The opening performance of Verdi's La Traviata at the San Diego Opera started with a hiccup but ended on several high notes. The show was delayed due to the last-minute substitution of conductor Karen Keltner for Renato Palumbo, who was to make his house debut on Saturday night. It led to a musically glitchy first act with the orchestra and the singers not in sync.

Everything came together by the time Elizabeth Futral launched into Violetta's Act I ending “Sempre Libera,” however. The American soprano started well and shone brightest in the final act. Her top notes didn't rub well on me, but all else was worthy of the fetching courtesan she portrayed. The most gorgeous voice award belonged to her onstage lover, the Alfredo of Romanian Marius Brenciu, whose tenor can easily be mistaken for an Italian with a silky legato no smoothie can compete with.

The most commanding performance was Alan Opie's theatrical and vocal incarnation of Giorgio Germont. Excellent stage presence and full of vocal gravitas, his duet with Violetta was a highlight of the show. The chorus was spot on, the dancing very catchy, and the San Diego Orchestra sounded like a million bucks.

  • Concert: La Traviata at San Diego Opera
  • Date: April 17
  • Venue: San Diego Civic Theater
  • Seats: balcony W29

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