Dorset Opera – La Traviata

AS soon as it was announced that Dorset Opera had included La Traviata, directed by Jonathan Miller, as part of its 2013 festival season at Bryanston, tickets for the three performances sold out in double quick time.

Coupled with a Wagner opera for the festival, it meant that the chorus of (often) young singers had the added challenge of learning both Italian and German during their intensive three week course under the direction of a professional team of directors, choreographers and musicians. And magnificently they rose to that challenge in both productions.

The demands of performing the Verdi opera on both Friday and Saturday meant a double cast for the principal roles of Violetta and Alfredo, and if the Friday audience (of which I was thrilled to be part) had the “second” cast, I can’t think how good the other Violetta might have been.

Jessica Muirhead is as accomplished an actor as she is a compelling and soaring soprano, and so the shock of love, the torment of loss and the tragedy of early death were writ large on the Coade Hall stage.

Gerard Quinn thrilled the audience with the beauty of his singing in the role of the self-serving Germont Pere.

The young Adam Smith was a lusty Alfredo, with Helen Johnson matching her mistress’s acting skills as the devoted Annina.

Phillip Thomas conducted the fine orchestra with a delicacy and intensity that matched the story of the courtesan who died for love – and consumption – in this memorable performance that was a credit to all involved in Dorset Opera, and had audience members asking to book for next year’s Aida and Fidelio as soon as possible.


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