The Opera of the Apple Generation

Singapore Lyric Opera presents:Verdi’s La Traviata

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By Megha Bhattacharya

Verdi’s La Traviata is one of the world most popular operas. It is a popular saying that La Traviata is performed somewhere in the world every night of the year. Singapore Lyric Opera’s choice to perform La Traviata was an easy but challenging decision as the opera audience is well versed with the nuances of the songs and scavenges for an element of novelty
SLO’s La Traviata boldly chose to present the opera in an unexpected avatar with DSLRs, Macbooks, Instagram et al. It was innovative yet confusing especially because the carriages and Violetta’s (played by Nancy Yuen) puffed gown dress had to fight hard to fit in the same time period. The music, conducted by Joshua Kangming Tan, was more connected to the tragic love theme of the opera compared to the actors and their acting.

The audience struggled to sympathize with the melancholy of the actors except for  Giorgio Germont (played by Song Kee Chang) who stole the show with his wholly suited act. But apart from his wardrobe, the other costumes were equally realistic or at least impressive by the usual opera standards.

Not all was thumbs down though as Act II and Act III were more believable. Despite lacking in the grandeur of numbers, the bit with the gypsies and Madridian matadors was particularly entertaining and was definitely a highlight of the show.

For an opera rookie, SLO’s La Traviata may be a dismal entry through the portals of the emotionally complex and visually grand world of opera. But for the opera lovers, it might be interesting to discover the differences between this LaTraviata and any other adaptations from the past. Overall, the experience was fair and definitely not an evening wasted.