This is the fourth year for Opera New England – an initiative that couples great vision with bold ambition. Their offering this January was Verdi’s La Traviata in which Violetta, a high-class courtesan (read ‘party girl’) returns to society but tragically succumbs to tuberculosis… not, however, before two suitors fight a duel over her.
The cast I saw was truly first rate. Kathryn Williams, a soprano coloratura Masters graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music was electrifying as Violetta with enunciation so clear I heard every word!
Michael Butchard, a graduate of both the Sydney Conservatorium and the Royal college of Music, London was the most charming lyric tenor whose voice blended beautifully with Ms Williams’. The quiet buzz of the night surrounded Timothy Newton as Dr Grenvil whose bass voice produced moments of gravitas both full and rich. A graduate of the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music we’re destined to hear much more from this superb young talent.
Months of work go into these productions. The vocal mentor was the highly esteemed Rowena Cowley from the Sydney Conservatorium. The 18 piece orchestra is drawn from Armidale and the surrounding districts and sounded wonderful! I saw their production of La Boheme in 2014 and Carmen in 2015. The northern New South Wales region is inestimably richer for these productions and long may they continue!