SHOW: La Traviata
DIRECTOR: Angelo Gobbato
CAST ON THE EVENING: Goitsemang Lehobye, Lukhanyo Moyake, Mandla Mndebele, Jacobi de Villiers, Abongile Fumba, Bongani Makhanya
VENUE: Artscape Opera House until May 9
REVIEW: Peter Tromp
The last time Cape Town Opera presented ‘La Traviata’, which was four years ago, the production was cast almost exclusively with experienced singers. This time around, the company decided to go with a mixture of youth in the form of students from the UCT Opera School, and experience in the form of seasoned director Angelo Gobbato. The result is a sumptuous entertainment that is very easy on the eyes and has a completely different vibe to the company’s usual large scale productions. The decision to give our up and coming talent such a huge platform was a risky one, but I applaud the company’s bravery. As it is, it was a very calculated gamble.
The UCT Opera School features an embarrassment of riches in terms of talent. I have seen many of these performers shine in the student showcase productions that have been staged at the smaller theatres in recent years, but this is many of these guys’ first cracks at what qualifies for the big time in terms of local opera. Most of the singers in the Saturday performance that I saw carried themselves with absolute aplomb and got a rousing standing ovation as their reward.
‘La Traviata’ remains one of the most popular operas among audiences in the world, and it’s not difficult to understand why. The romantically fatalistic tale of TB-afflicted prostitute Violetta, who has the truest of hearts, is an incredibly moving and very accessible work (especially when following the surtitles) and Gobbato’s slick direction makes the three hour running time whiz by.
Depending on the evening you see the show, your experience might be quite different to mine, as almost every show features different cast members. With the quality on offer however, you might just be tempted to see the show on multiple nights.
* Book at Computicket.