Monday, August 9, 2010

More Informal Traviata; Netrebko and Villazón

Today I am thinking about Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón rehearsing the opening of Act II for the 2005 Salzburg Traviata--in bathrobes.

Director Willy Decker envisioned the opening of act II with both Alfredo and Violetta onstage, even though it is is traditionally set for Alfredo alone. The change creates a thread of humor and irony in his lines and with Netrebko around the recitative can be made full of interaction and playful colors:

"Life is so idle," said Alfredo, away from Violetta! Three months have passed since she deserted Paris, abandoning her pleasures, her lovers, and all those brilliant parties, where she reigned over countless admirers."

It is great to have the opportunity to hang out with singers of this calibre at a time when they are rehearsing, calculating ideas, and simply stretching into possibilities. The stage is in the process of being constructed and has not been painted. It looks like they are singing in the Home Depot.

The singing continues with the Andante. "Now she is happy," sings Alfredo, "living in this country." And when he sings the next line; "Living only for me," Netrebko slips away from his embrace and disappears.

"Life has new meaning," sings Alfredo as the music shifts suddenly into D-flat major. Netrebko reappears on the other couch, seducing him.

Shifting meanings and attitudes. Having fun. Opera.

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