La Traviata, at The King’s Head Theatre

  • Opera & Dance
La Traviata, at The King’s Head Theatre


Thu, 31/10/2013 - 10:35


David Durham as Germont (Photo: Christopher Tribble)
David Durham as Germont (Photo: Christopher Tribble)
31 October, 2013

VERDI'S centenary is being celebrated in style by OperaUp­Close with a new production of La Traviata at the King’s Head Theatre, Islington.

It’s got all the elan, verve and flair that have been such features of the boutique opera house’s staging.

Most previous OUC productions have had a large dose of fun, maybe set in an East End tower block or a Soho café.

By contrast, its cut-down Traviata, lasting barely an hour, takes itself very seriously as a chamber opera not needing to go for easy laughs.

If that’s the case, it would be a shame if it means OUC is morphing into the opera establishment.

Purportedly, its Traviata is relocated to the Prohibition/Great Gatsby era. But while Violetta and Flora make good flappers, they could just as well be WAGs.

There’s a new English version by Robin Norton-Hale that flows well with the music.

And there’s a new orchestration for piano, clarinet and cello by Harry Blake catching the waltz tunes that saturate the score.

Inevitably, though, the trio in place of an orchestra leaves the soloists, alternating on different evenings, to carry the piece.

On my evening, I was lucky enough to have Louisa Tee as an excellent Violetta while David Durham made for a powerful Germont. Their key Violetta/ Germont duet in Act Two was the evening’s highlight.

Flora McIntosh did well as Flora.

La Traviata is at The King’s Head Theatre, Upper Street, Islington, N1, till November 2. 020 7478 0160,

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