La Traviata – Behind the Curtain theatre review.  The mystery of being at the opera is in place, what is my expectation as I await my initiation into the unknown world of opera. Would the production be too cerebral, too middle class, too sophisticated, too Italian?

Credit: Tristram Kenton

Well, all of these questions were answered as soon as Chris Addison (of Mock the Week fame) took to the stage. The evening begins with the telling of the story of La Traviata, setting it in time and place, explaining the attitudes and morals of the time, the fashion and the lifestyle.  Chris sardonically compares life then to the present day, he was informed and informal, a delight to listen to.

So the scene was set and the layers of mystery begin to unfold as Chris introduces the audience to operatic terminology, examples of which were readily, beautifully and humorously sung by Noel Bouley (Giorgio Germont) and Nico Darmanin (Alfredo Germont).  Ben Glasberg, the most enthusiastic of conductors, took to the stage and discussed his role and relationship with performers and performances. Chris Addison then introduced various members of the cast, makeup and costume department, who all contributed and explained the challenges and highlights of their roles within the company. All of this was presented in an ab lib manner which made the audience feel completely involved.

As the layers of mystery are removed, the magic of the opera is revealed to us in the second act, when we watch and listen to snap shots from Verdi’s opera, La Traviata. This production is a taster and a tease, one leaves the theatre wanting to see, hear and learn much more about the real thing.

A slight criticism was that there was perhaps not enough opera, but Glyndebourne Tour Company is achieving its aim. It is definitely bringing opera to the people and people to the opera. This was an evening to remember.

Behind the Curtain: La Traviata is running at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking until 24th November 2018.

La Traviata – Behind The Curtain