Mother and child

Quick pre-opera photo by Peter Broadbent.

My most favourite opera of all and the very first my mother saw in her teens, made for an extra special evening at The Grand in Leeds for Opera North’s epic operatic and most tragic love story, La traviata.

This was most fortunately, the second Saturday in a row that my mother and I ventured into the cold to enjoy a night at the opera.

Thank you Opera North for the kind invitations and please do check out my review of the enchanting The Marriage of Figaro on the blog too.

Director Alessandro Talevi and designer Madeleine Boyd (The Turn of the Screw, Don Giovanni) set Opera North’s first new production in 15 years in Belle Époque Paris for a tense, sat on the edge of your seat, moving, most tearful 2 1/2 hours, so please, if you are lucky enough to attend, take tissues.

Lots of tissues.

La traviatta-Opera North

Photograph by Richard H Smith.

Those who follow my twitter account will most probably know that I cried several times throughout Saturday’s performance, and even before the first interval too- such was the spectacle, passion and sheer chemistry between quite frankly the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen (a cross between Angelina Jolie and Jessie J) Anna Jeruc-Kopec, in the role of Violetta, and the dashing, truly sensational Ji-Min Park as Alfredo.

For those unfamiliar with the story, Violetta is a courtesan enjoying the Parisian high-life when to her surprise, she falls head over heels in love with the loyal and loving Alfredo and he with her.

Tragically though, she can’t escape her checkered past and when Alfredo’s father demands she leave his son and sacrifice her love for him, it breaks her heart, literally, leading to her death at the close of the piece.

La traviatta

Photo by Richard H Smith.

La traviatta is a classic tale of eternal, unconditional love that will touch and move you beyond words, with the lovers being reunited eventually in the final scene, late, but not too late, to reconfirm their love, before Violetta dies.

La traviatta

Photo by Richard H Smith.

The audience are taken on a powerful, emotive and, importantly cathartic journey with this piece -the Ancient Greeks passed a law that citizens (sexistly men only) had to visit the amphitheatres regularly so as to experience catharsis-to vicariously face their fears and overcome adversity via the characters, with the belief they would become a well rounded, happier person.

I’m might be biased (being originally Greek 😉 ) but I do believe the arts do this and more, they feed the soul, they nourish, and a true sign of a great opera (or any piece of drama for that matter) is that you were able for the duration to free yourself and shaymanistally appropriate the artists’ roles.

Time ceases to exist as you are transported across space, time and geography, following the characters every move- you fall in love with them as they do with one another, you feel, you change, and finally, you leave the theatre utterly transformed…

I believe Verdi composed the most heartfelt music of his career with this tense, profoundly touching masterpiece and sitting close enough to see the actors’ expressions, I can vouch that the thespians’ performances more than equalled their singing voices making this one of the most accomplished productions I’ve seen to date.

I must also mention the captivating costume design too which you can see above, from shimmering gold gowns to crimson backless dresses, I found myself coveting every single outfit change there was.

My own dress, at the top of the post, was c/o of Planet at Jacques Vert, a brand I model for (with a new campaign featuring their latest collections for Nova Harley and Cosatto in March).

This pretty black A-line dress with orange belt and cropped jacket is elegant British style at its best, ideal occasionwear for a night at the opera that’s for sure.

…A beautiful dress I’m sure you’d agree, for a worthy, outstanding and most heartrending night to remember.

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49 Responses

  1. Adventures of a Novice Mum

    I’ve finally made it to reading your opera post as I said I would on instagram weeks ago! I can definitely see how it moved you to tears. Opera really touches on raw human emotions, doesn’t it. I’ve never been to one but I know I’ll enjoy it when I do go. The drama of the costume, movements, soprano, intense expression is incredible. Deathly love stories are even more heartwrenching! Thanks for sharing.
    Adventures of a Novice Mum recently posted…The Gift of Precious SparkleMy Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      It really is, I adore the opera and can’t wait to attend again soon, thanks for your lovely comment,you are so right, such an emotional rollercoaster x

      Reply
  2. Sian

    Sounds like a wonderful performance. And your dress is gorgeous. The only opera I’ve seen is Madame Butterfly. I will have to try another one when I’m back to being able to leave the house in the evenings!

