Review: WNO – La Traviata at Birmingham Hippodrome

by Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour

WNO – La Traviata at Birmingham Hippodrome

This week sees Welsh National Opera (WNO) bring three Operas to Birmingham, and for #BrumHour, I was lucky enough to be able to choose performance of La Traviata with music by Giuseppe Verdi, an opera first performed in 1853 based upon La Dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils.

For as long as I’ve been going to Birmingham Hippodrome which is a VERY LONG TIME, Welsh National Opera (WNO) has been coming to Birmingham. Currently the Birmingham Hippodrome hosts WNO twice a year for a week at a time, once for Spring and once for Autumn. My only previous experience of opera was called Chorus which took place at Birmingham Hippodrome some years ago.

WNO La traviata Kang Wang (Alfredo) Linda Richardson (Violetta) and WNO Chorus Photo by Betina Skovbro
WNO La traviata Kang Wang (Alfredo) Linda Richardson (Violetta) and WNO Chorus Photo by Betina Skovbro

Violetta (Linda Richardson) is a courtesan living in Paris who hosts a party attended by Alfredo (Kang Wang) who has fallen in love with Violetta from seeing her from afar. However his father Germont (Roland Wood) disapproves of her status which really puts a spanner in the works for Violetta and Alfredo. On top of this Violetta has an illness which beginning to take over her…

This is a story told in three acts and it was interesting to see the audience break out into rounds of warm welcoming applause before each act.

WNO La traviata Kang Wang (Alfredo) and Linda Richardson (Violetta) Photo by Betina Skovbro
WNO La traviata Kang Wang (Alfredo) and Linda Richardson (Violetta) Photo by Betina Skovbro

I found this production and the Opera to be warm, passionate and full of sexual tension. The set is grey, black only progresses to get darker throughout the performance. The music of course is stunning, the orchestra pit has been opened out removing the first four rows of the stalls. It was amazing to see just how many people go into these productions and there’s also a huge array of performers onstage along without main cast. But its our leads who really steal the show. Even when not on stage they are intertwined with the story and the audience laps it up.

This was probably a little heavy for my first first Opera experience but I plan to enjoy the range of tones that WNO has to offer in the future. Seeing it in a venue that I’m comfortable being in really helps. But this is a friendly welcoming theatre, so even if it had been my first time I’d been able to ask about the format.

WNO La traviata WNO Dancers and WNO Chorus Photo by Betina Skovbro
WNO La traviata WNO Dancers and WNO Chorus Photo by Betina Skovbro

This week sees WNO perform La Cenerentola (Cinderella) Thursday 15th November, War and Peace on Friday 17th November: with another performance of La Traviata on the Friday 16th November. See the Birmingham Hippodrome website here: birminghamhippodrome.com/calendar/wno-la-traviata


This isn’t a sponsored post. #BrumHour was invited to see La Traviata by WNO and Birmingham Hippodrome.

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