Outstanding: Ekaterina Bakanova as Violetta in Covent Garden

Opera Magazine, UK – August 2017
EkaterinaBakanova_atCoventGarden[…] Ekaterina Bakanova took the audience by storm on 4 July 2015, when she stepped in at five hours’ notice for Sonya Yoncheva as Violetta in the Royal Opera’s revival of La traviata. Richard Eyre’s sumptuous 1994 production was back again this summer, revived by Bárbara Lluch, this time with Bakanova thoroughly prepared, and it was immediately clear how she had cast such a spell two years ago. Her voice is bright, lean and free of any hint of oversized luxuriousness, her vocal persona fired up by a generous spirit and expertly applied musicality. The clincher, though, in terms of technique, was the way all her accomplished decorative work was hugely expressive and unobtrusively well defined. “Sempre libera”, despite lacking the climactic top E flat, was a show-stopper, and her reaction to Alfredo’s serenade expanded the drama at this point in a way that rarely happens. It helped, obviously, that, with her fine good looks and an intensely communicative stage presence, Bakanova had no problems recreating the extremes of Violetta’s defiance and desperation, her fragility and fatal sickness. I could go on about the conversational directness of her recitative singing, the emotional verismo of her and Germont père’s brokering her break-off with Alfredo, and the pallor that seeped into her voice for her beautifully paced death scene, but the point is made that Bakanova’s portrayal of Violetta was outstanding. […]

– 20 June, 2017 by Peter Reed


La traviata Royal Opera at Covent Garden, June 20