Verdi’s La Traviata bears the test of time

~posted by Renee Beale, KMFA announcer… Renee was fortunate to have attended the ALO season premiere of La Traviata

“‘La Traviata last night a failure. My fault or the singers?’ Time will tell.” This has become Giuseppe Verdi’s most famous letter written about the opening night of his opera in 1853, when the performance was not met with success.

His written words convey his faith in the public’s awareness of what is good art and what is not. Opera audiences since then have proven that Verdi produced good art, and its popularity perseveres today. La Traviata has become one of the most performed operas in North America, and it doesn’t matter how many times I see it, I cry every time during Act II when Giorgio Germont requests Violetta to leave the younger Germont, because she is sullying their good name. The performances in Act II by Pamela Armstrong and Grant Youngblood were exceptional, not only in their singing performances, but in the connection they made with each other as actors. Ms. Armstrong’s accurate emotional portrayal of love mixed with shame, and acceptance of knowing the consequences of her choices would ruin her chance at true love, were captivating.

photo: courtesy of ALO's Facebook page! 🙂

While driving to ALO’s season premiere of this beloved opera, I was pleased to catch the on-air conversation that KMFA hosts Dianne Donovan and Jeffrey Blair had with Kevin Patterson, the General Director of the Austin Lyric Opera. Kevin mentioned quite emphatically that opera, and particularly La Traviata, have never been more relevant due to the social implications during that era that continue to exist today. I am always amazed how societies resist change, especially when it comes to whom one marries and whether that coupling will enhance social status (or dilute it). All the performances along with the stage design were extraordinar, and the emotionally charged connections between the actors were strong and believable. “Let’s drink to that sweet ecstasy” that is La Traviata. Bravo to ALO!


~posted by Renee Beale, KMFA announcer. You can read more about KMFA’s on-air hosts by visiting our website.


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