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12 February, 2010

La Traviata, Sydney Opera House

La Traviata, Sydney Opera House, Fri 22nd January 2010

Violetta Valéry - Elvira Fatykhova
Alfredo Germont - Aldo De Toro
Giorgio Germont - Jonathan Summers
Marquis - Andrew Jones
Baron Douphol - Shane Lawrencev
Flora - Domenica Matthews
Gastone - Andrew Brunsdon
Doctor Grenvil - Stephen Bennett
Conductor - Phillipe Auguin
Director - Elijah Moshinsky (rehearsed by Richard Jones)
Designer - Michael Yeargan

Dear Colleagues,

You can hear the two famous Traviata duets on a brilliant skit on YouTube choreographed and filmed at the city markets in Valencia in Spain  It is almost as much fun as the real thing in the opera house!

In its turn, the Friday night Sydney Opera House opening of La Traviata with Elvira Fatykhova, Aldo di Toro and Jonathan Summers was a magnificent spectacle.  I heard Sherrill Milnes sing Papa Germont in the early 1990s and he showed why he was then in a class of his own.  Also a class act is Mr Summers who pulled it out of the bag to give a voluble display of warmth and balance in his portrayal of the manipulative father without whose input the story would be boring indeed. 

Ms Fatykhova started somewhat weakly but rose to the occasion for her big numbers with just enough heft to be heard in the relatively small Sydney Opera House.  She is a fine actress.  There seemed to be something odd towards the end of the Sempre Libera cabaletta whereby she sang momentarily without orchestra but when they came in again it seemed to be in another key - perhaps I was dreaming.  She held a more-than-respectable E flat (if it was an E flat) topping off a creamy act and to great applause. 

Mr Di Toro sang well but wisely omitted the (very) high note while running off stage at the end of O mio rimoso, o infamia.  I think it would be a D. 

Chorus and orchestra were up to their usual high standards and the crowds were satisfied at this the third Friday night opening in as many weeks. 

There was a time when opening nights were usually sold out but this is no longer the case.  It is my view that unsold seats should be granted to conservatorium students, musical people, retired opera singers and/or underprivileged people rather than simply giving them to company employees and their families.  One administration employee was seated with his party in the centre of the front of the dress circle which hardly sends the right ‘message’. Yet again, one senses that the company has put on a good quality opera in spite of the management and not because of it.  I earnestly hope that I am wrong in these concerns. 

Comments by Andrew Byrne ..