Verdi's La Traviata

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Albina Shagimuratova as Violettain Verdi's 'La Traviata' Albina Shagimuratova as Violettain Verdi's 'La Traviata' (Felix Sanchez, Houston Grand Opera)

The story of Violetta Valéry, a beautiful but mortally ill courtesan, has defined romantic tragedy ever since the Dumas novel that inspired it—La dame aux camellias—appeared in 1848. Violetta falls in love with Alfredo Germont and forsakes her glamorous life in Paris to live with him in the country. When his father convinces her that the affair is harming the family's reputation, she selflessly gives up Alfredo, but without telling him the true reason. Alfredo learns of her sacrifice too late.

Russian soprano Albina Shagimuratova is Violetta Valéry in the Houston Grand Opera's production of Verdi's beloved warhorse. Chad Shelton, an HGO regular, sings the role of Alfredo Germont. And Italian baritone Giovanni Meoni is Giorgio Germont.

Violetta Valéry  Albina Shagimuratova
Alfredo Germont  Chad Shelton
Giorgio Germont  Giovanni Meoni
Gastone de Letorieres  Scott Quinn
Flora Bervoix   Catherine Martin
Baron Douphol  Boris Dyakov
Marchese d'Obigny  Mark Diamond
Doctor Grenvil  Nicholas Masters
Annina    Brittany Wheeler
Giuseppe   Brendan Tuohy
Messenger   Keenan Manceaux

CONDUCTOR:  Patrick Summers
STAGE DIRECTOR:  Daniel Slater
CHORUS MASTER:  Richard Bado

Approx. Length:  2 hours 4 minutes

Comments [5]

concetta nardone from Nassau

Other than the card scene, I hope I never hear this opera again. Would like to exile Violetta and Carmen and the goddamn gypsys. This opera is not one of Peppino's best. So there.

Nov. 10 2012 02:44 PM

Lovely to hear this clear and beautiful Russian soprano, La Traviata, and WQXR (the people and the music) itself. It has been an awful several weeks between the horrors of the hurricane and the polemics of the politics, and to have some sunshine and respite from all the terrible tension lately is a joyful thing. Many, many thanks. I do love this singer's voice; I'm not a critic, just a listener having a lovely day for once and at last. Again, sincere thanks. Lochlan MacCearnach

Nov. 10 2012 01:43 PM
Larry Eisenberg from new york city

That first Act, gorgeous melody,
That passes by, oh so fleetly,
Verdi at his best
With sorrow and zest,
Pleasure of highest quality.

Nov. 10 2012 01:37 PM
helen becker from WQXR November 10.

This is perhaps the worst singing of Violetta I have ever heard.

Nov. 10 2012 01:34 PM
Sophia L from London, England

Maestro Patrick Summers claimed at the beginning of the broadcast that Maria Callas never read "La Dame aux Camélias", and was insulted at the prospect that as a soprano you could find qualities in Dumas fils' novel to help you characterise Violetta. This is not accurate: in her 1968 televised interview with Lord Harewood, possibly the one to which Summers was referring, Callas stressed that in any opera, to quote her exactly, "If you take the trouble to really listen[to the music] with your soul and with your ears - and I say soul and ears because the mind must work, but not too much also - you will find every gesture there." This is what Maestro Tullio Serafin had taught her, and she believed it all her life and applied the principle to all operas. In that same interview, however, she commented to Lord Harewood that in the book, Armand comes back to 'unbury' Marguerite after her death, and is not present at her death. This would indicate that she had read the novel. In a 1969 French televised interview with Pierre Desgraupes, she talked in detail about how she had read Mérimée's "Carmen" and decided it was more suitable for the screen than for the operatic stage, so she certainly did not exclude the reading of novels or plays on which operas were based when she studied her roles. It is true that she once told the Italian music scholar and critic Lanfranco Rasponi that she had never read Walter Scott's "The Bride of Lammermoor" because everything needed to portray Lucia was to be found in Donizetti's music, but this did not prevent her from reading several texts on which libretti of operas were based: her French vocal coach Janine Reiss emphasised in an interview that Callas would often tell her it was impossible to sing Lady Macbeth without having read your Shakespeare.So Callas was more than aware and in touch with the literature on which libretti were based. Just thought that should be straightened out!

Nov. 10 2012 01:15 PM

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