by Paula Citron
Russian director Dmitri Bertman’s radical 1999 take on Verdi’s La traviata has stayed with me all these years. The current COC remount of this controversial production dripping in symbolism still packs a wallop for what it has to say about party girls dependent on men – whether in the 19th century or now. In fact, Bertman’s vision jumps between centuries to make this point clear.
Soprano Inva Mula has a sharp, clear voice and the lyric spinto needed for Violetta. It’s not the prettiest sound but it carries the day. Tenor James Valenti looks like the cover of GQ and is physically, the quintessential Alfredo. There is an intriguing voice here but it is inconsistent. Alan Opie is perfect as Germont. He has the physical stature and the commanding tone that a Verdi baritone requires. I found conductor Daniele Callegari to be lacklustre in his tempi for a production that demands zing.
La traviata continues until May 26.
From the Four Seasons Centre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.