La Traviata at Aberystwyth Arts Centre

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September, 2021

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Screened around the UK on 21st September, we saw it at Aberystwyth Arts Centre, 7pm start, with full social distancing arrangements for booked seating. It was not a full audience, unusual for the opera or ballet screenings here at the arts Centre, but presumably people are only just starting to get out and about. Another reason may be that it is an evening performance so, public transport is not available to get home – the last bus from Aberystwyth for us is around 8pm! – unlike the afternoon repeat performances the Arts Centre usually puts on that means it easier to visit.

Wonderful staging in Sydney Harbour with the iconic Opera House in the background. A square central stage, with steps all round for cast to come in and out, topped with an enormous glass chandelier. Glass panels formed the stage backdrop, lower edges frosted in the shape of the Paris skyline. The intermission included film of them putting it all together – very impressive! – and a chat with the director about how they have dealt with restrictions due to COVID.

La Traviata, the story of a hedonistic lifestyle in Paris, fun-loving Violetta who falls in love with Alfredo but is suffering from TB. Stella [ ] playing Violetta was a perfect choice. Beautiful, young enough to play this character, and a powerful voice that made the hair stand on the back of your neck. Striking costumes for everyone, especially Violetta whose voice was amazing considering the corset-based outfits she wore throughout, including her (prolonged) death scene in her nightie.

As always, there are some characters you love to hate, like the Baron and Alfredo’s father, but the supporting cast of chorus and dancers filled the stage with colour, noise, and drama. It is a tragedy, of course, as he pitches up to say sorry just as she is about to pop off, but this was certainly a memorable performance. Maybe one day I will get to see a performance at the Sydney Opera House in person!


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