Chicago Sun-Times, March 7, 2003
Verdi: La Traviata, Chicago, March 5, 2003
La Traviata, Chicago, März 2003
Lyric Opera has presented many truly memorable productions of Verdi's "La traviata," beginning in 1954 with the legendary Maria Callas, and continuing through the 1998-99 season, with sopranos Andrea Rost and Ruth Ann Swenson alternating as the tragic heroine.

But the second cast of this year's revival, which bowed Wednesday night, is unlikely to join this list. Though an improvement over the emotionally inert Alexandra von der Weth, who sang the role earlier this season, Italian soprano Patrizia Ciofi seemed miscast as the doomed Violetta (which marked her American debut). Her voice, while sweet and laser-like, struggled to fill the cavernous Civic Opera House, resulting in a sometimes brittle top register. However, Ciofi compensated with her excellent technique, whether soaring through the coloratura fireworks of Act 1's "Sempre libera," or softly contemplating her last moments in Act 3's "Addio del passato."

As her lover Alfredo, German tenor Jonas Kaufmann sang admirably but directed most of his ardor at the audience, instead of Ciofi. As Germont, American baritone Kim Josephson, recently seen here in "A View From the Bridge," barked through his role like a Parisian Eddie Carbone.

 back top