In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

DR. VON LYRIC's Clouded Crystal Ball Department

Oct 9, 2014 4:25:00 PM
By BLO Staff

As we get ready for tomorrow's Opening Night, take a look back in time at a review of La Traviata's Boston premiere. Who would have predicted it would become one of the world's most popular operas?

The recent compositions of Mr. Verdi afford a remarkable example of what might be called the "Art of Sinking in Music." Each of the last four or five operas he has given to the world has been considered inferior to that immediately preceding it, and it now becomes a matter for anxious consideration what we are to expect in his next lyrical production, should he continue in this manner. It can hardly be anything better than a series of brilliant and somewhat noisy quadrilles, polkas, and waltzes, for ponderous orchestra, with weak vocal accompaniments. Indeed, while listening to the Traviata one's first thought is - what a beautiful writer of quadrilles was lost to the world when Mr. Verdi devoted himself to the manufacture of operas. That the Traviata is more deficient in science and imagination than anything he has previously written cannot be denied.

The Courier. June 1857.

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