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11 October 2018 @ 08:16 am
The annual Welsh National Opera sojourn in Oxford moves about a bit. From last year's end of November, which I didn't make it to due to the Joy of Labyrinthitis, it moved forward to this week. To which I can't make it to Saturday's War and Peace due to being in Scotland, but did get myself a ticket last night to La Traviata, which I haven't seen in years.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening - I was going to say 'enjoyable rather than exhillerating', which sounds like I'm damning with faint praise, which wouldn't be fair. It's just that the last thing I was Siegfried and I think that Wagner might have spoiled me. It was a good production (David McVicar) of a classic piece, which I had never actually seen done lavishly before. Well-sung, well-acted*, and a fab matador dance, I would have liked a little more sharpness of dramatic tone at times, whereas it went for the more purely romantic drama. Also, I like my Germonts terribly anguished from Act 2, not just the end. What made the evening for me was Act 3, which really concentrated the emotional and dramatic weight to portray a character in the process of dying, not just waiting to sing her last line.

Though to be honest one of the best moments was my realisation towards the end of Act 2 that I was at the theatre and still fully awake despite having come straight to the theatre from work. I had deliberately held off buying my ticket until the preceding day in order to only go if I didn't have freshers' flu, and the no-congestion evening was great. It is so much easier to appreciate the performance when you're not rubbing your eyes every five minutes.

Have Angela Gheorghiu and Leo Nucci as broadcast on TV in my formative years.

*The internet tells me that tenor Kang Wang is about 30 and he looked significantly younger, which is a great help to characterization by having Alfredo be a callow youth overwhelmed by emotion and not dealing with it well, rather than suddenly being unpleasant in the second half of act 2.

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