May 28, 2014

Diana Damrau makes long-awaited Opéra de Paris debut, singing La Traviata

The German soprano finally appears at the Opéra Bastille, having cancelled in 2010 for the birth of her first child.
German coloratura soprano Diana Damrau will make her highly anticipated debut with the Opéra National de Parisnext week, in the first summer production at the Opéra Bastille.

Renowned French filmmaker Benoît Jacquot directs a new production of Verdi’s La Traviata, with Damrau as the eponymous ‘fallen woman’. She had been slated to make that role debut in 2012 but was forced to cancel, pregnant with her second child Colyn. When at last she took the stage as Violetta Valéry, she received standing ovations from the ecstatic New York Metropolitan audiences, and has gone on to win over Covent Garden playing Verdi’s tragic courtesan.

Back in December 2010, expecting her firstborn Alexander, Damrau also missed what would have been her debut with the Opéra de Paris as Zerbinette in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos.

Better late than never, especially for a singer with reviews like The Guardian’s for Covent Garden's Traviata:

“Violetta is played by Diana Damrau, a soprano of matchless intelligence. Technically, she is perfectly at ease in a role that has sometimes been described as demanding too much of one singer. So there's both grace and sparkle in the coloratura of Act One, and enough metal in the voice to manage the dramatic extremes of act three. In between, the effect of moral pressure on her relationship with Francesco Demuro's Alfredo, is expressed in breathtaking, superbly controlled lyricism.

“Dramatically, she's outstanding, too. Few Violettas have realised the symptoms of consumption and their relationship to her psychological state with quite such subtle, yet unflinching veracity. Panic crosses her face every time she experiences shortness of breath. A truly disturbing moment of collapse prefaces her decision to give Alfredo up. The final scenes have a remorseless intensity that only the greatest interpreters can accomplish.”

La Traviata at the Opéra Bastille runs June 2-20. Details here.