Ahead of me stands tall once more the most impossible of all tasks…expression of a divine performance through the limitations of written word. I have spent hours and hours contemplating if such a feat can be accomplished and hour after hour I have come to the same conclusion…simply impossible!! Yes indeed, many literary scholars, critics, poets and writers will captivate you, enchant you or illuminate your imagination with their abilities to transform your surroundings and provide you with images that transcend your human limitations. If I will be allowed to say, however, (to the point of being dragged out in the city square and be stoned to death as a blasphemer) none has been or ever will be able to come even close to describe as grand of a production as the premiere of LA TRAVIATA by Kentucky Opera.
What a phenomenal spectacle, a performance so absolutely captivating and deeply rooted in the depths of our own human existence that it is impossible to conceivably describe if one failed to be present inside the Brown Theatre. I will declare this for years to come that this performance was a feat of determination, perseverance and hard work by the dedicated staff and board of directors of this amazing Kentucky Opera company (major congratulations should be given to David Roth and his illustrious staff for their impeccable ability to be visionaries and get the JOB DONE!!). The principal artists that Kentucky Opera was able to attract for this performance left no room for doubters. A cast that could deliver with such force and grace, not only in their operatic vocal crescendos, but also with their abilities to act out beyond a static, paperback, cliché reproduction of what Verdi intended. Elizabeth Futral is a star that needs no introduction but inside the Brown Theater proved in all her grandeur why she is one of the most notable Violetta’s in the operatic scene today. Her voice soared in the theater and her acting captivated even the most hard to move patrons. We felt her passion reach out to the audience as she gasped for air and begged for another day to see the ray of light alongside her beloved. Her singing can move even a siren!! She is truly a performer who “lives” her role to the fullest. Sebastien Gueze is a real find and has a brilliant career ahead of him. He could deliver his singing with incredible force and gusto while mesmerizing the audience with his very convincing acting… when he was happy, one could feel happiness, when he was angry, anger and when sorrowful, sorrow. Donnie R. Albert was once more a baritone who knows how to deliver to his audience with considerable technical ability, just like he delivered in last year’s production of OTELLO. KY Opera could challenge any other company with such cast and definitely WIN!
The congratulations, however, do not end here. Just pick up the program and you will realize the entire bill is indeed worthy of major Bravo and Brava!! Our Kentucky Opera Studio Artists were brilliant and I have to admit this year the Studio Artist Program has some of the strongest residents I have ever experienced. They deserve our warmest applause and support since their hard work colors in such an elegant way every performance. Conductor Kelly Kuo did great justice to Verdi’s score and provided a full bodied and nostalgic performance with the Louisville Orchestra. Everything, from the costumes, to the set, to the lighting design was impeccable, imaginable, and lush which provided a time capsule where the audience could travel from the comfort of its seat back to 1850’s Paris. And to make things even better, the Brown Theatre proved the perfect venue for Kentucky Opera with its beautiful renovations, expanded pit, close, intimate setting and formidable acoustics. The new motto seems to be “there is not a bad seat at the BROWN”. So, with $78 for a season subscription I am stunned you are still reading the rumblings of an insanely emotional operagoer and you have not reached for the phone to call for your seats for the next 15 seasons to come…I am still not able to hold back my tears as I weep uncontrollably listening to my recording of LA TRAVIATA and remembering the night at the BROWN. I am sure Giuseppe was looking down upon us from his throne in operatic heaven, also weeping from deep exuberance knowing this production was exactly what he had in mind when he first conceived his brilliant masterpiece.
Christos “The Wagnerian” Dimitriadis