* Notes *
San Francisco Opera's 1987 production of La Traviata (Saimir Pirgu as Alfredo and Nicole Cabell as Violetta in Act I pictured left, photograph by Cory Weaver) was revived again last night. Originally conceived by John Copley, Laurie Feldman is the director this time. The set, designed by John Conklin, is splendid, as are David Walker's costumes. Somehow the staging does not cohere, and the high point certainly is the focused flamenco dancing in Act II Scene 2.
The orchestra sounded sumptuous, though the tempi that Maestro Nicola Luisotti kept were consistently ahead of the singers. The chorus was slightly tepid in the Brindisi. The principal cast features very pretty voices with a lot of volume, yet the effect was curiously flat. Vladimir Stoyanov has a rather strident manner as Germont. Saimir Pirgu has a pleasant, bright warmth as Alfredo, but his singing has an effortful quality. Nicole Cabell (Violetta) sounded gorgeously icy, her voice is beautiful and strong, but somehow she fell short of embodying her character.
* Tattling *
There were many latecomers in the balcony. Some mobile telephones and watch alarms were noted. The sound system made a strange squeak in the second third of the opera.