Stacey Alleaume magnificent in classic Traviata triumph

July 8, 2022 by Victor Grynberg
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If Giuseppe Verdi is indeed the greatest opera composer (which I certainly think he is ) then among his many great compositions La Traviata must surely be close to the very top…writes Victor Grynberg.

Stacey Alleaume as Violetta Valéry and Liparit Avetisyan as Alfredo Germont in Opera Australia’s 2022 production of La Traviata
Photo Credit Keith Saunders

Over the years it has been staged so many times in Australia with the lead role of Violetta, the dying heroine, played by nearly every leading lady.

I personally have greatly enjoyed performances ranging from Dame Joan Sutherland, Deborah Riedel, Danielle de Niese, Taryn Fiebig, Nicole Car, Greta Bradman and last year on Sydney Harbour Stacey Alleaume.

After Dame Joan in fame, perhaps the second most famous Australian soprano Dame Nellie Melba performed the role in London way back in 1887.

With an extremely melodic score, the role does make extraordinary demands on the soprano especially in Act 1 where almost consecutively three beloved arias are performed,-e strano! e strano!: sempre libera &    Ah! Forse lui che l’anima, with quite a lot sung almost a cappella.

An opportunity to shine, and without the aid of the microphone used in the production on the harbour last year Stacey Alleaume was absolutely glorious. A soprano who definitely has the looks and figure to be the perfect casting for a glamorous Parisian courtesan (therefore “the fallen lady” the translation of La Traviata) . From the opening party scene when the great drinking toast “Libiamo” is sung through her romance with Alfredo Germont, the dramatic scenes when Alfredo’s father (Giorgio) tries to convince Violetta to abandon Alfredo as the scandal of their relationship means Alfredo’s sister won’t be able to marry the perfect young man of her choice right through to the dying scenes at the end of the opera Miss Alleaume is totally convincing in every way. As great as she was in Act 1, the extra drama of Act 2 made her performance even greater.

Not surprisingly she did receive a standing ovation at the conclusion.

As her first true love Alfredo the Armenian tenor Liparit Avetisyan was a perfect match. His rich tenor voice and acting meant that the drama of the relationship especially after the intervention of father Giorgio was played out to perfection.

This particular production once more features the sumptuous designs by our own Elijah Moshinsky who sadly passed away last year. First premiered long ago in 1994, this is the most perfect Traviata production and never needs to be abandoned as is common nowadays. It just needs a new star every few years and that is definitely proven with Miss Alleaume. Constantine Costi was responsible for reviving this production and needs to be commended.

The strong supporting cast includes Italian baritone Mario Cassi as the stressed-out father who was admirable in all ways, Agnes Sarkis as Flora and Alexander Sefton as the Baron and the always excellent  Richard Anderson as the Doctor led the way.

What strikes me increasingly in recent OA productions is the quality of the chorus. Brought to the front when the cast was receiving their much-deserved hearty applause was Chorus Master Paul Fitzsimon. Bravo to him and the fantastic chorus. Their rendition of the famous gypsy number was outstanding.

With such a magnificent score Italian Renato Palumbo, renowned as a Verdi expert led the Opera Australia Orchestra to bring out every nuance and delight of the music.

If you love opera, don’t miss this production. And if you know someone who has never been to an opera then La Traviata is the perfect introduction.


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