New York - The Metropolitan Opera, at Lincoln Center, currently is presenting Willy Decker’s production of the opera« La Traviata » starring Nathalie Dessay in the role of Violetta. The opera consists of three acts composed by Giusseppe Verdi, and is based on a play adapted from the novel: « La dame aux Camélias » by Alexandre Dumas.
Translated « La Traviata » is « the fallen woman », and from the beginning of the performance, Violetta’s illness is shown to the audience, as she enters on stage coughing violently.
At first, she is wearing a simple red dress matching with the colour of the sofa, which is a representation of her frivolous party girl nature. The giant clock placed on the wall simply shows to us that her time is running out. Violetta understands her fate and wants to enjoy her life until the end. But, this is complicated by the fact that there is a man, Alfredo, who’s in love with her. She knows of Alredo’s love for her and eventually allows herself to open up to him and fall in love with him.
The first and last moment of happiness for Violetta is living in her apartment with her love, Alfredo. This love is symbolized by the Camellias that are used to decorate the apartment. The lovers are shown dressed in robes that are adorned with Camellias, additonally the couch, and the clock is covered in the floral pattern. Confined to her apartment, both Alredo and Violetta are happy to remain in their own world, isolated from the rest of civilization. Violetta pays no heed to her disease, focusing on her blossoming relationship with Alfredo. But, the lovers’ moment together is fleeting soon Alfredo’s father forbades Violetta to see Alfredo.
The scene of Camellias fade signifying Violetta transforming back into the girl in the red party-dress, in an attempt to forget Alfredo. However, when Alfredo discovers that Violetta’s rejection of him wasn’t her but was his father’s fault, Alfredo lashes out. By the time, he reunites with Violetta it is too late, she is dying in his arms.
Death is symbolized by her black attire, and the unknown man resting on a bench in the background is death looming, waiting to take her.
Verdi’s beautiful music, and the strong symbolism in the staging establish a tragic, and dramatic tension. This is furthered by the superb performance of Nathalie Dessay, who is not only a great singer, but also a wonderful actress. She can express her emotions with her voice of course, but also with her body which follows every change in mood and feeling.
“La Traviata” runs through at the Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center, New York
Lifestyle - Spectacle
by Margaux Bazzali | Friday, 20 January 2012