One of the most beautiful operas of Opera Australia’s Winter Season, Verdi’s devastatingly romantic La Traviata, is currently playing at the Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House until 22 July 2015.
This sumptuous production is an Opera Australia classic featuring Lorina Gore in her Australian role debut as Violetta opposite the highly acclaimed, young international tenor making his Australian debut, Rame Lahaj with Verdi specialist Renato Palumbo returning to conduct after his triumph with Rigoletto in 2014.
Velvet dresses and heaving bosoms, lavish party scenes and intimate arias – Verdi’s La Traviata is the quintessential operatic tragedy. With rousing music including ‘Sempre libre’ and the famous drinking song, the ‘Brindisi’, and a spectacular set, it’s a perfect escape from our everyday life.
The story of La Traviata, so exotic and literary for us, was devastatingly close to Verdi’s own life. Shortly after the death of his young wife and children, Verdi took up with his own ‘traviata’ or fallen woman — a celebrated soprano who daringly defied convention in favour of freedom and a life of luxury.
La Traviata is the story is of a beautiful courtesan, who, after initial restraint, falls in love with a young nobleman, Alfredo Germont. The couple begin a life together until Alfredo’s father visits Violetta, pressing upon her the effect of the relationship on his family’s reputation. Her decision to accept his demand to break with Alfredo leads to the ultimate sacrifice.
As one of Verdi’s ‘big three’ (along with Rigoletto and Il Trovatore), La Traviata is also one of the world’s most popular operas. It includes the show-stopping arias Sempre libera, which vies with Nessun dorma for highest rankings in classical top tens.
Originally directed by Elijah Moshinsky, La Traviata has become a classic of Opera Australia’s current repertoire. Designed by Michael Yeargan, this production was inspired by Parisian scenes captured in the paintings of Manet and Renoir, the design for La Traviata is a feast of period detail.
Designed by the late Peter J. Hall, the costumes are a highlight of the production. Each of the incredibly detailed gowns worn by the women on stage are made from 10-12 metres of fabric and take up to 75 hours to complete, not including the time it takes to lace each performer into the fully-boned corsets.
Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House
Season continues to 22 July 2015
Bookings: (02) 9318 8200 or online at: www.opera.org.au
For more information, visit: www.opera.org.au for details.
Image: Lorina Gore (Violetta Valéry) and Rame Lahaj (Alfredo Germont) in Opera Australia’s La Traviata – photo by Branco Gaica