* Notes *
Festival Opera's 2011 season opened with La Traviata last night in Walnut Creek. Conducted by Maestro Michael Morgan, the orchestra sounded enthusiastic and full, but there were some glaring intonation problems. The chorus was likewise sounded eager, though not perfectly together.
The cast boasted many familiar faces, and the singing and acting was fine all around. Nicolai Janitzky's Germont was fatherly, his sound has volume and a certain buzziness. Andrew Whitfield sounded downright scared in his vocal entrance as Alfredo, which was odd as his voice is quite pretty and warm. He did have difficulties with the high notes, and occasionally his voice would nearly disappear. In contrast, Rebecca Davis (Violetta) sang with much more ease. Her voice is flexible and well-supported. Some of the notes in her lower range are not perfectly clear, but Davis did sing beautifully, and with fragile delicacy in the last act.
The production, directed by Mark Foehringer, was entirely reasonable. The set suggests richness without being clunky or monolithic. The costumes were exactly as one would expect, reminding one of attire seen in Ingres portraits.
* Tattling *
A fire alarm sounded before the performance, and everyone in the building filed out onto the sidewalk outside. No one appeared hurt, and we were allowed inside again before the 8pm curtain time.
There was much talking in the audience, which was otherwise very supportive and excited to be there.