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Alfredo was sung by the Russian tenor, Evgeny Akimov who also appears at the Mariinsky Theatre, the Met and Covent Garden. He was a carefree playboy whose character gained more humanity as the opera went on. With a rich even voice, he sang his lines with warmth and virility.

Marina Viskvorkina as Violetta and Evgeny Akimov as Alfredo in Act III
Marina Viskvorkina as Violetta and Evgeny Akimov as Alfredo in Act III

Vladimir Samsonov was a properly bourgeois Germont who showed no understanding of Violetta's plight until the very end of the opera. This baritone has ringing top tones and he delivered a memorable rendition of 'Di Provenza'. Casting bass Viacheslav Pochapsky, a Bolshoi Opera soloist, as Dr Grenville was a true luxury and he proved that an artist can make an impression in even the tiniest part when he is good. The same could be said of Viara Zhelozova's sympathetic Flora and Hristo Sarafov's Baron Douphol. All three of these artists are often heard singing leading roles and they showed everyone how cameos should be played.

Marina Viskvorkina as Violetta in Act IV
Marina Viskvorkina as Violetta in Act IV

Conductor Krassimir Topolov drew a well balanced, expansively romantic reading of the score from the Sofia Symphony. They played well and gave full expression to the work without overpowering the voices of any of the singers. At the end of the evening the Newark audience responded with a standing ovation for all the artists involved in this fine performance.

Copyright © 2 April 2006 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA


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