6.9/10
15
3 user

Verdi: La Traviata 

The self-sacrificing courtesan with a heart of gold, and yes, she's going to die before it's over, and it will be too late to make amends for those who have wronged her. That's why the big clock in the background is ticking away like that.

Director:

Gary Halvorson
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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Natalie Dessay ... Violetta Valéry
Matthew Polenzani Matthew Polenzani ... Alfredo Germont
Dmitriy Khvorostovskiy Dmitriy Khvorostovskiy ... Giorgio Germont (as Dmitri Hvorostovsky)
Patricia Risley Patricia Risley ... Flora
Scott Scully Scott Scully ... Gastone
Kyle Pfortmiller Kyle Pfortmiller ... Marquis D'Obigny
Luigi Roni Luigi Roni ... Dr. Grenvil
Maria Zifchak Maria Zifchak ... Annina
Juhwan Lee Juhwan Lee ... Giuseppe
Joseph Turi Joseph Turi ... Messenger
Athol Farmer Athol Farmer ... Guest
Peter Volpe Peter Volpe ... Gentleman
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Metropolitan Opera Ballet Metropolitan Opera Ballet ... Dancers
Fabio Luisi Fabio Luisi ... Himself - Conducted by
Metropolitan Opera Chorus Metropolitan Opera Chorus ... Party Guest
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Storyline

The self-sacrificing courtesan with a heart of gold, and yes, she's going to die before it's over, and it will be too late to make amends for those who have wronged her. That's why the big clock in the background is ticking away like that.

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Genres:

Musical

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Details

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

14 April 2012 (USA) See more »

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Connections

Remake of La traviata (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Clock This
17 December 2012 | by GyranSee all my reviews

Natalie Dessay is a great favourite of mine. I have followed her career with interest ever since I saw her many years ago as Olympia in Tales of Hoffmann. She may have been mainly a high-note specialist in those days but she has expanded her range into bel canto, at first in French and then Italian and, to my mind, she is currently the world's leading Donizetti interpreter.

It is perhaps her huge success in Donizetti at the Met in recent years that has led the opera company to tempt her to try roles that are not ideally suited to her voice. La Traviata this year and Cleopatra in Giulo Cesare next year are gigs that her agent should probably have turned down. Certainly that was my impression during Act I of this production with its succession of soprano tours de force. Dessay's voice just does not seem big enough in the Brindisi, E Strano or Sempre Libera and her performance seems rather lacklustre in comparison with, Angela Gheorghiu, Renée Fleming or Anna Netrebko, to name just three.

However, Acts II and III are a different matter. Here Dessay's brilliant dramatic ability comes to the fore and the music in these two acts is much more suited to her voice. Her Addio, del passato as she is dying is probably the most moving I have ever heard. Basically Dessay has to carry these two acts on her own. Her Alfredo is Matthew Polenzani, a pleasant enough tenor with the acting ability of a sack of potatoes. Germont Pere is sung by Dmitri Hvorostovsky who is as stiff as a plank of wood and also does not seem to be able to get into the idiom. His Piangi O Misera is unconvincing and his Provencal ballad sounds like the Volga Boat Song.

The production, by Willy Decker, was originally seen in Salzburg in 2005. It is bonkers in the way that only Salzburg opera can be. The set looks like a semicircular concrete underpass. There is not much else apart from a large clock and a red plastic sofa. The two scenes of Act II and the whole of Act III are played continuously so there is no feeling of going from the lovers' villa to the party in Paris and then to Violetta's death. It all takes place in the underpass so even Violetta's deathbed scene is played standing up. The party scene is particularly risible with the action continually playing against the text. In this scene the clock has to become a roulette wheel so, instead of betting on the seven, Alfredo has to bet on seven o'clock.

It is a tribute to Natalie Dessay's considerable ability as a singer and as an actress that she is able to turn this travesty of a production into a personal triumph.


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