La Cieca is fully aware that Anna Netrebko is a dress size or two bigger now than she was a couple of years ago. And yet, there is no excuse, no excuse I tell you, to transform the young courtesan Violetta Valery into the middle-aged dowager Mrs. Claypool.
Now, La Cieca has a couple of things to rant about here.
First off, 1920s attire is, in general, not particularly flattering one for operatic figures. Lyric sopranos in general tend to be somewhat curvy, in defiance of the flat-busted and boyish-hipped visual aesthetic of the jazz age silhouette. Of course, there were some singers active in the 1920s who look perfectly charming in the fashion of that era.
But, let’s face it, not everybody has Maria Jeritiza‘s height, superb posture or — this is perhaps the most important point here — her “tempestuous” perfectionism. La Jeritza would never have emerged from her Künstlerumkleide in so ill-fitting a garment as this:
[Netrebko photos by Brant Ward / The Chronicle]
But even when this dress is properly fitted on a slimmer soprano (Elizabeth Futral), the line is not particularly flattering.
So can someone remind La Cieca what’s the point of updating Traviata in the 1920s?