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VERDI'S LA TRAVIATA: ENGLISH NATIONAL OPERA

SYNOPSIS: Giuseppe Verdi's Opera that tells the story of how the beautiful but fragile courtesan Violetta (Elizabeth Zharoff) is coerced into sacrificing her one hope of personal happiness for the sake of her lover's reputation.

Review by Louise Keller:
With its themes of double moral standards, the English National Opera's production of Verdi's La Traviata is accessible, dramatic and unforgettable. Shot live at London's sumptuous Coliseum theatre in multi-camera HD, Peter Konwitschny's staging was devised for the 2013 production for the UK celebrations of Verdi's bicentenary. It received great critical acclaim. This film version allows audiences to experience Konwitschny's vision with the same cast plus rising star soprano Elizabeth Zharoff as Violetta. Zharoff is electric.

Performed in English and reduced to less than two hours in length with no interval, the production is somewhat of a surprise. It is the minimalist staging that dominates, the key prop being theatrical red curtains, which are drawn open again and again and before which the artists perform, wearing contemporary costumes. Traditionalists may be disappointed but the music soars, along with the passion of the tale.

Verdi's tale tells the tragic tale of the dying courtesan named Violetta (Zharoff), who we meet in the opening scene at a society event in Paris. The guests are voyeurs, intent on witnessing not only her approaching death, but the burgeoning relationship between the experienced Violetta and the bookish Alfredo (Ben Johnson), whose cream cardigan is at odds with Violetta's elegant bordello red gown and long burgundy gloves. In the second scene, Violetta and Alfredo are living in the countryside in the throes of love when Alfredo's father Giorgio (Anthony Michaels-Moore) appears with a wad of notes with which he tries to persuade her to abandon her old lifestyle. There is nothing but tragedy to come with dual standards and finally, death.

Zharoff looks striking in black, blond and red wigs - although the moment in the final act when she removes the wig to reveal her long hair, is one of the most dramatic. Above all, it is Verdi's magnificent music that is the star of this production, providing Zharoff with a platform on which to shine. The conductor is Roland Boer.

La Traviata's ENO production is followed by Gilbert and Sullivan's comic-opera The Pirates of Penzance directed by renowned filmmaker Mike Leigh mid July; radical Spanish theatre director Calixto Bieito's acclaimed production of Bizet's vibrant and passionate classic Carmen mid August; and the most significant British opera in more than 200 years, BenjaminBritten's devastating tragedy Peter Grimes in September and October.
The ENO Screen broadcasts are filmed under the direction of double MTV award-winning director and Grammy award nominee Andy Morahan, who has worked with notable artists including Michael Jackson and George Michael.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

VERDI'S LA TRAVIATA: ENGLISH NATIONAL OPERA (Excempt)
(UK, 2015)

CAST: Elizabeth Zharoff, Anthony Michaels-Moore, Ben Johnson, Clare Presland, Paul Hopwood, Matthew Hargreaves, Charles Johnston, Martin Lamb, Valerie Reid, David Newman, Paul Sheehan, Aven Alqadhi/Emily Speed

PRODUCER: Dione Orrom

DIRECTOR: Andrew Morahan (Director of stage production: Peter Konwitschny)

SCRIPT: Opera La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Not credited

EDITOR: Not credited

MUSIC: Giuseppe Verdi

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Stage designer: Johannes Leiacker

RUNNING TIME: 132 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Potential Films.

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 14, 2015







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