Diana Damrau (soprano)
This evening I feel like Violetta: it’s a special occasion, and I’ve never felt this way on a stage before and the success hasn’t quite sunk in yet, but I’m happy and proud. I did everything I possibly could. I’ve never sung a Traviata here, or for the opening of the season, and even more in Verdi’s anniversary year. I am very happy.
Dmitri Tcherniakov (director and set designer)
After the curtain came down, he spoke to singers and orchestra: I was very worried about directing La Traviata, because I know what it means to you and this theatre. After three days my worries disappeared because nobody looked at me as this young upstart from Russia here to direct Verdi. Everyone’s helped me and embraced me from the first rehearsal up until tonight. It’s been a fantastic experience. I love you all.
Stéphane Lissner (Director of Teatro alla Scala)
(Referring to the booing) The Taleban are everywhere. I am happy… more than happy. I couldn’t have hoped for more. A performance must create a reaction. The protests came from the traditionalists, but this is normal; I was expecting worse.
Daniele Gatti (conductor)
There is no prejudice when there is focus and concentration. The public who applauded demonstrated their intellectual honesty. This is theatre, and those who have worked on this production have created strong ideas and it is wonderful that the audience can express what they think about it: to divide is more interesting than to unite.
Giorgio Napolitano (Italian President)
“Meravigliosa” – wonderful.
Carla Fracci (ballerina)
I’m all for tradition. I find it nonsensical for a desperate man to be chopping vegetables. I was onstage, as a girl, for Visconti’s Traviata… enough said.
Roberto Bolle (ballet dancer)
Diana Damrau was extraordinary, and overall I liked this Traviata in an evening of celebration. And finally, we celebrate Verdi at La Scala as he deserves.
Giorgio Armani (fashion designer)
This Traviata has left me perplexed. There is updating and updating, and this I didn’t like very much. Years ago I designed costumes for a Così fan tutte at Covent Garden. They were from my collection, but we managed to give it a modern look without betraying the spirit of the opera.
George Loomis (New York Times)
Captivating staging… Mr. Tcherniakov plays down the stuffy moral dimension of La Traviata by setting the opera in the present and making the lovers feel contemporary… As cutting-edge theater goes, Mr. Tcherniakov’s staging is relatively mild. His work has often been more controversial. But this did not stop La Scala’s notorious “loggionisti,” inhabitants of the upper galleries, from voicing their displeasure at the final curtain.
Carla Moreni (Il Sole 24 ore)
Dimitri Tcherniakov’s Traviata has great depth, but is unconvincing. The artificiality he seeks out, underlined by thousands of exaggerated details, is superimposed on a perfect libretto and dramatic structure which Verdi encased in crystal…
No soprano today can compete with Diana Damrau’s Traviata. She sings it regally, and both her voice and the character slowly evolve. What we don’t understand in the staging, is explained by her singing. Extraordinary technically, a queen of Mozart, now a queen of Verdi. Also extraordinary, beside her, is Gatti, always better. I’ve never heard such an illuminating finale. At the end, La Scala had a triumph. Except for boos for the director.
Franco Zeffirelli (director)
Traviata is such a masterpiece that such nonsense shouldn’t be allowed, otherwise the soul of the piece is removed and no emotion arrives from the stage. It’s a pity, because Diana Damrau is so good and she doesn’t deserve to be mixed up in this hotchpotch.
Paolo Isotta (Corriere della Sera)
This is one of the worst Traviatas I can remember. Everyone’s been talking about the staging, but the musical limitations are far more serious, and it’s not the fault of the production… The supporting cast is awful, each one of them.
Alberto Mattioli (La Stampa)
When it came down to it, this Traviata wasn’t scandalous or provocative. But it needed to be booed, and it was.
A triumph for the protagonist, Diana Damrau; applause mixed with boos for the tenor, Piotr Beczala, and conductor, Daniele Gatti, boos mixed with applause for the director, Dmitri Tcherniakov. A special mention must be made for Mara Zampieri, former kamikaze soprano in Verdi’s most deadly roles, and now reinventing herself in an amazing cameo as Annina, Violetta’s maid, who for Tcherniakov becomes her alter ego.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.