La Traviata review – McVicar’s Verdi is a gorgeous but stilted visual treat

For all its fin-de-siècle opulance, Scottish Opera’s revival of David McVicar’s staging is best in the intimate moments rather than the big set pieces

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A scene from Scottish Opera's La traviata Photo: Jane Hobson

By: Rowena Smith for the Guardian (UK)

Theatre Royal, Glasgow
David McVicar’s staging of La Traviata has proved to be the kind of enduring production that opera companies want to have in their repertoire. Having been much performed in recent years, it is now being revived by Scottish Opera, the company that gave the premiere in 2008.

This is a firmly traditional production, albeit with psychological overtones. There is a suggestion that the opera is Alfredo’s remembrance of his love affair: the prelude plays out as Violetta’s empty apartment is closed up by retainers and a solitary Alfredo traverses the stage. The ensuing action is literally played out across her grave. Tanya McCallin’s sets are pure fin-de-siècle elegance (the action has been moved forward several decades from the date of the opera’s composition) but it is a sombre, funereal opulence with a striking monochrome colour scheme. Violetta’s sequence of dark, white and red frocks perhaps represents the different aspects of her personality as seen by Alfredo: the damned courtesan, the selfless angel and the seductive temptress. The garish flourishes of which McVicar is often so fond are kept to a minimum, with only a single cross-dressing gag in the act two party scene.

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Source: Opera News from the UK Guardian