Glyndebourne La Traviata free online in the Telegraph. The bad news is that it's this: "all surface, no substance. The setting, framed by two curved and textured walls, is blandly modern, populated in the two party scenes by fashionistas and arty types, staring out across the stage like Tussaud waxworks. All of which prompts too many basic questions. Who are these people? What have they to do with the social distinctions and sexual stigmas of Verdi’s opera? " Read the full article in the Financial Times here.
[Now that I've watched it myself, I think it's wonderful! I cannot face the ROH production any longer, even with an extremely good cast (which is doesn't always get). This new Glyndebourne production is so elegant that it's almost minimalist, but there are some very beautiful moments, like the scene at Flora's party lit with jewel colours. Mark Elder conducts the LPO with similarly elegant gloss - gosh, I cant remember a recent La Trav as beautiful as this, which also supplies the passion the acting lacks. Venera Gimadieva has a stunningly lovely voice - gasp in awe after her big numbers! She's definitely worth hearing again. But will she develop better acting skills ? She makes the right gestures but I'd like to see more personal conviction.]
.La Traviata wouldn't be nearly as popular as it is if it didn't speak to people in different times and cultures; if it didn't resonate with their feelings. No composer sets out to write a historical documentary: good composers deal with human emotions. It's silly to judge productions simply by the way they look. It''s much more important to assess a production in terms of how it expresses the drama in an opera.. That involves an understanding of the emotional content in any opera. For various reasons, many people don't read feelings well, and emotions might seem difficult to deal with. But the absence of empathy is a handicap when it comes to understanding the arts, or artists. Without emotion, and empathy, we aren't fully human. There's no such thing as "interpretation-free". Emotional intelligence begets visual intelligence. Operas deal with intense emotion. Can we really engage without emotional range?
photo : Richard Hubert Smith, courtesy Glyndebourne Festival Opera