Opera Review: Opera Queensland turns tragedy into magic with Verdi’s La Traviata
With red Mill wow audiences in Sydney, Brisbane’s Lyric theater hosts its own tragic tale of Parisian courtesans and unhappy love affairs. Verdiis iconic La Traviata opened last week, run by Larina Gore and Kang Wang as star-crossed lovers Violetta and Alfredo.
A joint venture between queensland opera, South Australian State Operaand Western Australian Opera, the classic opera recounts the doomed love between the beautiful courtesan Violetta and her loyal partner Alfredo. Tempting for happiness, they leave Paris to build a life far from the wild parties and the opulence of the city. But no one can forget her past, and soon Violetta has a terrible choice to make. Can she sacrifice her own romance if it means another can thrive? Which is more important: love or honor?
La Traviata has long been able to tug at audience heartstrings, and there were more than a few people who were probably delighted that their masks hid their quivering lower lips as the opera’s tragic finale unfolded. Gore and Wang are phenomenal as Violetta and Alfredo, with Gore particularly standing out. She is a tour de force on stage, bringing the complex character of Violetta to life through song and movement.
The scenes featuring the exuberant Parisians always made people smile, with Hayley sugars‘ Flora Bervoix and her coterie of courtesans and clients adding a lot of levity. They’re a loyal bunch to be sure; When a distraught Alfredo gets revenge on Violetta, it’s the soprano they side with, loudly calling out Alfredo for his behavior. It’s a powerful and surprisingly modern moment for a 19th century work.
Accessories must also be provided Charles Davis and his team for their incredible sets and costumes. Keep an eye out for Violetta’s stunning pink and gold number in the second act – this dress will live rent free in my brain for a long time to come.
Under the direction of Laura Gillesand with Dane Lam handy to steer Queensland Symphony Orchestra, La Traviata is an absolute triumph. Beautifully acted and inventively directed, there’s a reason this tragic tale of love and loss is one of the most performed in the world. Brisbane theatergoers, don’t miss this – and don’t forget the tissues!
FIVE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
by Verdi La Traviata will run at the Lyric Theater at QPAC until July 23. For tickets and more information, click HERE.
Image credit: Jade Ferguson, Visual Poets Society.