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2019-12, ROH London, La Traviata

La Traviata

Composer : Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto : Piave after Dumas fils

Venue and Dates :

Royal Opera House, London
17, 21, 24 (matinée),  27 December 2019 and 06, 08, 13 January 2020

Conductor : Daniel Oren / Francesco Ivan Ciampa (24.12, 13.1)
Production Director :  Richard Eyre
Revival Director : Andrew Sinclair
Lighting : Jean Kalman
Chorus Master : William Spaulding


Violetta Valéry : Hrachuhi Bassenz / Dinara Alieva (06, 08 January)
Alfredo Germont : Liparit Avetisyan
Giorgio Germont : Simon Keenlyside /George Gagnidze* (06 January) / Gabriele Viviani** (13 January)
Flora Bervoix : Stephanie Wake-Edwards
Gaston : Andrés Presno
Baron Douphol : Germán E. Alcántara
Marquis d’Obigny : Jeremy White
Doctor Grenvil : Timothy Dawkins
Annina: Sarah Pring

*Simon was replaced by George Gagnidze on 06 January

** Simon was replaced by Gabriele Viviani on 13 January


Photo Gallery


Sound bites

Broadway World UK, 18.12.19, Gary Naylor

(5 stars)

“…The doomed lovers get excellent support from …… Simon Keenlyside as Alfredo’s father, who sees, too late, that love is worth more than honour….”

Culture Whisper, 18.12.19, Claudia Pritchard

(4 stars)

“…Bassenz probably scores highest in Act Two, when the arrival of Keenlyside as Giorgio Germont lifts the acting all round…..Simon Keenlyside gives an acting masterclass as Giorgio Germont….”

The Times, 18.12.19, Neil Fisher

(3 stars – fee payable)

“…Keenlyside, a decrepit but insidious Germont, is a huge addition to this line-up, brandishing his cane like a weapon, listening to Violetta’s imploring with ill-disguised impatience, and barely even able to touch her when she leans in for a parting embrace. And if Keenlyside’s firm baritone has more wood than velvet these days, the singer-actor’s detailed attention to the niceties of text is admirable….”

The Stage, 18.12.19, Amanda Holloway

(3 stars -free registration may be required)

“…As Alfredo’s father, Simon Keenlyside looked awkward in a curly wig and ill-fitting clothes, and his legendary ringing baritone lacked energy….”

Opera Today, 18.12.19, Marc Bridle

“…What was a little unusual about the casting was that both Bassenz and Avetisyan were at their best when singing beside the elder Germont of Simon Keenlyside. His was, to put it in blunt terms, a masterclass. Keenlyside brought a lieder-like kind of clarity to his singing – there was absolutely no strain on the voice whatsoever, a precision to his phrasing which never allowed him to clip the ends of lines, and a level of lustre and tonal warmth which never rose to being loud or overbearing. There is an art to some baritones being able to sound completely audible without becoming hoarse in doing so – and Keenlyside has the art of doing just that. He became the entire lynchpin during Act II – the singer who cradles his son in the most comforting of terms (a supremely well sung ‘Di Provenza il mar’) or in his long duet with Violetta….”

Bachtrack, 18.12.19, Roy Westbrook

(4 stars)

“…Germont père was Simon Keenlyside, in command of his role and its notes as ever, if sometimes rather gritty in tone – not inappropriate for his stern part in this scene, and he was carefully supportive when he sang in duet with Bassenz….”

Seen and Heard International, 17.12.19, Colin Clarke

“…Simon Keenlyside is one of the great Germont pères, and in the spread of performances over the years of Eyre’s production has only really been once, equalled, possibly eclipsed, and that was Leo Nucci in 2011.  Here, Keenlyside was implacable father in the second act, commanding both vocally and in presence. …

Classical Source, 17.12.19, Alexander Campbell

(4 stars)

“…Simon Keenlyside was, as ever, an intelligently vocalised and enunciated Germont père, even if the tone is now not as sappy as it once was….”

The Pickle, 18.12.19

“… baritone Simon Keenlyside’s Germont Senior encourages the whole cast to new heights of performative commitment in each of his scenes….”

The Quarterly Review, 20.12.19, Leslie Jones

“…Violetta’s rustic idyll with her lover is shattered by the arrival of Giorgio Germont (Simon Keenlyside), suitably sinister. In Pura siccome un angelo, he embodies bourgeois hypocrisy. And in the aria Di Provenza il mar, il suol, likewise, he employs every trick in the book to persuade Alfredo to return home, now appealing to nostalgia for his homeland, now to religion….”

Morning Star online, 18.12.19

“…Keenlyside is also a memorable Giorgio as he switches from the austere and stern harbinger of sorrow to the compassionate and remorseful paternal figure by the end….”

Plays to See, 20.12.19, Teddy Hempstead

“…On the bright side, Simon Keenlyside as Alfredo’s father, Giorgio, is electric; his gaunt face, roaring tenor, and anguished movements — stiff, ashamed, desperate — laid a very heavy grip on the opening night audience, and I was one of many who gave his performance the loudest ovation at the curtain call….”

London Unattached, 20.12.19, Adrian York

“….Alfredo’s crotchety father Giorgio, convincingly acted and stolidly sung by ROH veteran Simon Keenlyside, visits and convinces the sickly Violetta to give up Alfredo as the immorality of their relationship is threatening to derail the engagement of his daughter – “Pura siccome un angelo, Iddio mi diè una figlia” (Pure as an angel, God gave me a daughter). …”

Operawire, 21.12.19, Benjamin Poore

“…Simon Keenlyside’s Giorgio Germont was perfectly judged: stiffly patrician, whose rigid movements suggested coldness and indifference. Much of this was exemplified in the clipped articulation and icy flourishes of Act two’s “Un di quando le veneri.” If Keenlyside’s voice has become darker and more gravelly it has lost none of its power in the spectacular declamatory coloratura at the climax of his “Di Provenza.” There, his tough lyricism became a weapon to beat his son with. The aria’s pastoral simplicity was less a charming interlude that dreams of country life, but instead the deluded and unyielding worldview of a moralizing bourgeois whose idealization of the simple life was a way of purging his son’s and Violetta’s urban excesses. His acting in the climactic scene of the opera was a masterclass in the economical expression of regret and the slow realization that he has destroyed his son’s life and their relationship….”

Mail Online, 28.12.19, David Mellor

“…Act II was better because Simon Keenlyside came on and brought a touch of class to gruff old Father Germont, one of the most awful characters in opera. Instead of toning down his awfulness, Keenlyside positively revelled in it. Great stuff….”

Opera magazine, February 2020, John Allison    (fee payable)

“…Simon Keenlyside’s eccentric Germont almost overdid the old-man acting (and his wig deserved its own biography in the programme), but he was characteristically compelling even without projecting truly luxuriant Verdian tone……”

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Gudrun December 17, 2019 at 12:43 pm

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