La Traviata review at Royal Opera House
Two important cast changes do little to raise the overall temperature in what is essentially a dramatically disengaged revival of the popular romantic classic, though at least one of them provides an individual performance of some distinction.
This is the Alfredo of the Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja, who suggests the young man’s gaucheness and diffidence in the opening party scene and throughout the role adopts an appropriate stance and expression for each and every situation. His vocalism is of an altogether superior class. He shapes every phrase with care and imagination, and the sheer artistry of his singing, together with a most attractive natural set of vocal colours, draws the ear again and again. Covent Garden should plan a new production for Calleja, who is too important an artist merely to slot into revivals, and in a nominal second cast at that.
Anthony Michaels-Moore draws on his experience and solid voice for a Germont that is present and correct but dull. His anglicised Italian vowels are much in evidence. Both these principals, as well as Norah Amsellem’s vocally confident, dramatically uncharismatic Violetta would benefit from more incisive and detailed direction. Interaction between them is woefully limited.
As on the first night, the smaller roles are good, though at Covent Garden one expects the best. Those registering most positively are Jeremy White’s Marquis d’Obigny, Robert Murray’s Gastone and Gillian Knight’s Annina. The rest are sketchily drawn.
Royal Opera House, January 31-February 15
- Giuseppe Verdi
- Richard Eyre, Patrick Young
- Royal Opera
- Cast includes
- Norah Amsellem, Joseph Calleja, Anthony Michaels-Moore
- Running time
- 3hrs 20mins
We need your help…
When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.
The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.
We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.
Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.