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  • Writer's pictureNeill Kovacic-Clarke

REVIEW: LA TRAVIATA @ THEATRE ROYAL PLYMOUTH

🎭 La traviata


📍 The Lyric, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 2TR


🗓 Thursday 2nd November 2023


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

OPERATIC PERFECTION


This week something quite incredible is happening on The Lyric stage at the Theatre Royal Plymouth and I was privileged enough to be there to witness it on Thursday evening. The Welsh National Opera is in town and they delivered a mesmerising performance of opera classic La traviata.


Translating as The Fallen Woman, La traviata follows the tragic story of Parisian courtesan Violetta, who gives up everything she has as she attempts to find true love after she meets Alfredo at a party and he confesses that he has loved her since he first saw her a year before. We discover in the first act that Violetta is suffering from an illness, although her friends seem unconcerned and rather uninterested. Alfredo is however by her side during a coughimg fit, and her whimsical facade fades as she begins to reciprocate his passion.


Soprano Stacey Alleaume was outstanding as she triumphantly portrayed each and every nuance of Violetta with utter precision. She drew the audience into the soul of the character and you could almost feel her heartbeat. I was completely transfixed by her truly sensational performance and she seemed to sing with effortless ease. She had impeccable believability throughout and she delivered one of my favourite performances of the year - across all genres of theatre. As she closed the first act you could have heard a pin drop in the auditorium as the entire audience was transfixed by her vocal beauty.

We follow Violetta as she decides to give up everything and move to the country with Alfredo, but he feels shame when he discovers that she is selling her possessions to pay their bills and leaves to raise funds himself. While he is away Violetta receives a visit from Alfredo's father Giorgio who orders her to abandon her relationship with his son through fear that it is impacting negatively on the rest of the family.


Violetta unwillingly agrees because she believes this will secure a successful future for Alfredo. Unfortunately Alfredo believes that Violetta has betrayed him for another and heads off to avenge himself.


Giorgio was convincingly portrayed by Mark S Doss who was deliciously unlikeable. He rather successfully hides his selfishness and misogyny behind a careful mask to get what he wants. His voice has a beautiful tone which adds a great depth to the piece.

At a party Alfredo publicly shames Violetta as he seeks his revenge, but this revenge is fuelled by a deep passion which emits from the stage and he soon regrets his actions. All too late, Alfredo realises the truth and the lovers are reunited just before the breathtaking yet tragic finale.


Exquisite tenor David Junghoon Kim portrays the besotted Alfredo with utter conviction, and is instantly likeable. He is incredible as he portrays how tortured the character is and he sweeps you into the depths of his emotions with ease. His voice is warming and powerfully smooth and he is a joy to listen to.


All the drama, mixed with the wonderfully recognisable music from Verdi make this my favourite opera I have seen to date. The production values on display are incredible with stunningly elegant costumes and set design, along with a commanding performance from the live orchestra, expertly conducted.


It is rare for a technical theatre nerd such as myself to not take note of the lighting design, but the fact that I didn't speaks volumes. It was so subtle and blended terrifically with the on stage action that was is noteworthy in its sublime simplicity.

No review of this production would be complete without mentioning the sublime dancers who appear in the second act party scene. A shift change to the feel of the rest of the production, this was somewhat a comic relief to what is quite a heavy story. Special mention to dance captain Sirena Tocco as well as Alastair Postlethwaite who was outstanding dancing the role of the bullfighter.


La traviata only has one performance remaining at Theatre Royal Plymouth but this is NOT TO BE MISSED. There are limited for tonight's show remaining so head to www.theatreroyal.com to secure yours before it's too late. All tickets for under 16's are just £5 each!


Neill Kovacic-Clarke


All views are my own and I pride myself on being honest, fair and free from influence. Theatre is subjective and it is important to remember that all views expressed are just those of one reviewer.


My ticket for this performance of La traviata was gifted by Theatre Royal Plymouth who invited me to watch the show in exchange for my honest review. The fact that my ticket was gifted played no part in the content of my review or the star rating given.

CAST LIST:

Stacey Alleaume as Violetta Valéry; David Junghoon Kim as Alfredo Germont; Mark S Doss as Giorgio Germont; James Cleverton as Baron Douphol; Sian Meinir as Annina; Howard Kirk as Gaston; Philip Lloyd-Evans as Marquis d’Obigny; Martin Lloyd as Dr Grenvil; Francesca Saracino as Flora Bervoix; George Newton-Fitzgerald as The Messenger and Flora’s Servant; Simon Crosby Battle as Giuseppe

Dancers: Lucy Burns; Belinda Chapman; Ángel Gabriel Gutiérrez; Ashton Hall; Bianca Hopkins; Alastair Postlethwaite; Sirena Tocco

Ensemble: Made up of members of the WNO chorus


RUNNING TIME (approx):

2 hours 45 minutes, including 2 intervals and a pause


NOTES:

Sung in Italian with English surtitles


The Theatre Royal Plymouth is the principle home of the performing arts in the South West and is the largest and most attended regional producing theatre in the country. Their mission is to develop and deepen people's engagement with pioneering creativity in Plymouth and the South West, delivering experiences that spark delight, expression and fulfilment. The venue offers three performance spaces of various sizes, the largest being The Lyric which accommodates the big touring productions. The Drum and The Lab are smaller, intimate spaces and often offer pioneering and community productions.

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