Utah Arts Review – Utah Opera’s “Traviata” soars with soprano’s poignant Violetta
by Catherine Reese Newton
Salt Lake City’s Capitol Theatre is open for business after renovations–and once again it is Violetta Valéry who is hosting the house-warming party.
As it did in 2014, Utah Opera has chosen Verdi’s beloved La traviata to welcome music lovers back to the company’s longtime home.
Anya Matanovic — a longtime company favorite in roles such as Adina (L’elisir d’amore), Gretel (Hänsel und Gretel) and Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) — gives a knockout performance in the title role. This is the soprano’s second outing as Violetta, and she already invests the role with vocal sparkle and psychological depth.
She is wholly convincing as the carefree party girl of Act I, dazzling the audience with nimble coloratura in “Sempre libera.” Yet the character’s dignity and resolve as she agrees to sacrifice her happiness in Act II don’t come as a surprise, because Matanovic has already shown us this side of Violetta with her reflective, darker-hued “Ah, fors’ è lui.” By the time Violetta’s story reaches its heartbreaking end, the audience has become fully invested in Matanovic’s performance.