Opera Australia’s winter season continues to thrill audiences.  Their latest production of Verdi’s La Traviata at Sydney Opera House had the audience stamping their feet and clapping their hands in enthusiastic appreciation.

La Traviata tells the tale of popular courtesan Violetta.  In true operatic tragic tradition, Violetta is dying of consumption but a young man, Alfredo, admires her from afar and at a party declares his feelings for her.

Violetta, torn between her life of freedom and the promise of true love, sings her famous aria, Sempre libera, calling love “the torment and delight of my heart”.

La_Traviata_SW13_37_Fotor_20130816Choosing a life with Alfredo and moving to the country, Violetta has been selling her possessions to fund their lifestyle.   After Alfredo discovers this, he travels to Paris to obtain some alternative money.  While Alfredo is gone, his father Giorgio Germont arrives and begs Violetta to leave his son, lest she destroys the entire family’s reputation.  Violetta agrees, for the sake of Alfredo, and writes him a farewell letter.  Alfredo is heartbroken and furious.

Over three acts, the dramatic tale unfolds as to whether Alfredo will learn of Violetta’s undying love before she succumbs to her illness.

Australian soprano Emma Matthews performs the lead role of Violetta, joined by Polish tenor Arnold Rutkowski as Alfredo in his Opera Australia debut and baritone José Carbó as Giorgio Germont.   Komische Oper’s Principal Conductor Patrick Lange conducts.

A new fun event for opera goers at interval is the installation in the Northern Foyer of a mock La Traviata set.  Complete with chaise lounge and armchairs, audience members can take pictures of themselves posing on the “set”, then send the images via facebook, tweet and instagram.  What a great way for audience members to engage with their friends and spread the word about opera.

Sandra Tiltman 

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