camellias, frocks and courtesans


While this review is largely ‘on the button’ and told me something I didn’t know – that Lorina Gore attained a high e-flat that not many attain – I wanted to mention a couple of other things:

  • that Samuel Sakker’s Alfredo far outclassed Lorina Gore’s Violetta,
  • and

  • the frocks.
  • To my untrained ear Sakker’s voice was surer and his delivery more consistent. He seemed the right mix of boyishness and earnestness but I agree that both leads failed to show anything of the sexual itch that such a liaison might entail.

    I did enjoy the whole performance but the frocks made it extra special.



    Images from

    Christina Smith’s designs for Violetta and Flora were stunning. Violetta appears first in a camellia-red creation, all swirls and folds that reference red camellias, and then in Act 2 appears in a subdued but equally stunning, elegant white creation – again with swirls and folds and fishtail skirt. Sublime. The style is so flattering. She appears in a lacy camellia patterned peignoir when she is in the country.

    Flora, on the other hand is all grey and gold and tight bodice with fishtail skirt and complementing shrug. The ‘card-playing scene’ is fabulous – all glitter and gold and Flora’s hair and colouring fit right in.

    The chorus looks fantastic; black velvet,corset bodices, glitter shrugs, fishtail skirts, folds around hips and differently shaped bodies.

    I loved looking at all the designs and the set of glass cubes where we saw reflections of faces and bodies and the fallen and raised chandeliers.


    The weakest part was the chorus of matadors but we had to assume that these were party guests playing at masquerade to make the leap to un-matador like bodies and gypsies who look suspiciously like the party guests.

    Musically, the duets between Alfredo and Violetta and David Stephenson’s Giorgio were highlights but the finale missed, my Opera-Going Companion reported, the final words

    (after feeling her pulse)
    She is dead!

    Oh, my grief!

    All in all it was a beautiful performance made especially wonderful by the frocks.

    La Traviata


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