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Subject: Re: Violetta dies alone
From: [log in to unmask]
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Mon, 10 Aug 1998 06:39:12 -0500

text/plain (43 lines)

Szabo Katalin wrote:

> At the end of the opera, when Violetta is about to die, all others
> leave the stage, she jumps up the bed, extends her arms upwards,
> sings her last ecstatic lines, and falls on her back, and, when the
> curtain closes, her lifeless body is on the bed, head hanging down,
> facing the audience. This is more shocking than the usual endings
> when she dies in Alfredo's arms. What disturbed me was that there was
> nobody to sing the lines "E spenta, O mio dolor" - for me these were
> missing from the music.

1.  The cut of the concluding lines by Alfredo, Germont, et al., is a
traditional one, and thus hardly an innovation.  It's not a very good
tradition, but it does tend to focus attention more on the Violetta.

2.  The head-down eyes-staring hair-streaming finish was the staging
favored by Claudia Muzio; surely other Violettas since have adopted
this very effective bit of business, though I cannot recall ever seeing
it on stage. Anyone?

3. Why in the name of Francesco Maria Piave would Violetta's nearest
and dearest run into the next room just as she suddenly announced she
was feeling better and thought she would live?  Celebration?
Telephoning to cancel the ambulance?  Catching the last few minutes of
the Superbowl?  This illogical stage business strikes me as cheap and

The only way I could imagine this bit of staging not looking ridiculous
would be in the context of an unrealistic/expressionistic concept
production:  the whole opera as Violetta's fever dream, for example.
Was the rest of the production done in a realistic manner?

PS:  I fully understand if no one dares to criticize Ms. Zambello's
direction publicly, since she has made clear to the world (through her
interview in TIME magazine) that anyone who does *not* praise her work
is reactionary and misogynistic.  As the saying goes, nice work if you
can get it.

james jorden
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