Disregarding my youthful ways, I’m a total sucker for opera. Attached with a snobby sniff, a night at the opera always guarantees a majestic performance, resulting in a hair jump and jaw drop. Blending in with the elite can be extremely hard work, especially wearing Converses and jeans, but visiting your local theatre suddenly makes you feel at home. Whilst the older and “wiser” generation were out in force, the Hawth‘s Foyer was thriving with expectation and everybody seemed to walk around with slightly extended necks…or perhaps I was imagining this. I’m sure we would all agree that not much happens in Crawley so Amande Concert‘s La Traviata was going to be our highly classed treat.
With no Nan as my beard, I declared my secret love affair with classical music. This outburst caused mockery within my living room as I hid behind my iPad, booking my Little Mix tickets whilst watching the Proms (I would like to add they were a birthday present for my little sister – thank you!). Anyway, my fascination and curiosity grew as I read the Russian State Ballet and Opera House, starring alongside a live orchestra, were performing La Traviata in Italian. Hallelujah!
“La Traviata (The Fallen Woman) is a courtesan called Violetta whose life is a round of endless parties until a young nobleman, Alfredo Germont, convinces her to live in the country with him. The couple are deeply in love and all is blissful contentment until Alfredo’s father arrives and tells Violetta that the affair is threatening the family’s honour. Desperate to save Alfredo from disgrace Violetta leaves their rural idyll and returns to Paris and into the arms of another…Shadowing Violetta is the disease that so often afflicted morally questionable 19th-century women: consumption”
Amande Concerts 2015
From the set design to the cast, everything was robed in blood red, angelic white and classic black. Other than Christmas pantomimes, it is very rare you see a whopping great set like La Traviata‘s. An impressive and beautiful surprise from a touring company! With a painted gushing red stream from a centred collapsed heart, clocks decorated and hinted at the tragic ending within the greatest love story. Relying upon their visuals, the red was definitely the show’s new sexy. Firing many cupid’s arrows, every voice sings with compassion and abuse – forget the English surtitles!
Wishing I could understand Italian (an incredibly sexy language), I couldn’t be bothered to read our boring English translation – La Traviata was too magical for that! The characters fed their emotions to the heart, created beautiful vocals for the ears and elegant gestures for the eyes. Luckily, I wasn’t holding a glass to test the power of voice! The men bulldozed triumph whilst a single woman rejoiced. Make way for the leading lady – Violetta!
Charming the audience with frequent bows from the conductor and musical melodies disguises the changing between acts, the production moved with such grace. Every prop had purpose. There were two particular moments which stabbed my creative heart. I loved…or should I say hated…Alfredo chucking money at Violetta around the Pool table. With aims to shock and disgust, it was heartbreaking to watch Violetta shamed in front of the party guests and Alfredo weep at his sudden insanity. Two lovebirds fluttering wildly and singing the sweetest songs, but continuing to bash the bars of their cages. The other moment (spoiler alert) is Violetta ripping a red cape from what appears to be a coat stand, but reveals to be a cross, signifying her dying moment. Violetta sacrifices herself to the heavenly spotlight so I’m forced to swallow that lump of a possible Kleenex advert.
Producer Alexej Ignatow aims to “bring world class opera to local audiences”…well he certainly achieves this! The first applause was the only confidence boost needed to ensure they were safe hands. I hate to use clichés, but I don’t care…they all had voices from angels. No bum notes. They belted. They harmonised. They soothed. For a Hawth performance, I felt my standing ovation was completely well deserved and hope they will return to Crawley to transport me to their Amande Concerts’ wonderland again. I extend my hand for The Fallen Woman to shine bright on my blog.
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