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Giuseppe Verdi: La traviata
Svetla Vassileva (Violetta Valéry), Massimo Giordano (Alfredo Germont), Vladimir Stoyanov (Giorgio Germont), Daniela Pini (Flora Bervoix), Antonella Trevisan (Annina), Gianluca Floris (Gastone), Armando Gabba (Baron Douphol), Filippo Polinelli (Marchese d’Obigny), Roberto Tagliavini (Doctor Grenvil), Iorio Zennaro (Giuseppe), Roberto Scandura (Flora’s servant), Matteo Mazzoli (A messenger), Coro del Teatro Regio di Parma, Martino Faggiani (Chorus Master), Orchestra del Teatro Regio di Parma, Yuri Temirkanov (Conductor), Karl-Ernst & Ursel Herrmann (Stage, Set, Costume and Lighting Designer), Tiziano Mancini (Video Director)
Recorded live at the Teatro Regio di Parma, Parma, Italy (October 9, 13 and 15, 2007) – 144’ (including bonus introduction)
C Major Entertainment # 723608 (distributed by Naxos of America) – Booklet in English, German, French and Italian – Subtitles available in Italian, English, German, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Japanese

This production via the Deutsche Oper am Rhein has an interesting forward time slot, moving Verdi’s original from the 1700s to the Roaring 20s. German husband and wife, Karl-Ernst and Ursel Herrmann have their stamp of “Euro…” connected to it, but it’s not that bad depending upon which audience it’s intended: Violetta is painted as a virtual “whore”, and to that extent, the debauchery is justly arguable. For American audiences it’s a bit extreme: pulling of the tablecloth off the dining room table ending in a crash of plates (in Act I), and the sauciness inside Flora’s house (suggestive phallic erections and nudity) is rife with borderline raunchiness. For Europeans they’re accustomed to this. The aforementioned is emblazoned with Edgar Degas’ ambience that is truly artistic and wonderful. These lavish costumes, amongst others, are bracketed amidst winter scenes in Acts II and III (foreboding end of life) that really makes good sense.

Two stalwart performers come from the Germont family. Perhaps it’s Massimo Giordano’s Italian roots which translate into a most credible and impassioned Alfredo. Father Giorgio Germont, delivered by Bulgarian Vladimir Stoyanov, has an edge of coldness and indifference, and the connection with his character absorbs.

Svetla Vassileva poised to assume the role of femme fatale Violetta genuinely puts her heart and soul into the character, but the realization is transparent: the voice is harsh and wavy, sloppy in delivery especially in the higher register. The challenging demands of Verdi’s Violetta are parsed into three vocal categories: coloratura, dramatic and lyrical, but they are weakly translated by Vassileva.

Yuri Temirkanov has trouble getting the orchestra and chorus synched in the opening of Act I (and at times points beyond.) Martino Faggiani does an excellent job with the choral outcome; Daniela Pini’s Flora Bervoix gets gulped up by the orchestra. Wolfgang Enck’s choreography is a bit clumsy in the “Brindisi”, but it is redeemed for the remainder of the production.

What is sorely lacking is in the sound department. The volume and mike source are inconsistent, thus interpreted as being amateur.

Christie Grimstad




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