Justina Paltanavičiūtė

In brief: “La Traviata” means a promiscuous woman in English, but the word sounds much better in Italian as it is associated with the beautiful love story of Violetta and Alfredo told in the opera of Giuseppe Verdi “La Traviata” written according to the novel of the French writer Alexandre Dumas, fils, “The Lady of the Camellias” (opera libretto author – Francesco Maria Piave) in the middle of the 19th century. Even though the premiere of the opera at Venice Theatre La Fenice in 1853 was not very successful, these days “La Traviata” is one of the most popular and most frequently staged operas in the world.

“La Traviata” was staged at Kaunas Musical Theatre in 1952, on the 31st of December. From that time “La Traviata” of G. Verdi was staged at this theatre three more times, and the last time it was presented to the audience on the eve of the year 2000. The performance directed by Gintas Žilys and conducted by Julius Geniušas is shown now too.

On the evening of the 14th of April “La Traviata” shined with new colours in Kaunas. New faces appeared in the set troupe of the opera: the role of Violetta was played by the soloist Raminta Vaicekauskaitė for the first time, and Germont was embodied by a guest from the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre Vytautas Juozapaitis. The part of Alfredo was sung by the “local” actor Algirdas Janutas. True, R. Vaicekauskaitė sang the part of Violetta at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre last autumn; therefore, her debut is only as regards Kaunas.

“La Traviata” performed on the 14th of April was also unusual by the fact that the main roles were sung in Italian, while others – in Lithuanian. It is a rather unusual solution for Kaunas State Musical Theatre as it follows the tradition that all works should be performed in the native language. Still, it is rejoicing that at least part of the opera sounded more authentic this time. On the other hand, the semi-Italian and semi-Lithuanian variant of “La Traviata” appeared slightly eclectic. R. Vaicekauskaitė, A. Janutas, V. Juozapaitis singing in Italian were really sensitive and persuasive, while other actors singing in Lithuanian sounded slightly provincially.

Nonetheless, the main accent was on the new Violetta, R. Vaicekauskaitė, in the performance. The singer's appearance in the performance was so striking that it dwarfed all old-timers of Kaunas “La Traviata”. She attracted attention by sensitive and perfect singing, sincere and persuasive acting and the really felt drama of Violetta on the stage. The new Violetta was fragile and modestly dramatic, and she rendered the vocal and acting moments right from her heart.

A. Janutas (Alfredo), who sang in Italian, was sensitive and tender but rather restrained. Meanwhile, V.Juozapaitis who acted Germont, the father of Alfredo, appeared to be concrete and persuasive. In general, the three performers of the main roles granted many new shades to the performance and made it even more majestic.

Thus, it is rejoicing that “La Traviata” of G. Verdi is shown at Kaunas State Musical Theatre again and again and that it is different every time. This time the new variant of the opera was enriched by new actors – most importantly, the charming new Violetta.

Photos by Laimutis Brundza

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