October 08, 2004
The alternate cast for San Francisco Opera's La Traviata was stunningly good. The perennial favorite, soprano Ruth Ann Swenson, was replaced by Mary Dunleavy in the last two performances. Swenson is very precise, her tone is extremely sweet and bell-like. Dunleavy is perhaps more vital, her voice is very strong. Baritone Željko Lučić sang beautifully as Germont, his aria in Act II, "Di Provenza il mar," was excellent.
Otherwise, tenor Rolando Villazón was impressive as Alfredo, his voice is also quite sweet and rich. The flamenco dancers in Act III were disappointing, those ballet dancers have nothing like duende. John Conklin's set and David Walker's costumes were just as one would expect, Verdi would not be surprised, at any rate.