La Traviata Opening
"My heart missed so many beats it practically stopped." So wrote Hamish Bowles, European Editor-at-Large for Vogue, of his reaction to his itinerary on a recent trip to Rome. This was indeed a visit to the Eternal City to end all visits. Plainly, the highlight was the preview performance, on May 22nd, of the new La Traviata at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, the first production funded by the Fondazione Valentino. There were too many VIPs to list among the invited guests flocking to the theater to see what first-time opera director Sofia Coppola had made of Verdi's masterwork--with able assistance on the costumes from both Mr. Valentino, who clothed lead soprano Francesca Dotto for the role of Violetta, and Maison Valentino creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, who dressed much of the rest of the cast.
But the sidelights of this spectacular weekend in Rome were nearly as noteworthy. On the Saturday before the preview, Mr. Giammetti threw a sumptuous dinner at the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, the gilded halls of which are lined with Caravaggios; more than a few of the guests snuck away from the dinner table to pay a visit to the ante room where the original of Velazquez'sPortrait of Pope Innocent X is displayed. If that was culture at its very highest, the banging party after the opera preview indulged in a little low: James Righton, better known as a member of the band Klaxons or Mr. Keira Knightley (take your pick!) was on the decks, spinning cheesy Italian pop tunes for the benefit of cast, crew and dazzled Traviata-watchers such as Elizabeth Hurley, Princess Tatiana of Greece, and Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Proud papa Francis Ford Coppola was there, too, cheering on daughter Sofia. If she was feeling any anxiety about making her debut as an opera director, Coppola wasn't showing it—she was turned out in typically elegant style, wearing a high-necked gown of black chiffon. It was a creation of Valentino, of course. What did you expect?