Opera Review: La Traviata

The Israeli Opera, Opera House, June 22.

La Traviata 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
La Traviata 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Even without a double bed in the spotlight, one could have imagined how Violetta and Alfredo were spending their time, in Verdi’s La Traviata, performed by the Israeli Opera.
However, leaving things to the audience’s imagination was not a characteristic of Stefano Mazzonis di Pralafera’s direction and Edoardo Sanchi’s sets. There were abundant throwings about of objects, whether necessary or not, for shallow theatrical effect, and stereotypically outstretched arms in the manner of a trend that had already become out-of-date in bygone years.
Among the singers, Stefan Pop, in the role of Alfredo, was the outstanding personality and voice. His radiant lyric tenor and forceful expression made him an irresistible lover and made one understand Violetta’s love for him.
In the title role, soprano Cinzia Forte seemed to function on the erroneous assumption that emotional intensity has to be expressed by shouting. This did not fit the gentle and modest character of Violetta. Toward the end her voice mercifully became softer, though in her dying scene she sounded too strong and robust for a consumptive in her last moments.
Baritone George Petean, in the role of Germont, expressed human warmth and fatherly compassion in his final aria. At first, though, he appeared too demanding and aggressive for arousing sympathy.
Conducted by Yiishai Steckler, the Israeli Opera Chorus sounded lively, communicative and balanced. The Symphony Orchestra Rishon Le-Zion was attentive to the action and the singers, adjusting its tempo flexibly and and matching its subtle nuances of dynamics to what was happening on the stage.