There isn’t as much wrong with Marta Domingo’s Traviata as with some of her past desecrations (remember La Rondine?), and the general squalor of her production, of which she is both director and designer, is offset by the general excellence of the singing and of the music itself. Her stage sets seem to consist of objects simply dropped at various places: a Deco table and chairs at midstage against some singularly ugly trees for Act 2, a bed downstage in the final scene with a blanket that makes it look as if Violetta is lying in soapsuds. Overall, however, I see no point in any attempt to move this intensely 1850s work, remarkable in its day as an opera set in its own time, out of that time. Every wisp of fragrance in the music, every current in the moral tone of its story, belongs where Verdi — and his inspiring playwright, Alexandre Dumas — set it, and an Art Deco Traviata is just willfully and groundlessly false.
But there are the Violetta of Elizabeth Futral, her pure coloratura tinged with a splendid sense of urgency; the Alfredo of Joseph Calleja, a remarkably convincing dramatic tenor new to these ears; and the Papa Germont of Dwayne Croft, forthright and sympathetic. John Fiore’s musical leadership strikes me more as tidy than inspired, but a strong tidying hand, considering the onstage mess, isn’t such a bad idea.