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Welsh National Opera’s La Traviata is a triumph.

Giuseppe Verdi's well-known opera, La traviata, originally directed by Sir David McVicar was brought to the Milton Keynes Theatre by the Welsh National Opera this week.

This production is led by Director Sarah Crisp and Conductor Alexander Joel and stars the incredible soprano Stacey Alleaume in her WNO debut as the refined courtesan Violetta Valéry. Adam Gilbert plays Alfredo Germont, Mark S Doss portrays Giorgio Germont, and James Cleverton takes on the role of Baron Douphol.

La Traviata (The Fallen One) is based on Alexandre Dumas fils' novel La Dame aux Camélias, a story of love, scandal, and sacrifice. Set in 19th-century Paris, it tells the story of Violetta, an elegant courtesan who leaves her glamorous lifestyle to fall deeply in love with Alfredo, a young and penniless aristocrat. However, their passionate relationship is jeopardised by societal norms, miscommunications, and illness, leading to a heart-breaking outcome.

From the first note of the wonderful and commanding orchestra, the beauty of the music was overwhelming, warming and comforting.

Featuring some of the most famous romantic melodies from operas, it is perfect for both newbies and aficionados of the genre. Libiamo ne’liefti calici, Follie! Delirio vano e questo.. Sempre libera, Che Fai? Nulla, you may not know the names, but you’ll definitely recognise these wonderful pieces.

The set design and costumes take the audience to Parisian life with meticulous craftsmanship. The opera opens at Violetta's lavish party, her home adorned in gothic black lace, chandeliers and candelabra, symbolising her high societal position.

I am not sure I have enjoyed a soprano as much as I did Stacey Alleaume. Her astonishing vocal range, her energy and her ability to navigate the complex and stretching melodies with such beauty, passion, strength and warmth was apparent from the opening scene to the last, a mammoth undertaking. I was in absolutely awe. And, when in duet with Adam Gilbert (Alfredo) his emotional passionate tenor voice was so powerful that it seemed to move heaven and earth.

I also can’t fail to mention what a truly commanding presence and rich deep warm baritone voice Mark S Dross (Giorgio) caught our attention with, the moment he stepped onto the stage, and the marvellous chorus who brought an extra layer of richness to the story, giving us a glimpse into the dramatic world of the aristocracy and the fascinating women who stand alongside them

I’m ashamed to admit that although I studied opera as part of my music degree, I have only seen live opera for the first time this year. This was my third opera and I have to say that this particular production had me totally gripped, I had goose pimples all over. I knew it would be on the record player this morning, as I'd want to relive the totally wonderful evening I’d experienced. I’m a total convert and cannot wait for the Welsh National Opera to return. Please, please, please come again next year.

Shahnaz (Shiny) Hussain – Arts reviewer.


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