Theatre Review: La Traviata (WNO), Empire Theatre, Liverpool

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Image Source: WNO

Written By: Alison Jones

Format: Opera
Genre: Drama
Date: November 7 2018
Location: Empire Theatre, Liverpool

Welsh National Opera (WNO) are back in Liverpool with their tale of La Traviata. WNO brought Verdi’s classic tale of La Traviata to life, and after waiting for a long time to watch this particular opera, it didn’t disappoint. With the set and scenery painted by the Scottish National Opera, the drapes and background depicted 19th century Paris really effectively.

Alfredo (Kang Wang) has fallen head over heels in love with the courtesan Violetta (Linda Richardson), but his father Germont disapproves of the fallen woman. Penniless and fearing she will soon die from a chest affliction, Violetta agrees to leave Alfredo, believing it is in his best interests.

The emotion that Richardson brings to the role of Violetta is palpable to the point that following a sob, the lady in the row behind us exclaimed “God love ‘er!” (Only in Liverpool.) Wang and Richardson really complement each other, and Verdi’s most evocative melodies were very easy to listen to. Sung in Italian but with English subtitles, it was easy to follow the story.

In scene two when the curtains open, the party in Provence scene resembles a painting masterpiece. The beautiful gowns, make-up and hair of the chorus, plus the appearance of gypsy dancers and matadors, are a feast for the eyes. It is only when Germont, played by Roland Wood, hears that she is on her deathbed in squalor and poverty that he realises the error of his ways, and confesses all to Alfredo. But is it too late?

Wood gave a really solid performance, a real favourite with the audience. In addition, Sian Meinir (who plays Annina, Violetta’s maid throughout) gives a very touching performance, demonstrating how much she cares for her Violetta. In addition, the orchestra, led by conductor James Southall, are wonderful throughout.

Summing things up, La Traviata was a lovely experience, and the three hours flew by.

Overall Rating: 8.5/10 – Excellent