At Lyric, a ‘La Traviata’ of Great Intimacy Amid the Social Whirl of Paris

Feb 20, 2019 575

BY: Hedy Weiss

In one form or another, most of the great opera classics are about two things: love and death. While some explore these interlocking themes by looking at the lives of the gods and other mythic creatures, the Italian masters most often focused on the fates of ordinary human beings, even if many were royalty and aristocrats. And few did it as powerfully, or with a more achingly beautiful sound (and all the vocal challenges that can come with it) than Giuseppe Verdi.

The production of Verdi’s “La Traviata” (“The Fallen Woman”) that returned to Lyric Opera for the first time since 2013 is a beauty on all counts. But its greatest virtue is the way it emphasizes the essential intimacy of the work, with each of its three major characters delivering virtuosic, soliloquy-like arias, as well as joining for richly dramatic duets and trios against the backdrop of the lavish social whirl and blatant hypocrisy of mid-19th century high society Paris.

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