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Review: La Traviata, Bristol Hippodrome
THE acclaimed David McVicar production of Verdi’s romantic tragedy came to Bristol Hippodrome this week, brought by the Welsh National Opera.
In 19th century Paris a courtesan, Violetta, who suffers from tuberculosis, is won over from her life of decadence by the love of Alfredo, a young gentleman – but the lovers are forced apart and although they are eventually reconciled, it comes too late for Violetta, who dies in Alfredo’s arms.
Canadian soprano Joyce El-Khoury, on her UK debut tour, portrays the doomed courtesan with assurance, skipping between joy and sorrow convincingly, and projecting her superb voice clearly whether wrapped in Alfredo’s arms or wracked with consumptive pains in the final act.
Replacing Carlos Osuna for the night as Alfredo, Paul Charles Clarke sang his duets with great passion, although his voice was somewhat lost in the chorus, notably in the first act’s famous drinking song.
The supporting cast, especially Jason Howard as Alfredo’s father, complemented the leads well, much as the opulent sets and costumes fit the tone of the piece, with their contrast between sunlit happiness and stuffy conventionalism.
A second performance is on Friday at 7.15pm, and the company are also performing The Marriage of Figaro tonight (Thursday) and on Saturday.