The Times gave WNO's new production of Traviata a four star review; I don't agree with much of what they say. But on the whole, it's a fair score.
It's an uneven evening, I'm afraid. Dario Solari's Germont was, for me, from the "wooden plank" school of acting, and as lovely as his singing was, this meant I kept losing emotional contact with everything. Alfie Boe was often excellent as Alfredo, sometimes as passionate as he needed to be, a little English sounding, then very Italianate - and I kept thinking about other tenors I've heard here. When he was good, he was very good; when he wasn't, he was OK.
But I cannot tell you how many Traviatas I have seen over the years. Verona's great production where the eponymous heroine leaves in a horse drawn carriage at the end of the first act (she cracks the reins as she hits the final note & off stage she goes) certainly leaves a lasting memory. It was also my first. Angela Gheorghiu's opening night at Covent Garden in the role will never fade - she was spectacular. But the only performance I have ever so far seen that comes close to that or even (maybe - just maybe) surpassed it was at the Millennium Centre tonight.
Myrtò Papatanasiu is a perfect Verdi soprano - steely but vulnerable, with a gleaming high Eb and effortless runs. She looked perfect and acted the role with conviction and stirring intensity. She was Violetta.
My only complaint -
What does this crowd want? They sat they and applauded at the end like it was something they expected to be treated to every day. I'm sorry, they will not see a Violetta like that again for many, many years. I stood and cheered for her curtain call, and shame on Cardiff that as far as I could see I was the only one on my feet. I don't easily stand for an ovation; far from it; but this girl is remarkable, and I am thrilled to have been able to hear and see her tonight. If you get the chance - buy/beg/steal a ticket.
It's an uneven evening. But Myrto is a sensation.