Wednesday, October 14, 2015

An Evening at the Opera

Last night I attended my first production for this season at the COC of La Traviata. Not surprisingly the hall was filled to capacity. When the curtain arose we watched Violetta dress in a spartan room that curved around her  behind a beautiful curtain of lace to the musical overture. This set the mood for the rest of the production which was beautifully simple and elegant. This new production under the direction of Arin Arbus and designed by Riccardo Hernandez (set design) and Marcus Doshi (lighting) set in the 19th-century opted for simple suggestive sets and opulent costumes and subtle mood lighting to set the appropriate tone for the story. The three acts were all performed on a raked stage that featured Violetta's apartments in Paris, a home in the country and Flora's apartment in Paris. 

When the overture ended the lace curtain rose revealing a banquet table overflowing with food and a bevy of costumed guests enjoying Violetta's company. Ekaterina Siurina as Violetta had a beautiful bird like voice that allowed her to carry this heavy role throughout the entire evening. Her voice while not powerful had a bell like quality in her upper registers but had trouble at times filling out some of the notes in the lower register. Singing Alfredo, Charles Castronovo was the only real vocal disappointment of the evening. His tenor voice did not have the power or clarity to match Silurian's singing. Sadly his voice was often lost in the music and never created the kind of vocal magic required for such a romantic role. This was more evident when listening to him in his duet with Quinn Kelsey whose beautiful baritone voice as Alfredo's father Germont was such a pleasure.  

The COC opted for two intermissions which was too much for such a short evening. There was one after act one and after act two. In act two, the director Arbus made the most of Flora's party cloaking the room in a large flocked wallpaper while everything was bathed in red lights. Flora's costume party featured a gypsy troop with Mexican styled Day of the Dead clothes and makeup that was at once beautifully designed and choreographed performing on the tables. Following the gypsies the matadors from Madrid heralded in a group of animal puppets featuring all things bull related. The whole scene was beautifully smart and clever. All in all it was a wonderful introduction to the new season of the COC. 

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