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As Giorgio Germont, Vladimir Dragos' strong, round baritone coped with the Assembly Rooms' awkward acoustics better than his colleagues. Conductor Gheorghe Stanciu had a good feel for the overall dramatic pacing.

Staging may have been constrained by the building, but some things do not appear to have been well thought out. After his scene at the start of Act 2, Alfredo leaves by the same exit through which Violetta appears seconds later, making nonsense of her question to Annina, 'Where's Alfredo?' In Act 3, when Violetta asks Annina to open the curtains and let more light in, she goes to the window, waves her arms in the air, and the stage lights come up -- regardless of the fact that the curtains have been open all the time.

Although the article Fallen Women and La Traviata in the programme was attributed to an English author, it read in part like a bad translation (what on earth is 'an uttering sense of melodramatic purpose'?).

Some aspects of the production were effective, but mostly it was a throw-back to an earlier age, and a reminder of how much opera stagings have moved on, however 'traditional' they may claim to be.

Copyright © 23 February 2008 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK


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