I loved it at ENO and OperaUpClose, so why not Royal Opera? I used to think I didn’t like Verdi, then a friend talked me into Simon Boccanegra at the ENO which I enjoyed. Interested, I tried OperaUpClose’s Traviata and loved it. It was a tender story, delicately told and carried a huge emotional charge. The same charge was there for the ENO’s Traviata. It was grander and more dramatic but there were also great choruses and terrific orchestration. I’ve loved plenty of Royal Opera productions, most notably their astonishing Wozzeck last year, so I tried their Traviata.
The singing was superb, the orchestra magnificent, so why did I leave at the second interval? Party I didn’t get the sense of being drawn into a terrific drama and hardly cared what happened to Violetta. The superb soloists sang their arias to the audience who applauded them, then went off in the excessively long intervals to drink their G & Ts and their champagne or pack the restaurants. I drank my free plastic cup of water and just felt so alienated. I don’t think these were people who would have appreciated Wozzeck or Satyagraha – they just loved the experience of Grand Opera and the singers showed off to them. Now I understand why I didn’t like Verdi or Puccini – this is the Verdi I don’t like. I am looking forward to the ENO’s Carmen tomorrow. I know the audience will be full of real people enjoying wonderful music and an absorbing story but I’ll give the more famous operas at the ROH a miss in future.