The Traviata Music: Verdi. Interpreters: P. Yende, D. Korchak, G. Meoni, G. Coma-Alabert. Orq and Coro del Liceo. D. McVicar, scene. S. Scapucci, director. Date: December 5. Place: Gran Teatro del Liceo, Barcelona.
While Violetta and Alfredo they toasted in their happy glasses, the High school issued a devastating statement: either the Catalan health authorities allow reaching 50% of the capacity, instead of the current limitation of 21.8%, or this Monday will be the third and last function of this “Traviata”. You cannot put on an opera for 500 people in which 400 professionals (including orchestra, choir, soloists, technicians and hall staff) participate.
It is sad to reach that point, but it was even sadder to leave the theater at ten o’clock at night, start walking down the Ramblas and Passeig de Gracia to get home, see hundreds of people wandering despite the curfew – many in groups, many without a mask — and not finding a single patrol putting some order. How difficult it is to believe that by sinking Culture we will avoid the virus, if whoever would have to enforce the rules is not able to achieve it!
But, as long as it can, the show must go on. McVicar’s version “The Traviata”, already known to the high school public, it is one of those that, without contributing anything new or especially interesting, at least has the virtue of almost not getting in the way. Almost. Its dim lighting, black curtains and dark furniture work well if the protagonist soprano is a Central European or Caucasian American woman. Apparently, no one thought a black soprano, the wonderful Pretty Yende, could play the role. In the first and third acts, Yende is imposed by her magnificent voice, but she cannot take advantage of the resources that the other white singers do exploit – facial expression and gestures – because she is hardly seen. One more spotlight, a touch-up on the dress, a different location on stage … any resource would have been enough to prevent us from realizing that deep down, 65 years after Marian Anderson’s famous debut at the Metropolitan, we still think that opera is white thing.
On a musical level, Hope Scapuzzi he gave a lesson in vigor and dramatic tension with a reading full of nuances and contrasts. His “tempi”, generally fast, put the singers in some trouble, but despite everything they were successful. More questionable was the balance between shots, since with the masked choir the orchestra prevailed on several occasions more than was desirable. Yende, while Violetta was not her best role, shone with her “piani” and in duets with Giorgio Germont de Meoni. Not so with Alfredo de Korchak, who, although he defended himself with reasonable correction, did not find the filling with the voice of the protagonist.