VERDI'S TRAGIC TALE IS A TRIUMPH; WHAT ARE YOU DOING THIS WEEKEND? LA TRAVIATA THEATRE ROYAL, GLASGOW 19.10.17.
IF ANYONE in the packed theatre was expecting a happy ending to Verdi's tragic masterpiece about a consumptive courtesan, the set soon put them right.
Beneath the delicious fin-de-siecle furniture, the floor of the stage was a tombstone bearing Violetta's name.
At one point, when her friends gather for a riotous party, they are actually dancing on her grave.
This new version of Scot Sir David McVicar's 2008 production is everything an opera should be.
Guinara Shafigullina is as convincing a Violetta as it's possible to be when you are owning a hair-tingling aria one minute then coughing up blood the next.
Dutch tenor Peter Gjisbertsen is a slight, anxious Alfredo. The pair's quieter moments are more affecting than their big set pieces.
It all looks gorgeous, all top hats, can-can dancers and portentous bunches of flowers. Even the velvet drapes echo the fate of the doomed couple. The orchestra play up a storm.
If only she didn't have to die in the end.
ANNA BURNSIDE? At Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, next month and on tour, see www.scottishopera.org.uk
BRILLIANT La Traviata