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Captivating performances wow the Belgrade

La Traviata, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, August 31 only.

This was the second Russian State Ballet and Opera performance at the Belgrade, following on from the previous night's production of Carmen, part of an extensive UK tour which includes productions of Madame Butterfly. The company has been bringing ballet and opera to the country for 11 years, the idea being to take shows not just to London, but also to provincial theatres to give regional audiences the opportunity to see first class performances.

They also bring with them a live orchestra, giving an added depth to the shows. The Russian State Ballet and Opera House states that it was created to present ballet and opera with the “highest quality and passion”. Last night the Belgrade crowd was not disappointed - from the response at the end of the show, the audience loved it. La Traviata was a triumph indeed! From the sumptuous opening scenes, where the courtesans flounced on in their beautiful dresses, we were drawn into the tale of love, jealousy, misunderstandings and death. The rich tones of the soprano, baritone and tenor singers along with the fantastic orchestra brought the tragic story of Giuseppe Verdi’s fallen woman to life. Valeriya Balandina gave a powerful performance in the lead role as Violetta, the prostitute who becomes the lover of wealthy Alfredo, played by Aleksandr Stolbov. Her vulnerability and physical decline in a world dominated by masculine double standards was captivating.

Well done to the Belgrade for hosting this production. I loved it, but maybe in future someone could make sure the technology behind the surtitles appearing above the stage is a little more effective.

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