Met HD season ends with acclaimed ’La Traviata’ on Saturday

Thursday Apr 12, 2012

The 2011-2012 Live at the Met HD season concludes with Willy Decker's acclaimed production of La Traviata on Saturday, April 14, 2012 in movie theaters throughout the country.

Acclaimed French soprano Natalie Dessay makes her Met role debut as Violetta, the fallen woman who sacrifices her last chance for love. Matthew Polenzani co-stars as Alfredo Germont, a young man from a good family who is willing to risk everything for Violetta. Dmitri Hvorostovsky sings Giorgio Germont, Alfredo's father, who disapproves of Violetta's lifestyle but is moved by her plight.

Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi leads Verdi's romantic tragedy, one of the most-loved operas of all time, in Decker's highly theatrical production, a hit when it premiered at the Met in 2010. Soprano Deborah Voigt hosts the transmission.

In reviewing the production this week in the New York Times, critic Anthony Tommasini wrote: "Last season the Metropolitan Opera had an enormous success with Willy Decker’s grippingly spare, almost surreal new production ofVerdi’s "Traviata." It has come back this season as a vehicle for the soprano Natalie Dessay. Ms. Dessay missed the first performance on Friday night due to illness, so the veteran soprano Hei-Kyung Hong, an admirable artist, took over.

"On Tuesday night Ms. Dessay sang the second performance, conducted by Fabio Luisi. This was her first time portraying the touchstone role of Violetta at the Met. And before she uttered a note, Ms. Dessay, who had originally intended to be an actress, made a wrenching impression as the fatally ill courtesan...

"It is pointless to separate singing and acting in a Dessay performance. Every vocal phrase is impelled by the emotion and dramatic intention of the moment. After Alfredo’s courtship Violetta, who is cynical about love, ponders whether it might just be possible to take his ardor seriously.

"At the end, when the lights came up and Ms. Dessay stood onstage for a solo bow, looking haunted in a frumpy coat over her satin slip, the ovation was huge."

To find out more about this and other Met HD broadcasts, visit this website.


  • , 2012-04-15 19:42:13

    I had the pleasure of being at the Met on Saturday and "listening" to the wonderfully lyrical opera. But viewing it was horrible. The beauty of LaTraviata was absent; instead - ugliness in the stark, cheap production that was a take-off of "Men in Black". Absolutely horrible. And the audience in the left side boxes missed so much of the performance which was enacted out of sight near the left wing. Again, a horrible, depressing set for a beautiful opera. Cynthia Nardin

  • , 2012-04-15 19:54:54

    This was a disaster. Why would one change a magnificent production of La Traviata to what appeared to be a low budget film - no costumes, no sets, nothing but death being the persistent theme. Verdi portrayed Violetta as one who loved life and hid her illness so her love of life "sempre libre" was the main theme. I hated this morbid production and hope that it’s dropped from the repertoire. Ilene Kaplan

  • , 2012-04-16 15:40:12

    Totally agree - the production was silly, not only unappropriate. The masked gypsies and bull, chorus dressed as women, a male dancer in drag, and the only colorful scene while their life was in full bloom was also ridiculous. It’s annoying when not a genius tries to play with a genius work. The Met knows better.

  • , 2012-04-17 07:14:45

    I could put up with the set, I could put up with the over-the-top death drama and I could even put put up with Dessay not hitting her first note...but what made me angry and disappointed was that Dessay who obviously should not have been singing that particular performance kept dropping the ball and barely getting out her notes. She apparently was not going to let anyone else do the HD Live performance so rather than bow out gracefully, she made this a very wanting perfomance. She screeched at times and sounded thin and unprofessional. The other smack in the head was Dmitri Hvorostovsky who has a beautiful baritone but sounded like he was being stangled with his wheezing breaths in between every line. The audience gave him all kinds of kudos...wow! We must have been at a different perfomance. The only saving grace, and the one who carried the entire performance was Matthew Polenzani. Now, there was someone to crow about.

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