Clyde Opera Group
Renfield Centre, Blythswood Hall
Sat/Sun – 30th/31st Aug, 2022
The Clyde Opera Group are a Glasgow – Scotland based Operatic group who are 7 years in the making. Their first ever production happened in 2016 when they brought the project ‘La Boheme’ to the stage. They are involved in all sorts of internationally fired up projects of old and new theatre these are exciting modern times. Very good to see a stage again I settled in with high art on my mind. The Orchestra played a gentle tune to the evening’s Opera called ‘La Traviata’. The air had electricity in it.
Artistic director and producer Roxana Nite expressed her personal joy and relief that returning to the stage was the best thing ever. There had been nothing possible for the 3 year pause on the world. The title ‘La Traviata’ translates as ‘fallen woman’ which was a strong indication of the content to come.
Under this exciting quality the curtains opened to the stage of a ball of monstrous proportions. Act 1 was quickly begun. Giuseppe Verdi wrote this tale as a 3 act piece, the commotion focused on the figure of a woman who lay in fatigue as the loud party around her was enjoyed. The fate of Violetta Valery, performed on another level by Skye Marie Johnson, (an American vocal master) who is compelling in her roles, would soon be met.
There is no denying the growing international Theatrical interest being inspired right now with attentions and collaborations on internet connections and social media. Often for the work done there is a great desire to celebrate; the heights can be revealed through revelry! Such performance for this show had been sourced from across the globe.
The original 1853 Opera was set to a libretto and revolved around the Paris scene of the time (and the most affluent) the uses of classical theatre were evident. When the voices sang together it seemed like something awesome but things are the way they are. The orchestral music moved effortlessly with every turn of event and ballet too was to play its part.
As rich yet poor Violetta nearly passed out from coughing, we found that she was making way into devoting her life and heart to pleasure. Admirer Alfredo Germont, performed by Stephen Calgaro, (another talented American), stepped in to ease her, coming wildly to her his feelings of love raw to absolute bursting. She famously swerved the encounter by drawing attention to something else, but it seemed a seed had been sown in both their hearts.
Opera offers a wide inclusivity and it stands as an art forever relevant, proving itself with something of a remarkable amalgamation of all the genre’s of Theatre especially in the dynamics that occur from following the righteous, unbounded story. Guiding the enacted and active thoughts there came a time for poetry to intervene. Involved in this story were moments where we could feel in a knowing way; that our hearts would be laid bare before the end, hence the weeping at Opera’s.
Language plays a big part; there are puritans on both sides but to follow the story is everything. And the entire Italian dialogue was translated for us into English on a screen. The dialogue was all very passionately down to earth; the acts are always to simply put down steps. For Violetta the inescapable steps involved enduring the end of her love for Alfredo (the love of the Opera)
Swelling in poetry, the tragedy explored with freshness and naivety an unstoppable journey that had commenced. And the world was waiting to put in their bit. Passion and drive showcased a strong woman though through fright she was often unsure of her choices or of her way ahead. When father of Alfredo intervened his words of sacrifice eventual became the destruction that was seemingly always imminent, Violette’s world was deep in love and bent on a choking life of pleasure.
The group, in whose creative powers there was no doubt, made a flux of entertainment. A joy to follow, flowing in and out of strength, beauty and masterful synchronisation of everything from vocal to orchestra to characters who on stage glowed with personalities as big as life; huge in their physical presence and appearance. The group of dancing gypsies (who danced around in finery like Greeks on a vase) were all formal, but for all their revelry they had a bone to pick which was why they were there.
Crazy Barons up to mischief, a personal maid to Violetta (Annina, played by Hanna Minner)and a doctor (Doctor Grenvil, played by Ben Noble) saw her stripped of her lover and her heart she knew would stop beating. In a naively sentimental stir she was well again for her lover Alfredo was there to hold her. She felt strength again leaving for a moment her sickness behind her for to embrace her love again.
The vocals deliver the style to the story; well written and with a mission. By tricks and deflections our heroin is the true voice of the moment many times the whole production fell onto Skye Marie’s shoulders, she led the way fighting every obstacle until she could do no more. Noticing turns of events brought emotions up through those moments that would lead us in every way to a shiver down a spine, in a very beautiful way.
The word love was repeated with grace as it filled or emptied the stage the voice rose and fell. Reality expressed what the truth was and love made a success of life being worth living. Why shouldn’t she be as good as life is? Even details were fascinating and in every situation of Skye Marie’s actions we came across as welcomed into her ordeal; it really looked like she was fading her face changed.
Acting is a marvel; singing and acting, being part of this entertainment we took in a monumental performance of essentially still a young platform from a place of comfort with a greatly heralded return for the darling Clyde Opera Group. They have worked hard and fought hard to accomplish this evening for the professional ‘La Traviate’ capably bringing an intrigue into work’s to come. We followed a great story of great love, languishment and fevered celebration, as inclusive a thing as there is likely to be.
Reviewer: Daniel Donnelly