becoming traviata

Becoming Traviata Even with previous opportunities, I wasn’t an opera fan before I saw Becoming Traviata, Philippe Béziat’s documentary of an opera company preparing to stage Verdi’s classic of a tragic love affair. Even if your interest in opera is casual, you’ll find the details of preparing the production fascinating. If you’re interested in collaboration, particularly how complex teams work together well, you’ll be captivated by the teamwork and coaching. At its center, the director Jean-Francois Sivadier coaches coloratura soprano Natalie Dessay into an extraordinary musical and acting performance as the opera’s lead, Violetta. The film illustrates how colleagues empower each other’s individual talents with high levels of mutual respect and commitment to the outcome. One small example comes at the end of the film, when an acting coach comes on stage to coach Natalie in her collapse to death that closes the production. Her fluid, expressive body language as she demonstrates the fall is matched by Dessay’s disciplined yet playful response to the coaching, as the camera follows her through several dozen repetitions. It’s a tribute in miniature to the dynamic and rewards of coaching. Like the work of poet David Whyte, Béziat’s lens captures more than its immediate subject, commenting on work, love, and relationships that transcend both.
I found the film life-affirming. Go see it!

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