I always cry at the opera

Amidst our below mentioned circumstances, we went to the opera in our new local theatre in Woking. Most of the repertoire doesn’t really appeal to us that much, but I find La Traviata quite irresistible. The quintessence of opera, really! I was not quite sure what to expect from the Krasnoyarsk Opera and Ballet Company (from Siberia) performing on a Saturday afternoon in Woking, but I guess I was pleasantly surprised. Particularly by the soprano playing the part of Violetta – she was very good. Her counterpart Alfredo wasn’t as good, using much too much of that Russian vibrato. And then there was his hair. We just couldn’t keep our eyes away from it. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find a picture of him – oh, how I would like to have shared that laugh with you… (but close your eyes and picture a very large man with a curly mane, cut short at the front and long in the back)

Another of the singers however is very prominently represented online – a qualified guess is that most of the posts are made by the (apparently very vain) man himself. If this has your interest, check him out yourself. He played Alfredo’s father, a baritone, a very prominent part in this opera and he did sing wonderfully, I have to admit. After a not so fantastic bit in the first act, he came back with a vengeance for the 3rd and 4th. His name is

Dmitri Hvorostovsky.

The accompanying orchestra – whether local or Russian I don’t know – was not up to scratch, I’m afraid, causing some wincing on my – and I’m certain of many on my fellow opera-goers – part.

However, it was quite lovely to hear and see this wonderful opera once more. And as I always do, I cried towards the sad, sad ending, as if I hadn’t known what would happen. But – after all, it’s opera, it’s supposed to be sad! And – hats off to the old guys, Verdi, Puccini, Mozart et al, it works – at least on yours truly.

PS: If you think you know nothing of opera and never want to, you’ll be surprised to hear the lead theme of La Traviata. Because you know it – although probably not in this version (with my favourite tenor).

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