Dates and Venue 30 April; 3, 5, 7, 10, 12 May 2011, 7.30pm @ The Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver
Violetta Erin Wall Alfredo David Pomeroy Germont James Westman Flora Barbara Towell
Conductor Jacques Lacombe Stage Director Sir Jonathan Miller Chorus Director Leslie Dala Set & Costume Design Isabella Bywater Lighting Design Robert Wierzel Choreographer Elena Araos Stage Manager Sheila Munn English Surtitles Kelly Rourke
Reviewer Ed Farolan
Veteran Stage Director Sir Jonathan Miller captured the mood of Verdi's 19th century opera in his mise-en-scene of this opera considered as one of the most popular and loved operas in the world. Miller likewise did a magnificent job directing Canadian soprano Erin Wall who delivered a thoroughly dynamic performance as Violetta. She received an extended standing ovation on opening night.
I was most impressed by this Vancouverite singer's handling of the death scene at the finale. The grace and emotional intensity of her singing surprised me because, despite her prostrate position, lying in bed during her dying moments, her voice range carried through the QET with vibrancy.
Admirably complementing Wall were the father and son team, baritone James Westman as Germont, and tenor David Pomeroy as his son, Alfredo. Both had round and magnificent voices that impressed the audience.
Conductor Jacques Lacombe and the VO orchestra were impeccable in their accompaniment of the singers, and Chorus Director Leslie Dala, together with Choreographer Elena Araos, did a fabulous job with the chorus, especially during the party scenes of Violetta (Libiamo) and Flora (the Gypsy and Matador numbers).
The set and costume design by Isabella Bywater faithfullly reflected the 19th century Parisienne ambience, and the lighting design by Robert Wierzel created the different moods of the plot, from the bright and happy party scenes, to the gloomy and sombre effects in the final scene.
The jam-packed QET audience enjoyed the performance enormously. Unlike other operas that last almost four hours, this show, to the delight of the audience, ended at 10.30, lasting only three hours, including scene pauses and a 25-minute intermission.
Buy your tickets before the show sells out! This is a show that shouldn't be missed, especially when you have a chance to see an opera directed by Jonathan Miller, one of the world’s most fascinating and creative directors.
© 2011 Ed Farolan