B Cast of SF Opera's Traviata
Last Performance of Runnicles as SF Opera's Music Director

Ailyn Pérez in SF Opera's Traviata

Ailyn Pérez in La Traviata, photo by Chris Hardy * Notes *
Ailyn Pérez's turn at Violetta in San Francisco Opera's La Traviata yesterday night was impressive. She was a better match for Charles Castronovo (Alfredo) and did not overwhelm him, he did not seem nearly as quiet. Pérez had an appealing vulnerability, her performance was nuanced, and her high notes were never shrill. She had a few gasps here and there, but her breathing was generally under control. Castronovo sang with great sensitivity, he was a bit underpowered at the top of the Brindisi, but was otherwise fine. Dwayne Croft (Germont) still rushed a little, but sounded less strained than during opening night.
The supporting cast sounded lovely as well, particularly Andrew Bidlack as Gastone and Renée Tatum as Annina. The chorus might have been the slightest bit off from the orchestra a few times, but continued to sound very pretty.

It was interesting to note the differences in staging. Pérez did not hang her legs out of the fancy car for her entrance, nor did she pull Castronovo into her bed at the end of Act I. Her costume for the first half of Act II was not a dressing gown, but a velvet dress with lace trim. She did not provoke inappropriate laughter as Netrebko and Futral did, despite the inane super-titles, perhaps because her performance was more engaging somehow.

* Tattling * 
There was almost no electronic noise in balcony standing room, a few hearing aid noises or stray microphones for OperaVision were heard. There was a little whispering.

The Orpheus Group was given a pre-performance tour of the Media Suite. There are eight robotic cameras in the house that are controlled backstage, as well as two fixed ones. Video editing is even done during the performance. We were taken to the stage just before curtain and were greeted by Castronovo himself.