OperaWire asked us to send in some of our thoughts about our production of La traviata here in Madrid! There are lots of answers from my fellow colleagues!
OW: How do you feel about performing a semi-staged version with restrictions of movement and contact?
Lisette Oropesa: As for the operatic experience, well it has been more tricky. We had a brief layout rehearsal onstage, where we learned the do’s and don’ts of the production. I had a full musical rehearsal with the conductor, who I must say is so very energetic and supportive. Nicola Luisotti. Amazing.
Stepping out onstage for the first time to perform was surreal. To see my colleagues when I was walking out there and do my best to make music with them was beautiful but also a bit challenging. They all have to stay two meters away and this makes the intimate connections difficult to establish. I can only really see them out of the corner of my eye, or turn in profile or upstage to look at them. It has been more of a mental journey for Violetta in this case. We are taking the idea of “social distance,” and “isolation” and making it the absolute theme of the production. In a way, it hits closer to home than I think many of us realize! She WAS sick, with a very contagious disease. She WAS isolated. It is beautiful to interpret this role in any setting, and this one is particularly memorable.
My favorite choice that we are making is that at the end, she doesn’t collapse and die as we traditionally see Violetta do. She dies and walks into the light, which I think highlights our need for hope in this difficult time. So many of us have literally lost loved ones suddenly to this terrible virus, and to see a tragic ending to Violetta staged that way would have been harrowing…so Leo Castaldi opted for the optimistic staging, that has Violetta swamped in a tunnel of light, as she passes into the next realm.