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Press Reviews for La traviata

 

‘ This is a Traviata that pulls none of its punches and that gains rather than loses force from the intimacy of the staging and the venue. It is tempting to say that the offstage team are the real stars. Nicky Shaw’s handsome but adaptable set, Mark Jonathan’s stunning lighting effects, Annilese Miskimmon’s brisk direction and, above all, pianist Susannah Wapshott’s musical direction combine to make the small seem effortlessly grand…Yet it’s the singers who are most tested by small venues. Proximity cruelly magnifies any shortcoming and leaves nowhere to hide. Without exception, this cast cope magnificently, pushing the emotional buttons as unerringly as could be imagined in any much grander production. Elin Pritchard’s Violetta never lets Verdi’s gymnastic soprano exercises dull the emotional edge…Robyn Lyn Evans makes a geeky but engaging Alfredo, and David Stephenson navigates the motivational twists and turns of Giorgio nimbly. Both sing up a storm, and the other cast members excel in the piece’s rich harmonies. It is a treat to the ear as well as the eye. If one of the purposes of these tours is to introduce live opera to people for whom it may be a new experience, this Traviata, against the odds, is a great place to start.’
****The Scottish Daily Express
 

 

‘…it’s down to the cast to make it work, which they do in a way that is ultimately an emotional knock-out. Elin Pritchard’s Violetta bounces between vibrant coquettishness and tender fragility, fuelled by an exhilarating vocal dexterity…No less impressive is Robyn Lyn Evans’ Alfredo, wonderfully geeky in a bespectacled 1950s way, but sung with strongly appealing sensitivity and anguish. David Stephenson is quite brilliant as his father, presented here as an English-style vicar, which actually suits Germont’s fair-minded concern. Hardly a weak link, in fact, and sterling work from the super-efficient Susannah Wapshott, whose solo piano accompaniement suits the minimalist approach to a T.’

**** The Scotsman
 

 

‘With an upright in the corner and a total cast of eight, Scottish Opera's new fold-up Traviata is Verdi distilled, set to spend the next few months trundling the Highlands, islands and lowlands. It's an intimate take by necessity, but it's stylishly done, well sung and captures much of the opera's emotional essence. At its heart is a breathtaking Violetta. The young Welsh soprano Elin Pritchard turned heads when she stood in for Carolyn Sampson as Scottish Opera's Anne Trulove in The Rake's Progress last season; evidently the company recognised something of a star, and given free reign as leading lady she is a vocal standout. Supple, husky, beautifully natural in the high notes and seductively full in the low, she has mastered the technical demands of this role…The rest of the cast is strong, and Susannah Wapshott charges through the piano score with stamina of steel…director Annilese Miskimmon has done a lot with a little production. Set in 1950s Paris, the designs (by Nicky Shaw) give a whiff of the period's reckless, desperate decadence. Clever shadow play adds a touch of film noire – it's a black-and-white world in which Violetta operates in scarlet red. Instead of shrinking the drama, this production draws us inside it.’

**** The Guardian

 

 

‘…this Traviata had more soul than many a performance with chorus and orchestra…The director-designer team of Annilese Miskimmon and Nicky Shaw have turned La traviata into a critique of the commoditisation of women, drawing parallels between the 19th-century Parisian courtesan and today’s catwalk model…Resourceful décor and lighting, including silhouette and false perspective, expand the imaginative scope of the stage – all on a shoestring budget. The acting is superb; the singing is pretty good, too. Elin Pritchard’s Violetta hits her notes fearlessly, packs a punch at ‘Love Me, Alfredo’…and raises goose-bumps in the finale; like Robyn Lyn Evans’s blith and boyish Alfredo, she knows how to sing naturally and match words to vocal line. David Stephenson’s Germont deserves his cabaletta, and Susannah Wapshott directs from the piano with such feeling for Verdian style that she really out to be conducting a mainstage production. This felt like one.’
**** Financial Times

 

Elin Pritchard’s Violetta was a fiery, emancipated, self-aware individual, fuelled by her stellar soprano voice, while Robyn Lyn Evans’s Alfredo was a powerful, diamond-edged tenor. David Stephenson’s massive performance as Alfredo’s ultra-serious dad, Giorgio, was pole-axingly impressive.’
*** The Herald.

 

 

‘…two hours of operatic drama and singing which nearly raised the roof off the Garrison itself... The sets and costumes were excellent, as was the casting of the small but dedicated and undoubtedly talented team. The role of Violetta was ably performed by Linda Richardson…She was helped – in no small part – by Jésus Léon, who played Alfredo. The two did well to capture the drama of the post-war scene…Other stars of the cast include Giorgio Germont, Alfredo’s father played by David Stephenson…Special mention, too, is due to music director and pianist Susannah Wapshott who, musically, linked the whole thing together…If the crowd’s reaction on Tuesday was anything to go by, Scottish Opera would do well to make a return trip.’
Shetland Times
 

 

 

‘The linchpin of the performance was Susannah Wapshott, directing from the piano with such feeling for Verdi style that she really ought to be conducting a mainstage production. She made this performance feel like one. Her taut phrasing and virtuoso touch, never covering her singers, had me constantly imagining the sound of Verdi’s orchestra, so that – to name just one instance – the final Act 2 tableau was revealed in all its majestic breadth. Wapshott’s is a name to watch.’
Opera 
 

 

 

 

Linda Richardson’s Violetta was the star of the evening, superb from the first note to last: pingingly accurate coloratura, on-pitch vocal line, giving lyrical curve and lift to her melodies. She was a Violetta you gave your heart to…From the nine (eight singers plus pianist) this was a seriously good performance and production of Verdi’s opera.’
Perthshire Advertiser