connect, grow & thrive.

La Traviata

Review by Maria Samara, an opera lover

If I said that what I experienced last Sunday at the Bühne of Luzerner Theater was an amazing premiere of Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata” and one of the most powerful, intimate, pure, and unique ones I have ever seen, it could only be an understatement.   After successfully putting it on stage in Hannover, director Benedikt von Peter and his team managed to re-introduce us to one of the most tragic love stories ever known.  And I say “re-introduce” us, as he and his team, successfully managed to bring Dumas old and classic story – this masterpiece of love- up to date; To take it to another level; To make it new.

An utterly minimalistic set, nothing like the heavy and “loud” ones we are used to, helps bring the audiences focus to the “here and now”, and becomes the scene for Violeta’s “Monologue to Love”.   Nicole Chevalier, as Violeta, is able to successfully bring to life the director’s original idea. Being alone on stage, for the whole 2 hours and 20 minutes of the play, she managed to perform the demanding music of Verdi at the highest technical and expressional level (complex coloraturas, controlled lyricism) and the same time to completely inhabit the drama of a woman in love, of a woman confused, of a woman almost depressed, of a woman exposing her misery for us all to see, her desperation, her loneliness.  This feeling of loneliness and of solitude was made even more apparent by the physical absence of all other roles from the stage. All performed to perfection,  Alfredo (Diego Silva), Violeta’s love, Germont (Claudio Otelli), Alfredo’s father, Flora (Karin Torbjörnsdottir), Annina (Sarah A. Huderew), Gastone/Giuseppe (Robert Maszl), Baron Douphol (Jason Cox), Marchese D’ Obigny (Bernt Ola Volunghogen), Dottore Grenvil (Vuyani Mlinde), Commissionario (Robert Hyunghoon Lee), the Choir of the Luzerner Theater, are all performing from the upper level of the Theater, providing us with a “here” but the same time “far-away” element and that makes it even more intense for the audience.  The Luzerner Sinfonieorchester plays on stage behind a see-through curtain, and manages to mirror Violeta’s passion, desperation, and energy with perfect accuracy, technical proficiency and precise colour.

Illuminating and hopeful is the finale Benedikt von Peter gives to this dramatic way through and out of the pain for Violeta – and the audience as well – choosing to keep her “standing” in the light at the last scene of the play, instead of laying in the dark.  That way, he gives another dimension to the idea of death and dying and takes away pain and despair from all of us.  After all, “Love is the pulse of the Universe”. (Liebe ist der Puls des Universum) and that can never die.

If not all the above, the 20 minutes of applause, can only be proof of an amazing performance.  Well done to you all. I know that I am definitely coming back.

More details here.

Next performances: 30.05; 01.06; 03.06; 07.06; 10.06



Charlie Hartmann is the managing director of the Living in Luzern organisation which focuses on helping international residents connect, grow and thrive in Switzerland.