From the Royal Chorus in Japan - The First Night of La traviata
©Photo: Neil Gillespie
We have just finished the opening night of La traviata at Kamakoura and what an exciting night it was.
A large group of us travelled part of the way by train and then completed the journey by boat which was very pleasant in the hot and sweaty morning sun. It is such a good way to see the wonderful modern buildings in this very upmarket area. Of course, we had to have lunch in Chinatown in Kamakoura and DimSum hit the spot admirably. I swear those corsets are shrinking in the wash!
And so to the performance itself. Our leading lady, sadly was clearly unwell and did a marvellous job in Act One but she felt unable to continue with the remainder of the opera. Our hearts went out to her and we could all feel her distress and in the Brindisi every chorister was raising a glass to her in encouragement. I can only imagine what it is like to have to withdraw halfway through a performance and we all wish her a speedy recovery. We were lucky to have an excellent understudy, Ailyn Pérez who is also understudying Manon ( which is no mean feat). This was her debut with the ROH and she truly rose to the occasion giving an amazing debut performance which was greatly appreciated by the marvellous audience. The ovations for both Manon and La traviata have been fantastic and I think we all thought the Japanese might be rather reserved in their applause but it has been quite the opposite.
The evening was rounded off with a splendid party hosted by the sponsor of the tour, NBS. This was held in a beautiful apartment decorated with gorgeous antiques and artefacts collected over many years and it was a very lavish occasion with champagne and great food. We even had mashed potato with the lovely pork loin (he must have heard of the British love affair with the potato). Everyone was on great form and Tony Pappano was adding to his photo collection with snaps of chorus mingling with orchestra – yes it does happen sometimes!! It was great to see Tony relaxing with a glass of wine in his hand as opposed to a baton! A very generous evening from the sponsors and a lovely way to end a very exciting evening.
- Yvonne Barclay