LSM Newswire

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

[Ottawa] Opera Lyra presents La Traviata

Media Contact: Karl Balisch

Director of Marketing and Communication

T: 613-233-9200 ext 229 F: 613-233-5431 email:

La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi

Opera Lyra joins the Stop TB Partnership

Opera Lyra Ottawa (OLO) presents Verdi's beloved opera, La Traviata, on March 15, 17, 19 and 22, 2008 as the finale to its 2007-2008 season. With one of Verdi's most intoxicating scores, La Traviata is one of the most frequently produced operas and holds the distinction of being the first opera that OLO presented on the NAC Opera stage in Southam Hall 15 years ago, after several seasons of performing on the smaller stage of the NAC Theatre. OLO last presented La Traviata in 2000.

La Traviata, which translates literally as "the woman who strayed" or more figuratively as "the fallen one," is the story of a courtesan living in lavish and sophisticated 19th century Paris. She is the toast of every party, but she is also gravely ill. Violetta dares not imagine finding real love until the charming Alfredo Germont wins her heart. The libretto was written by Francesco Piave, based on the play La Dame aux Camˆ©lias by Alexandre Dumas fils. The music and the story of Verdi's opera stir great sympathy for Violetta whose vulnerability makes her perhaps the most real of Verdi's heroines.

The issue of tuberculosis, the tragic illness which afflicts the ill-fated Violetta, is still an issue of grave concern today. Opera Lyra Ottawa has joined the Stop TB Partnership* to help raise awareness about TB among people who love opera. In its new role as a Stop TB Partner, Opera Lyra is collaborating on one of the Partnership's newest initiatives, Music to Stop TB. Music to Stop TB is an advocacy project that draws on longstanding links between TB and opera - particularly La Traviata (Verdi) and La Bohˆ®me (Puccini), whose narrative also focuses on the tragic death of a young woman from TB. The movement also seeks to raise awareness about TB through performances of music by Chopin, Boccherini, Pergolesi and other composers whose lives were taken by TB.

Canadian soprano Laura Whalen, who was praised in Opera Lyra's production of Romˆ©o et Juliette for her "lovely and powerful" voice, returns to Ottawa to sing the role of Violetta. Tenor Kurt Lehmann will bring his "honey toned voice" and "clean romantic delivery" to the role of Alfredo, and baritone Gregory Dahl, who was an audience favourite as Ford in OLO's Falstaff (2006), returns to make his debut in the role of Giorgio, Alfredo's father.

Tenor, Benoit Boutet, who has performed in OLO's productions of Otello (2007) and Les Contes d'Hoffmann (2005), returns for the role of Gastone. Bass Gregory Atkinson sings the role of Dr. Grenvil; and Quebec-born mezzo-soprano Renˆ©e Lapointe sings the role of Flora, friend of Violetta. Canadian baritone Sean Watson will sing in the role of Baron Douphol; baritone Andrew Tees will sing the role of the Marchese d'Obigny. Both baritones have previously sung in the matinee productions presented by Opera Lyra for schools over the past two seasons.

The production will be set in a traditional fashion as directed by Joseph Bascetta, whose stage direction in OLO's 2002 production of La Bohˆ®me was cited as "imaginative" and possessing scenes with "spectacular" results by local critics. Opera Carolina General Director & Principal Conductor James Meena, who was the celebrated conductor of Opera Lyra Ottawa's Don Pasquale (2003), returns to conduct the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Sets for this production have been rented from the New Orleans Opera Association.

Opera Lyra Ottawa gratefully acknowledges the generous support of our sponsors who make the 2007-2008 season possible. We thank Bell, Season Sponsor, as well as our other Principal Sponsors: Cadillac, Rio Tinto Alcan, Sun Life Financial, and Ottawa Citizen; Major Sponsors: Arosa Suites Hotel, Custom Printers, Handa Travel, CBC/Radio-Canada and Couleur FM; and Key Sponsor Bombardier. Opera Lyra would also like to thank the following agencies for their support: the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Ottawa and the Ontario Arts Foundation.

Learn more about the opera

Sung in Italian with English and French Surtitles, performances of La Traviata will begin at 8:00 pm. Pre-opera chats are presented in the NAC one-hour prior to each performance. These offer an opportunity to learn more about the composer, background and historical significance of the opera. English Pre-Opera Chats for La Traviata will be presented on March 15 and 19 and French Pre-Opera Chats on March 17 and 22. Pre-Opera Chats are presented free of charge to all patrons.

The OLO Guild will present Opera Insights on March 4, at 7:00 pm at the Library and Archives Canada. This highly informative event will introduce the music, history, and themes of Verdi's tragic opera. Ingemar Korjus will be joined by cast members for a lecture and an interactive round-table discussion as they share their experiences, views and a great deal of interesting information. Tickets are $15 and are available from Opera Lyra's box office. Call 613-233-9200.

Bring your lunch to the NAC on March 6 at noon and enjoy a free concert at the Fourth Stage featuring artists of the OLO Opera Studio as they perform excerpts of La Traviata. This is an excellent opportunity to hear more of the music from the opera before it is presented on the mainstage.

Ticket Information:

Single tickets, from $39 to $165, are available from the NAC box office and all Ticketmaster locations (service fees will be applied). Visit Ticketmaster online or call 613-755-1111.

DISCOUNTS: For groups of 10 or more please call Opera Lyra Ottawa at 613-233-9200 and ask about our group rates.

Students with a valid Live Rush¬ô membership card may buy up to 2 tickets per performance at a discount price. Tickets may be purchased online or in person at the NAC Box Office on the day of the performance between 2 and 6 pm. More information is available at

About Opera Lyra Ottawa

Opera Lyra Ottawa is a not-for-profit organization with the mandate to produce and present opera productions in the National Capital Region of the highest quality and to promote opera as an art form, making it accessible to as large a segment of the population as possible through community outreach and education. Wherever possible, Opera Lyra Ottawa is committed to encourage, nurture and support Canadian artists. For more information please visit

About the Stop TB Partnership*

The Stop TB Partnership, whose secretariat is hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, is a network of more than 700 international organizations, countries, donors from the public and private sectors, tuberculosis patients and nongovernmental and governmental organizations working together towards a world free of tuberculosis.

Special support for organizing the collaboration with Opera Lyra Ottawa has been provided by: Lilly MDR-TB Partnership, Stop TB Canada, and Results Canada. To learn more about tuberculosis, please visit

The Cast and Production Crew

Violetta Valˆ©ry Laura Whalen (soprano)

Gastone Benoit Boutet (tenor)

Alfredo Germont Kurt Lehmann (tenor)

Baron Douphol Sean Watson (baritone)

Flora Bervoix Renˆ©e Lapointe

Marquis D'Obigny Andrew Tees (baritone)

Annina Danielle Dudycha (soprano)

Giuseppe Michael Carty (tenor)

Giorgio Germont Gregory Dahl (baritone)

The Commissioner Christopher Mallory (bass)

Doctor Grenvil Gregory Atkinson (bass)

Conductor - James Meena

Stage Director - Joseph Bascetta

Artistic Director – Tyrone Paterson

Chorus Master - Laurence Ewashko

Lighting Designer - Steve Ross

Stage Manager - Thomas L. Schweitzer

Opera Lyra Ottawa Chorus

National Arts Centre Orchestra

Costumes Malabar Limited

Scenery made available courtesy of

New Orleans Opera Association

Karl Balisch
Director of Marketing and Communications (613) 233-9200 ext 229

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