La Traviata, Goldsmiths College 9 June

****

I set off to see this production by OperaGold, Goldmiths College’s student opera company, purely out of curiosity.  Absolutely the last thing I expected  to encounter was an absolutely stellar Violetta (Chien Chun Lin) who had not only mastered her very demanding vocal part but also proved to be a consummate actress (and a strikingly attractive young woman as well).  Her combination of absolute commitment to the role with singing on the note rather than somewhere nearby put me in mind of Ermonela Jaho or Irina Prokina…

And there were other things to admire about the performance:  some very precise direction (by Nan Christie) made a lot more sense of the crowd scenes than is normally the case–I was especially impressed by the leader of the gipsy dancers who danced with the correct controlled abandon as well as singing and striking her tambourine.  This may sound like faint praise but it’s not meant to–you see far too many Traviatas where the crowd scenes are merely an embarrassment or at best an excuse to display whatever bling can be found in the store cupboard.

The orchestra played very soundly under Tim Hooper and the ultra-traditional production concept confined to a rather thin strip of stage worked very well, simply because it was so well-thought-through and precisely executed.

There were some less outstanding contributions that I will pass over in silence, but generally I was very very impressed…

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