Impressed by production of Verdi’s finest opera

La Traviata was performed by Russian State Opera
La Traviata was performed by Russian State Opera

La Traviata is one of Giuseppe Verdi’s finest creations and is my favourite opera. It is a love story that ends in tragedy.

It is based on Dumas’s drama The Lady with the Camelias, Violetta, a courtesan, falls in love with Alfredo against the rules set by society.

I have not seen the Russian State Opera before so I was interested to see how they performed. I am pleased to say it was good.

The stage sets and costumes were excellent and the cast likewise. Valeria Bolandina, Violetta, had a superb soprano and the ability to be clearly heard even when singing quietly. She also was quite young, which I feel is so important in this role.

I would also commend the orchestra which was very good under the direction of conductor Grigorii Arkhipov.

Verdi’s music is exquisite from the opening bars of the Prelude to act I, through the famous Drinking Song.

Violetta meets Alfredo and they fall in love. The duet that follows is moving as Violetta realises she’s in love with Alfredo; He was played by tenor Alexander Stolbov, tenor, who was very good.

In Act II Violetta and Alfredo have moved to the country where they are living happily. Trouble loomed in the shape of Alfredo’s father Germont played by Vladislav Kalashnikov, his voice was not quite strong enough. Violetta and Germont sing the famous duet Pura siccome un angel – God gave me a daughter as pure as an angel- Germont persuades Violetta to give up Alfredo to save the family honour.

The action moved back to Paris where Alfredo falls out with Violetta.

The finale is act III and the prelude introducing the act is one of the most beautiful and haunting melody’s ever written. The orchestra played it superbly. Violetta is dying and Alfredo returns to her and their love is rekindled; They sing the lovely duet Parigi, o cara, noi lasceremo dreaming of going back to their old life but its all too late and Violetta dies. Valeria Bolandina is not only a superb singer but also a fine actress.

I doubt there was a dry eye in the house.