    Reply
  3. Leigh - Headspace Perspective

    Sounds like a beautiful evening. Those costumes are incredible! Your outfit is gorgeous, that orange belt really pops. I saw Madame Butterfly at Opera North when I was a student. I didn’t really get it – I think it was a bit grown up for me at the time! I love theatre (loved going to the West Yorkshire Playhouse) so shall have to try opera again xx #brilliantblogposts

    Reply
  4. Ali

    I’vegreat review of the opera, I love your outfit, it’s difficult finding something classy & warm for a winter night out but you nailed it! Brilliant blog post ; )

    Reply
  5. Our Seaside Baby

    Ah wow, looks like you had a wonderful night and beautiful dress. La Traviata is actually my favourite opera, I’ve seen it several times, the last one at the Royal Opera House in London. It’s moved me every single time, such powerful pieces. Just a tad jealous of your night 😉

    Reply
  6. Hayley

    I love theatre but I`ve never seen an opera, this sounds amazing…really must make the effort to see one this year! x

    Reply
  7. Kezzie

    What amazing costumes! I used to play for operas and even from the orchestra pit, without being able to see anything, I would sense the emotion and fall under the spell of the story. I know the music of La Triviata well but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it staged! Thank you for the great review! Have you seen any Puccini? He’s another one for the heartstrings. I love a good bit of Mozart too!x

    Reply
    • honestmum

      What an experience Kezzie, I made a film for the ENO on Lucia di Lammermoor many years ago and it was such an incredible experience, to be backstage, shooting the rehearsals and really living the opera production through the cast and crew’s eyes. You can watch it on my site site vpsarias.co.uk if you fancy x

      Reply
  8. Mum Reinvented

    Gorgeous dress and what an amazing opera to wear it to. I must admit I haven’t seen much opera, only Carmen, but it’s amazing how moving music and song can be.

    Reply
  9. Zena's Suitcase

    Firstly, you are looking stunning as always! Secondly this sounds like an amazing night. I think the opera is a really powerful medium. I think I’d really enjoy this. You’re so right about the tissues Zx

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Aw Zena thanks, I was a bit unwell for the photo so thank you, that means a lot. It really is such a powerful medium, felt privileged to attend x

      Reply
  10. Mama and More aka Zaz

    Oh Vicki, what a gorgeously written post, your passion really shines through here. I adore the opera, especially La Traviata, and the Marriage of Figaro is also a fave. We sometimes go to the open air Holland Park opera, such fun. Love your recount of this, it almost brought me to tears, and theatrical costumes are always so divine! You definitely have the hair of an opera diva! Lovely pic of you as always x

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Thanks so much darling, your words have really touched me. It such a magical evening, I was almost scared I wouldn’t do it justice. Your comment means a lot x

      Reply
  11. Polly Mixtures

    What an eloquently written post. La Traviata is my favourite opera, it was on at Glyndebourne last year and I had to miss it because my due date was too close and I cried like a baby when I realised I would have to miss it. I’ve seen so many operas but nothing tugs at your heart strings the way La Traviata does. Great review. P x

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Totally agree, it really does, it stands out as my favourite too, sorry you missed it last year-your own production had it’s premiere though 😉 x

      Reply
  12. Cardiff Mummy Says

    Ah, I love La Traviata. It makes me cry every time. We are lucky here in Cardiff to have the wonderful Welsh National Opera so I have seen their productions of this a few times. For anyone reading your blog and new to opera, I would recommend Puccini as a good place to start, La Boheme and Madama Butterfly. Both really beautiful. #brilliantblogposts

    Reply
  13. Isabella Fairies & Pirates

    Wow, that looks and sounds like an amazing night! You have made me want to book tickets to an opera asap. I love the opera. When I started out as a journalist, I used to write lots of reviews for the arts section of my newspaper and was fortunate enough to have seen many operas and other concerts. But this is a long time ago and I have mostly forgotten how beautiful an experience it is. Thanks for reminding me! x

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Oh what a touching comment, thank you so much, it was such a moving production, the finest I’ve seen. I was lucky enough in my work as a filmmaker to make a promo film for the ENO and my parents are keen opera fans so introduced my brother and I in our teens. You really must book again and you can review on your blog x

      Reply
  14. Lewis@Dadwhoblogs

    I’ve always liked the idea of the Opera in the same way as going to a classical performance. Although I would enjoy the show I wouldn’t have a clue what was going on! 🙂

    L

    Reply
  15. MummyWrites

    Wow, what stunning photography (and you look beautiful!). My mum loves the opera and La Traviata is one of her favourites. I’d love to go to a big show (it’s on the to-do list) but thank you for sharing a beautiful evening

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Thanks so much, the photographs were from Opera North, see I don’t think it’s a good picture of me but husband only took 3, 2 of me and one of my boots for my style blog! Thanks darling x

      Reply
  16. al Ferguson

    I have never been to the Opera but the wife and I wrote a bucket list a while back and to go and see an opera together way on there. This has given me a nudge to get on with working through the list. And to remember the tissues 🙂 Thank you

    Reply
    • honestmum

      You really must Al, such an incredible experience, take a lot of tissues if you’re seeing La traviata, there are lot of comedy operas too!

      Reply
  17. Jules

    Wow I’ve never been to the Opera. Sounds amazing and I after art definitely feeds the soul. We are going to the Tate Modern and then the theatre tomorrow as our “Date Day” so I’ll have this in my head 🙂

    Reply

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