Opera Review: La Traviata

A musical and theatrical feast


Presented by State Opera of SA, Opera Queensland, and West Australian Opera
Reviewed 25 August 2022

Verdi’s La Traviata is one of the most enduring and popular operas of the standard Western canon. It tells the story of socialite and courtesan Violetta and her love for Alfredo, which is so strong it leads her to leave him for his own good. Oh, and she is also dying of consumption, which used to be a popular plot point in the 19th century. Possibly because so many people did, in fact, die of consumption. Some of Verdi’s most lyrical and accessible music is to be found in this work, which is one of the reasons it is often recommended as a great “beginner’s” opera.

This latest iteration sees Opera Queensland, West Australian Opera, and our own State Opera pool resources to deliver some fine theatre.

Soprano Lauren Fagan is delightful as Violetta, giving a strong vocal performance and acceptable, although not mind-blowing, characterisation. Kang Wang’s Alfredo is charming although sometimes not as believably in-love as he could be. Wang’s voice is in fine form, and he and Fagan deliver some beautiful moments. Also stepping up on opening night were James Roser as Germond, Pelham Andrews as Douphol and the ever-reliable Jeremy Tatchell as D’Obigny. The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra was under the capable and intelligent baton of Oliver von Dohnányi, who kept them generally on the down-low so as to give precedence to the vocals. On opening night however, there were moments when one yearned for a bit more volume from the pit. The State Opera Chorus, under the guidance of Anthony Hunt, once again smashed it out of the park. They make any production they are in worth seeing.

Production design by Charles Davis stays loosely “realistic 19th century.” Modernistic touches enliven the costuming. Mostly this works well, although there are one or two “what were they thinking” outfits which are a distraction. Sarah Giles’s direction is deft and imaginative, generally delivering watchable, engaging stage craft. There are just a couple of “tricksy” moments that could have been happily scrapped.

Overall, this latest production of La Traviata is musically and theatrically satisfying, engaging, and charming. Opening night lacked a bit of oomph, but this will no doubt be found before the next performance.

Bravo State Opera!

Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Twitter: @TraceyKorsten

Venue:  Her Majesty’s Theatre
Season:  August 27th, August 30th, September 1st, September 3rd.
Duration:  2 hours 20 minutes (includes 20 min interval)
Tickets:  $75-$185

Rating out of 5: 4

Photo Credit: That Photography Place

#Adelaide #ADLFringe @LaurenAshFagan #stateopera @stateoperaofsa

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