One of the best known and most played works, I liked a lot La Traviata seen on the Bucharest National Opera scene, more than any other operas I have seen so far.
Surely, the success of this performance is due to the warm and strong voice of Cristina Maria Oltean, a coloratura soprano, who started her professional career in the chemistry domain, attending singing classes alongside the Faculty of Chemistry. It seems that the choice of the scene was inspired, and later she also had a master in canto.
The story of the Opera
Impressed by the play The Lady with Camellias (following the novel by Alexandre Dumas the son), which he saw in Paris between 1851 and 1853, Verdi originally decides to name the opera Violetta. Dumas seems to have written the story following the real story of courtesan Marie Dupleiss who died at 23 years old of tuberculosis. At the time of writing, Verdi was forced to maintain the story in the eighteenth century, though he would have wanted it to be transposed into the contemporary period of the author. Perhaps that is why a highly minimalist version is playing on the Metropolitan stage. The premiere took place on March 6, 1853, at La Fenice in Venice, but was not received warmly. This was due to the scandal of the audience and the artists about the subject of the work, but also the fact that there was only one professional singer on stage. Verdi was repeatedly asked to change several aspects of the story, but he opposed it every time.
I liked the opera even more because the Italian language musically enhances the story of courtesan Violetta. The story hypnotized me from the beginning, the movement is full of life, in constant motion, I did not feel the passing of time, I lived in Violetta’s life.
The synopsis includes 3 acts that take place in the Paris area. Violetta, a former courtesan, has a party at her home, enjoying the pleasures of life, although her health is fragile. Alfredo becomes a fiery admirer, and though Violetta rejects him, his perseverance is fruitful; therefore in the second act we see the two lovers living in the countryside. Alfredo’s father comes in secret to ask her to separate from his son, leaving Violetta in a state of overwhelming sadness. From the cynical woman, Violetta becomes a passionate and noble lover who agrees to break away from the love of her life. The third act is Violetta’s room, with her defeated by tuberculosis. Waiting for the inevitable ending, she dreams about having an affectionate family. Alfredo comes to see her and she dies in his loving arms. Cristina Maria Oltean has a wonderful stage presence, a sophisticated and fine stature, crystal clear, warm voice. She has a certain and emotional delicacy in her address to the spectator. Alfredo, played by tenor Lucian Corchiş, seemed to me less brightly, his voice sometimes failing to rise from the sound of the orchestra. The baritone Iordache Basalic as Alfredo’s father was remarkable, like Gastone, the friend of Alfredo, played by Ciprian Pahonea.
Photo source: Sebastian Bucur / National Opera Bucharest, zenoa.ro.