The San Carlo opera season in Naples closed with the “opera” par excellence, a title loved by the public all over the world, in a solid performance, apt for audiences who prefer a traditional, intimate staging of the most often performed of all operatic works. La traviata tells the well-known story of Violetta Valery, a Parisian courtesan doomed to die of tuberculosis, who falls in love with a young passionate but immature lover, is unjustly accused and despised by him because of his father’s intrigues, and eventually regains his love just before passing away.

Maria Mudryak (Violetta) © Francseco Squeglia
Maria Mudryak (Violetta)
© Francseco Squeglia

In this frequently revived production, director Lorenzo Amato perfectly captured the tragedy, as the public’s emotions are aroused every time. Amato’s staging idea was convincing once again, and the singing and acting were of good quality. It is essentially a traditional staging set in the 19th century, where the director indulges Verdi’s condemnation of the hollow society grounded on hypocrisy and mind-numbing pleasure, and to this end accentuates the contrast between the party scenes and the heart-breaking love and despair duets.

Ezio Frigerio’s sets are rather unreal and minimalist, with raindrops falling down a transparent backdrop. Props are down to the bone, the focus firmly on the characters and their interactions; Franca Squarciapino designed beautiful and stylish 19th-century costumes.

<i>La traviata</i> © Francseco Squeglia
La traviata
© Francseco Squeglia

Mariya Mudryak created a credible portrayal as Violetta, although not as intense and dramatically touching as one could wish in some moments of soulful despair over her adverse fate. She displayed quite a flexible voice, maybe not really strong enough for the role, though, with which she was good at revealing Violetta’s inner turmoil. She could add a natural lyricism to her sound and, in the final act, she was strikingly torn between hope and despair. A peak of intensity was reached in her "Amami, Alfredo!", sung with poignant pathos.

Alessandro Scotto di Luzio’s rendering of Alfredo was less impressive, as the young man struck by love and jealousy needed more depth and characterisation. Also, his tone was not as wholehearted as one would expect, his voice being slight at times. However the tenor's phrasing was quite refined and the quality of his acting was satisfactory, and eventually, he was an acceptable fervent and grief-stricken lover, as written by Verdi. As Giorgio Germont, Roberto de Candia showed a robust baritone and some smart phrasing, along with the gravity which allowed him to sing beautifully his signature aria "Di Provenza il mar, il suol".

Roberto de Candia (Germont) © Francseco Squeglia
Roberto de Candia (Germont)
© Francseco Squeglia

The rest of the cast also performed well: Mariangela Marini as Flora Bervoix and Ma Fei as Annina stood out with their excellent performances. Also good were Lorenzo Izzo as Gastone, Roberto Accurso as Duphol, and Lin Chenyang and Francesco Musinu, who sang respectively the Marquis d'Obigny and Doctor Grenvil.

Domenico Longo conducted one of Verdi’s most lyrical titles with exquisite allure. He was able to highlight all the opera’s dramatic contours, with every bit of the score made meaningfully consistent to the whole, while taking special care of the dynamics. The chorus, prepared by Gea Garatti Ansini, was excellent, too.

***11