Haunt­ing and bril­liant Verdi

Sunday Herald Life - - MIND & BODY - Re­viewed by Mark Brown

LA TRAVIATA Seen at Theatre Royal, Glas­gow Tour­ing un­til De­cem­ber 2

IT’S easy to see why there was so much re­sis­tance to Giuseppe Verdi’s work, both from 19th­cen­tury au­di­ences and from the po­lit­i­cal and cul­tural es­tab­lish­ment of the day. Al­though his mu­sic was ex­quis­ite, his po­lit­i­cal in­stincts were in con­flict with the stern and hyp­o­crit­i­cal mores of his so­ci­ety.

La Traviata (The Fallen Woman) is a love story and a moral­ity tale about Vi­o­letta Valery, the high-class pros­ti­tute of Du­mas’s novel La Dame Aux Camelias. Turn­ing her back on her for­mer life for the love of young so­ci­ety gentleman Al­fredo Ger­mont, she is con­fronted with the threats and ex­hor­ta­tions of Al­fredo’s pu­ri­tan­i­cal fa­ther Gior­gio. More lov­ing of Al­fredo than her ad­ver­sary, Vi­o­letta re­jects her lover, to spare him and his fam­ily the stric­tures of an un­for­giv­ing so­ci­ety.

A bril­liant re­vival of David McVicar’s 2008 pro­duc­tion, Marie Lam­bert’s Scot­tish Opera stag­ing takes us to the very heart of the op­u­lent and cyn­i­cal so­ci­ety soirées of mid-1800s Paris. Splen­didly cos­tumed, set and lit (by Tanya McCallin, de­sign, and Stephen Powles, light­ing), the piece looks and feels like a liv­ing pre­mo­ni­tion.

Dutch tenor Peter Gi­js­bert­sen gives a vi­tal and an­guished per­for­mance as Al­fredo, while English bari­tone Stephen Gadd of­fers a per­fect, stiff­necked ren­der­ing of the bru­tally up­right Gior­gio. The per­for­mance of the evening, how­ever, is Rus­sian so­prano Gul­nara Shafigul­lina’s haunt­ingly sym­pa­thetic, gor­geously sung Vi­o­letta. Tour dates: scot­tish­opera.org.uk

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