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VERDI La traviata

Violetta Kate Ladner

Alfredo Sean Ruane

Germont Pere Robert Poulton

Flora Julia Riley

Anina Nicola Stonehouse

Gastone Aled Hall

Baron Douphole David Soar

Dr Grenville Nicholas Butterfield


Conductor John Gibbons

Director Elaine Kidd

Designers Giuseppe & Emma Bell

Choreographer Sarah Fahie

Lighting Simon Corder

Opera Holland Park 28 July 2007


OHP have assembled a strong cast for La traviata. From the opening orchestral phrases it was clear that this was going to be a performance with the highest of musical standards.


Kate Ladner's Violetta displayed both passion and dignity, always sensitive to to the score, and she was matched by the ardent lyricism of Sean Ruane's Alfredo. Robert Poulton made a powerful Germont Pere, but without the harsh austerity one expects.


There were good portrayals in the Flora of Julia Riley, the Annina of Nicola Stonehouse and Gastone of the ever ebullient Aled Hall (I still have visions of his NOS Showcase Romeo, singing whilst dangling from Juliette's balcony on a very treacherous looking knotted sheet).


None of them was helped by the direction. Elaine Kidd, making her company debut, seemed intent on standing the chorus in straight lines and adding a quite unnecessary hotch potch of fussy detail at crucial moments, when the raw emotions contained within Verdi's music would have been more effective without distraction.


One of the things that OHP does best is to nurture and encourage young singers; a notable case in point being a tiny cameo of real distinction from Henry Grant Kerswell as the Commissioner.


James Gibbons remains one of my favourite OHP conductors, and I was pleased to have a seat near enough to watch the players of the City of London Sinfonia respond to his elegant and inspiring conducting.


Serena Fenwick