Glyndebourne 2014: La traviata reviews

The 2014 Glyndebourne season continued with the opening of Verdi's La traviata on Thursday 17 July, conducted by Sir Mark Elder. The London Philharmonic Orchestra will give 13 performances of the opera on various dates until 23 August.

The 10 August performance will be broadcast live in cinemas nationwide and streamed on the Telegraph website: details here. The production will later go on tour across the UK in the autumn: details here.

Here are the first press reviews:

‘Beneath the long lines he coaxes from the London Philharmonic, [Elder] gives the music a precise rhythmic pulse and draws revealing contrapuntal threads at the least expected moments.’
Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 18 July 2014

‘One of Verdi’s most lyrical scores is exquisitely conducted by Mark Elder. Scholars may question some of his unusual textual choices, but there can be no doubt of his mastery of the opera’s dramatic shape and instrumental palette, flawlessly rendered by the London Philharmonic. Even the most banal of accompaniments is made meaningful, with every phrase thoughtfully nuanced; the singers are supported, but the orchestration is honoured too – not least in ravishing accounts of the Preludes.’ (4 stars)
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 18 July 2014

‘Mark Elder, conducting a London Philharmonic Orchestra responsive to each inflection, can take even higher credit at Glyndebourne than director Tom Cairns … Elder so painstakingly underpins every heartbeat, each of Verdi’s rhythms, bass lines and musical twists to the sorrow in the text that a stupendous tension, rather than just a deep sadness leading to the usual indulgent weepfest at Violetta’s last moments, informs the entire performance.’
David Nice, The Arts Desk, 18 July 2014

‘Three ideally cast lead singers and Glyndebourne choristers carrying all before them were blest, in Mark Elder, with a conductor capable of shaping and exploring the music so that it gleamed like new.’ (4 stars)
Mark Valencia, What’s On Stage, 18 July 2014

‘What makes the evening genuinely special, however, is the conducting of Mark Elder, who draws superb playing from the London Philharmonic Orchestra. One of the great Verdi interpreters of our day, Elder has taken careful note of the composer’s markings, and accompanimental figures that sound routine in lesser hands here take on real life and meaning. The result, musically, is a truly memorable performance’
George Hall, The Stage, 18 July 2014

‘Superb support from the orchestra under the baton of Mark Elder’
Mark Ronan (blog), 18 July 2014

‘Driving it all, sensitive to every nuance and every brilliant colour in the score, is the conductor Mark Elder, keeping the London Philharmonic on a tight leash, never letting them overwhelm the voices and maintaining brisk and fiery tempi at all times.’ (5 stars)
Stephen Pritchard, The Observer, 20 July 2014

‘Musically there is much to relish. Mark Elder, ever the elegant stylist in this repertoire, has the London Philharmonic Orchestra exhibiting purity of sound and articulation with a quite wondrous transparency in the rarefied string lines of the first and last scene preludes and a biting, highly rhythmic, banda effect in the ensemble numbers.’
Edward Seckerson (blog), 20 July 2014

‘With the London Philharmonic in excellent form, [Elder] elicits remarkable, veiled textures that seem to epitomise the hollowness of Violetta’s existence. And not a single oom-pah accompaniment passes without some subtle shading.’
Richard Morrison, The Times, 21 July 2014 (online access for subscribers only)

‘Mark Elder coaxes the London Philharmonic Orchestra into fragile pianissimos and delicately unfolding phrases. His Verdi … is exploratory and questioning, never forcing a conclusion or overworking his material.’ (4 stars)
Alexandra Coghlan, The Independent, 23 July 2014

‘Sir Mark Elder draws sensitive, searing Verdian playing from the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He makes this wonderful score sound newly minted.’ (4 stars)
David Gillard, Daily Mail, 25 July 2014

‘[Elder’s conducting is extremely fine once more, managing to be lucid and intelligent, thrillingly dramatic and lovingly shaped. The playing of the LPO is of supremely high quality throughout.’
Hugo Shirley, The Spectator, 26 July 2014

‘With Mark Elder as conductor, the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s playing is flawless, dramatically shaped and strong on detail.’ (4 stars)
Clare Colvin, The Sunday Express, 27 July 2014

‘If the evening has an undisputed star, it is Mark Elder, whose conducting of the London Philharmonic was utterly devoid of the kind of routine La traviata is usually subjected to in repertoire houses.’
Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, 27 July 2014 (online access to subscribers only)

‘Mark Elder and his orchestra are on such superb form.’
David Mellor, The Mail on Sunday, 27 July 2014 (not online)