Interview: Director Annilese Miskimmon
'I want to produce an authentic La traviata that doesn't deny the beauty of the music and the beauty of Violetta's false life, but you also have to make people remember that it's a nasty story.'
Director Annilese Miskimmon is outlining her approach to perhaps Giuseppe Verdi’s best-known opera, based on the novel La dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils and premiered in 1853. The story, in a nutshell, is of a vivacious prostitute who falls in love with one of her clients, gives him up to save his family’s reputation, then dies of consumption (tuberculosis). However, Annilese wants to dig beneath ‘the patina of respectability’ of most productions of La traviata to explore some rather more unsettling ideas.
One is the immediacy of illness. ‘Our only exposure to tuberculosis is in the opera world. When we see a soprano looking gorgeous in her death throes, it does disturb me that we aren’t engaging with the reality of this death,’ says Annilese.
Read the full interview with Annilese Miskimmon from Scottish Opera's Brio magazine by following this link.