La traviata Young Artists at Opera Holland Park
This has been an interesting year for Traviatas, some good, some not so good. The new production at Opera Holland Park by the young Greek born opera Director, Rodula Gaitanou (who was a former Jette Parker Young Artist), is indeed a real success.
In a theatre that has more solidity to it and less outside interference, although the birds still sing, Cordelia Chisholm designs a clever single set that swaps between the gilded mirrors of a bordello to a homely conservatory, with changes to the sets being mainly by the movement of furniture. Cleverly done.
The performance on 11 June was dedicated to a group of Young Artists, who are setting out on their careers. The Young Artists program was launched in 2011 to give young emerging professional singers, conductors and directors the opportunity to rehearse in a professional environment. This was the inspiration of Christine Collins, who was posthumously given a special philanthropy award by the International Opera Awards in 2016.
The Director of this performance was Cecilia Stinton, with the Repetiteur being Michael Papadopoulos. It was a really interesting performance and the Young Artists took full advantage of their opportunity to enable them and the audience to enjoy the evening’s entertainment.
Musically conducted by Harry Sever, the pacing of the music was spot on, although there were one or two occasions when he missed a ‘breathing pause’. However, the performance was well controlled and tightly played by the orchestra.
This year’s main production had the Violetta of the outstanding Lauren Fagan. The Young Artist Violetta was Alison Langer, who was a revelation. She was a really moving Violetta, producing a powerful and tear-jerking Act 3 finale. Her Alfredo, sung by the tenor, Stephen Aviss, produced a great ringing Italianate sound, although occasionally singing slightly under the note in his lower register. The Giorgio Germont of Aidan Edwards was a robust, solid, baritone voice of great authority.
The rest of the cast, particularly the Flora of the Emma Stannard, the Annina of the Alys Roberts, the Gastone of Mike Bradley, the Barone of James Corrigan and the Marchese of Felix Kemp, were all sung admirably, adding to the enjoyment of a really outstanding evening.