La Traviata

Giuseppe Verdi

At the sight of her, horrified ladies whispered: lascivious woman. Men, especially aristocrats and artists, fell madly in love (and supported her). All of Paris was at her feet. She died young. Mariusz Treliński has captured the sustained relevance of Verdi’s opera very well. In his production, Violetta is a skimpily dressed revue star, spending the short days of her love with Alfredo at a blue swimming pool in her own residence. She reacts nervously to her symptoms. She realizes the end is inevitable. The director creates this atmosphere with a play of light and shadow in mobile decorations and the expressive movement of figures in the background; he multiplies the theatrical harbingers of death: a white coffin as a prop for a cabaret number, the dancers’ skull masks. Even the poster for the show is a skull on a pink background. And in the final act, as Violetta’s musical dying approaches, it’s hard not to be moved. Even experienced singers have tears in their eyes, though the iron rule of opera theatre says: ‘The viewers are meant to cry, never the singers!’. The power of the music is partly due to Verdi’s personal life. Aged twenty-something he lost his wife and two small children. He had a relationship with a singer, Giuseppina Strepponi who, like Violetta, had the reputation of a ‘woman who has strayed’. Verdi was uncompromising in defending her honour and married her. She gave up her career and shared his life till the very end; hers came first, his followed.




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