Music and Vision homepage 'Elgar and Chivalry' by Robert Anderson - available now from Elgar.org

 

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Verdi's hectic music-making chez Violetta (Eva Mei) has not a whiff of the 18th century. Instead it marvellously evokes the social whirl that has both swept the heroine off her feet and ruined her health, even if the chorus is prudently reluctant to keep up with Welser-Möst's spanking pace [watch and listen -- 'Dell'invito trascorsa è già l'ora' (Act 1), chapter 3, 4:52-6:18]. As Alfredo Germont, Piotr Beczala is already smitten by the ailing Violetta and is told he might return when the camellia she gives him has finally withered [watch and listen -- 'Ebben? Che diavol fate?' (Act 1), chapter 7, 19:00-20:18].

Piotr Beczala as Alfredo Germont and Eva Mei as Violetta Valéry in Act 1 of 'La Traviata'. DVD screenshot © 2005 Zurich Opera House
Piotr Beczala as Alfredo Germont and Eva Mei as Violetta Valéry in Act 1 of 'La Traviata'. DVD screenshot © 2005 Zurich Opera House

But the family Germont is scandalised by Alfredo's apparent infatuation with a woman no better than she should be, and Thomas Hampson's Giorgio decides on an invasion of his son's love-nest outside Paris. He does this with such vocal address that Violetta gradually submits to his demand that the liaison be broken off. Psychologically he has played a clever hand: she must realise his angelic daughter's chances will suffer if her naughty brother is not brought to heel [watch and listen -- 'Pura siccome un angelo' (Act 2 Scene 1), chapter 15, 43:26-44:50].

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Copyright © 31 May 2006 Robert Anderson, London UK

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