I went to see Seattle Opera's "La Traviata," the Konwitschny production made for English National Opera and Graz Opera. It was sung beautifully and with sensitivity and fidelity to the text by Corrine Winters (Violetta), Joshua Dennis (Alfredo), and Weston Hurt (Germont), whose "Di Provenza" was like velvet. It was cut so that it could be performed without intermission and clock in at less than two hours: there was no Act III ballet, chorus in Act IV, or that awful "Di Provenza" cabaletta, none of which I missed, but no repeat for "Addio, del passato," which I did. Unlike the Met "Eugene Onegin" which went directly from Act II to Act III but tried to indicate the passage of time in the transition, there was no attempt in this production, which ignored the timeline. It was set in the present, which was Verdi's intention when he wrote it. (His producers wouldn't take the risk.) The production was kinesthetically awkward, and not in a powerful way by the self-described "descendent of Brecht." I don't think even in 18th century period costume in the most traditional productions that the points that society is hypocritical and Violetta's friends are shallow are ever lost, but Konwitschny must have decided that we wouldn't get the point unless Germont dragged in his alleged daughter in Act II, a neurotic, clingly schoolgirl of maybe 12 max, which, since the production was set in modern-day Paris and not in the banlieus, and the Germonts weren't portrayed as conservative Muslims, made the issue of an impending marriage being jeopardized by Alfredo's relationship with Violetta inconceivable. (As Cher said at the end of "Clueless", "I'm only 16, and this is California, not Kentucky.") If you didn't already realize that Germont is a manipulative, hypocritical prick, he abuses this daughter in front of Violetta. The timing wasn't right for this to show how Violetta decided to give up Alfredo because she identified with the abused girl and wanted to save her, but even if it had, the girl's presence contradicted the dramatic situation in the text and would have been gratuitous even then. (The girl did make sense, though, of why Alfredo was portrayed like a bookish eight-year-old, two emotional basket cases clinging, literally, to Daddy's knees.) If you still didn't get that Germont was a hypocritical prick, his admonition at the end of Act III about how you do and do not treat a woman was so manipulative and hypocritical, you could not possibly miss it. Then there was the pistol Violetta took out of her purse; she was stopped from shooting herself by Germont. Because in modern day France, Violetta was packing. And if you missed the part about how Violetta was really alone and always alone, in Act IV Germont arrives down the left aisle of the orchestra and stops right next to the front row on the audience side of the orchestra pit, and after Alfredo sings his final duet with Violetta, he comes down to join his father, and they retreat up the aisle as Violetta dies alone. Seriously? New York City Opera did a powerful Muni production in the '80's or maybe early '90's set in the present in which Violetta died of AIDS in a sterile hospital ward. (Act III took place in a leather bar.) So it can be done. Apparently not by Konwitschny. It will be broadcast live on KING.org on Saturday, January 21, at 7:30pm Pacific Time. Thankfully without the visuals.