Opera is littered with the corpses and ruined reputations of much maligned women. Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata — the fallen woman — is no exception, although Russian soprano Elvira Fatykhova’s manifest robustness and good health gives the lie to the consumption Violetta is supposed to be dying from. Although Verdi was sympathetic to his heroines, it was beyond the social mores of the day to allow them to live happily ever after, so they had to be knocked off in the final act. Reprising the role she performed so well three years ago, Fatykhova is a magnificent Violetta, easily mastering both the coloratura bravado of the first act and the long lyrical passages of the other two acts with great vocal precision and passion. She and Jonathan Summers as Alfredo’s father sing a moving and superbly balanced duet that left no one in doubt about the sincerity of her passion or the concern of Alfredo’s father for his family. Under the baton of Philippe Auguin, the orchestra gives full rein to the emotions inherent in the score, while Aldi Di Toro as Violetta’s lover Alfredo is a sympathetic if somewhat naïve figure. The supporting cast are excellent but the show belongs to Elvira Fatykhova.
Until Mar 29, Sydney Opera House. $95-270, 9318 8200 or opera-australia.org.au