Welsh National Opera

La Traviata, Verdi

Wales Millennium Centre

Welsh National Opera’s interpretation of Verdi’s La Traviata has opened with spectacular aplomb, entirely befitting the nation’s premier opera company.

This revival of David Mcvicar’s 2009 production, directed in this instance by Sarah Crisp, is sure to delight and move audiences during this latest run.

La Traviata, or Fallen Woman, portrays the love between the courtesan, Violetta, and the young Alfredo Germont.

Caught between duty and passion, Violetta denies herself love in service of duty. Her impending death by consumption creeps through each act through splutter and cough, before ending in tragedy for both her and Alfredo.

Soprano Stacey Alleaume, a newcomer to WNO, performs gracefully and movingly as Violetta. The passion and pain experienced by her character comes across so strongly. Her suffering, the centrepiece of the opera, successfully acts as an emotional bulwark to support the impressive cast and chorus.

David Junghoon Kim meets Alleaume’s match as Alfredo.

Even the distance between stage and audience did not mask his beautiful, pained expressions which communicate emotion as effectively as his powerful tenor voice.

Mark S Goss delivers gravitas and parental authority as Giorgio Germont, Alfredo’s father. His commanding, but gentle, presence serves to underline the morality tale at the heart of Verdi’s work.

Particularly enjoyable to this production, aside from the sheer emotion of the main cast's performances, were the strength in numbers of the WNO chorus, and the impressively ornate design of the stage.

Nowhere is this more effectively illustrated that the production’s immediate opening. A great black curtain is swept open to reveal a bustling Parisian party, filled with noise and splendour. The depth and dark richness of colour is redolent of a Caravaggio, whereas the cosmopolitanism of the setting reminds one of Renoir or Manet.

Behind this, Alexander Joel leads the orchestra which, like the chorus, is in fine form, and effectively compliments the power of singers, highlighting but never drowning the emotive nature of the performances on stage.

At close to three hours in length, WNO have delivered an evening that is sure to be nothing less than glorious.

Wales Millennium Centre until September 30 then touring.