A Satisfying but Unremarkable La traviata at the Bayerische Staatsoper

GermanyGermany Verdi, La traviata: Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Chor der Bayerischen Staatsoper, Marco Armiliato (conductor), National Theatre, Munich, 15.7.2016. (JMI)

La traviata © W. Hösl


Direction: Günter Krämer
Sets: Andreas Reinhardt
Costumes: Carlo Diappi
Lighting: Wolfgang Göbbel


Violeta: Ermonela Jaho
Alfredo: Pavol Breslik
Germont: Simon Keenlyside
Flora: Rachel Wilson
Annina: Heike Grötzinger
Gaston: Matthew Grills
Douphol: Christian Rieger
D’Obigny: Andrea Broghini
Grenvil: Kristof Klorek

This La traviata was fully sold out in advance due to the announced presence of rising star Sonya Yoncheva and the once-great tenor Rolando Villazón. Unfortunately, both cancelled a few days ago, but Munich solved the problem in an acceptable manner by substituting Ermonela Jaho and Pavol Breslik. She was coming directly from her success in Madama Butterfly in Orange, while he is a regular in Munich.

This is a revival of Günter Krämer’s staging, which premiered 23 year ago and is not a terribly interesting production. Here’s what I wrote when I first saw it in 2012: review

The musical direction was in the hands of Marco Armiliato, who offered a reading where everything was under control, but nothing more. To go from Kirill Petrenko to Marco Armiliato in 24 hours makes a considerable change. There was a good sound from the orchestra, although not comparable to what we were offered the night before in Rosenkavalier. The chorus did nicely, but I have the impression that the chorus in the third act, the Carnival, was recorded.

Ermonela Jaho was Violeta, and she performed admirably, as she usually does. Her dark voice is well-suited to the second part of the opera, and she totally dominated the character. She lacked emotion in “Addio del passato,” but her voice has enough amplitude and she’s a strong actress. Incidentally, she did not take the high E in “Sempre libera.

Pavol Breslik was not especially convincing as Alfredo. His voice seems reduced from a few years ago, and he’s rather limited in this part. He was at his best in “Parigi, o cara“ because it could be sung from the front of the stage. But all in all, he was a modest Alfredo.

Simon Keenlyside has been a regular as Giorgio Germont in this production, and he was making his comeback on the opera stage after a long break due to health problems. In recent months, he has mainly done recitals, and this performance seems to be the confirmation of his full recovery. Mr. Keenlyside has never been what one thinks of as a Verdian baritone, but he has always been a strong singer and an excellent artist who gives meaning to everything he sings. He was a convincing Germont.

In the secondary characters Rachel Wilson was good as Flora, as were Heike Grötzinger, Matthew Grills, Christian Rieger and Andrea Borghini in their parts. Kristof Klorek was a sonorous but rather coarse Grenvil.

Jose M. Irurzun  

1 thought on “A Satisfying but Unremarkable <i>La traviata</i> at the Bayerische Staatsoper”

  1. The “interpolated” (and totally unnecessary) high note in “Sempre Libera” is an Eb…not E natural…and Ms Jaho has never sung that note in any performance of ‘La traviata’.


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