subscribe)
I am now living in Kariong on the Central Coast
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A fallen women finds true love

'I shall live in a whirlwind and die of pleasure'

Based on the Alexandre Dumas play La dame aux Camelias, Verdi's La Traviata [fallen woman] was first performed in Venice in 1853. During 2018, it was been staged throughout the world 151 times, making it one of the most popular operas in the modern repertoire and a wonderful platform for the 3 principal artists.

Violetta is a famous courtesan, sick and dying of T.B. After a bout of illness, to celebrate her recovery, she throws a lavish party in her infamous salon. Gaston, her current lover and benefactor, arrives with a new friend, Alfredo Germont. Unknown to Violetta he has been an admirer for many months. Violetta longs for true love. Alfredo professes his love, Violetta is overjoyed and they retire to live and love in the country away from the distractions of Paris. Not to last long. Germont, Alfredo's father, arrives and tells Violetta she must leave Alfredo. The reason sounds silly in this day and age, but dear reader, this is an opera and opera is stuck in a romantic time wrap. After much drama, Violetta dies in the arms of her lover.

Versailles in the Spring


The overture to La Traviata tells the entire story and it is not uncommon for the producer, [in this new staging for the Met. Michael Mayer], to show Violetta's life in flashback, the entire opera is a memory of her meeting with Alfredo and her death.

The sets are over the top, some have suggested Walt Disney had a hand in the decorating. Never the less the set are cleverly changed to represent the 4 seasons, starting with spring in the first scene when Violetta first meets Alfredo and love blooms. You guessed it, the last scene is winter as Violetta dies.

Except for Germont, the costumes again change with the seasons and are alarmingly ornate. Did the cast live at Versailles? Great for the grand scale of the stage at the Met., but garish on film. Violetta has 4 outfits, all cut and from the same pattern.

Yannick at work


Yannick Nezick-Sequin has been conducting at the Met. for 9 years. After the dismissal of the beloved chief conductor, James [Jimmy] Levine, Yannick was promoted to musical director. This was his introduction in this capacity. He is a singers dream. He understands the drama and the obligation of supporting the singers at all costs. He waits, anticipates and loving follows.

Violetta discovers true love for the first time


Dramatic sopranos today must sing like Callas and act like Magnani. Diana Dumrau was in fine voice, secure and convincing as a refined and confident woman of the world, who later is destroyed by illness and a broken heart.

Juan Diego Florez as Alfredo was convincing as the lover and later the angry young man, driven to a jealous rage.

Quin Kelsey [Germont], Alfredo's father, had a few cold notes with the first aria with Violetta, but was forgiven as he is one of the favourite baritones at the Met. If you are at the late April performances you will be fortunate to see Placido Domingo in this role. As one of the great tenors of the operatic world this century [he played Alfredo in a 1983 film], now singing as a baritone, he will undoubtedly be the star of the show.

On the 6th April, Adriana Lecouvreur is having its first performance at the Met. It was last performed at the Sydney Opera House in 1984 with Joan Sutherland in the starring role. Not often performed, perhaps some should stay 'on the shelf'.

The 13th season of the 10 operas screened in HD from the Met. will be screened at the Avoca cinema.

Go to avocatheatre.com.au for this seasons guide to the entire programme arranged by Beth for her friends.
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Phone: 43821777
Where: 69 Avoca Drive, Avoca Beach
Cost: $25 with no concessions
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