It's Saint Patick's Day...the only thing green I am wearing is a necklace with a green heart as the focal point. Instead of listening to 'Danny Boy' in an Irish Pub (hmmm, maybe I should put that on my list of things to find) in South Korea...I opted to attend an Opera. In Daegu, they happen to have one of the most incredible Opera Houses I have ever seen (haven't seen Sydney's yet)and they just happened to be playing Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata...one night only...as part of their "Spring Love" series.
I arrived early enough to take an interior shot...an amazing four balconies...with incredible acoustics. Yes, it is an incredibly beautiful facility, that made me wonder if the performance would hold up. I waited in anticipation and was dutifully reminded that I of course could not photograph the performance...sliding my camera back into my purse. I sat back with my notebook on the main floor...seated center stage fifteen rows back. Close enough and far enough away for perfect viewing and hearing.
I was incredibly impressed with the performance...and shocked. The staging seemed so minimal, but somehow it worked. It modernized this classic and while the character Violetta (played by Se-jin Lee) was dying...there was a type of Martha Graham style dancer in the background. For whatever reason this extra bit heightened the drama in the scene. Kudos to Mi-ji Choi for the incredible stage direction. The whole cast was incredible, but what surprised me was the rather sedate nature of the audience...it was by western standards a tough crowd.
The orchestra, conducted flawlessly by Jin-mo Yang...had every bit of emotion pouring through with the right amount of technical expertise.
The cast definitely had the voice for this venue...and the true test was simple. I closed my eyes and just listened and didn't feel like I was in Korea anymore. They were voices without origin...it was the music that came through, in all of its heart rendering emotion.
As people left at the end of the performance, I lingered to take a few more shots, and to my delight I met a few of the cast members who came out to greet the stragglers and some of the media.
Seong-shuel Kim who played Germont. He brought out the largest reaction from the audience.