LSM Newswire

Monday, September 21, 2009

La Traviata opens October 1st

La traviata
OCTOBER 1, 6, 8 AND 10, 2009, AT 8 PM, AND OCTOBER 3 AT 3 PM
September 15, 2009

’Ä®Pacific Opera Victoria is thrilled to present a landmark season that has’Ä®expanded to include four operas and matinˆ©e performances. The season’Ä®opens with one of the most popular operas in the world, Verdi's La’Ä®traviata, October 1, 3 (matinˆ©e), 6, 8 and 10, 2009 at the Royal’Ä®Theatre, 805 Broughton Street in Victoria. Evening performances begin’Ä®at 8pm with pre-performance lectures at 6:45pm. The matinˆ©e performance’Ä®on October 3 begins at 3pm, with pre-performance lecture at 2pm.

La traviata ("the fallen woman") is the story of a courtesan who finds’Ä®true love, generously renounces it, then regains it, only to die far too’Ä®young. The only one of his operas set in his own time, La traviata is’Ä®Verdi's most personal opera, the one into which he poured all his’Ä®compassion and tenderness; in fact his original title for the work was’Ä® Amore e Morte - Love and Death.

Of the music, much of it familiar, all of it glorious, Conductor Timothy’Ä®Vernon says, "This astonishing score ’Ķ is one long stream of amazing’Ä®lyrical inspiration - the work of a great genius writing at the height’Ä®of his power."

La traviata was inspired by the play La Dame aux camˆ©lias, adapted by’Ä®Alexandre Dumas the Younger from his novel of the same name - a’Ä®shocking, semi-autobiographical best seller about Dumas' affair with a’Ä®notorious Paris courtesan who died of consumption at the age of 20. The’Ä®story is also well known through the 1936 movie Camille, which featured’Ä®Greta Garbo in her finest screen performance.

With his compassionate portrayal of a contemporary prostitute, Verdi ran’Ä®afoul of the censors, who insisted he move the opera 150 years into the’Ä®past. Verdi was further dismayed by what he saw as the fiasco of the’Ä®opera's 1853 premiere - caused in part by a soprano who was too plump to’Ä®be wasting away from consumption. However La traviata has now soared to’Ä®the top of the repertoire; Opera America lists it as the third most ’Ä®frequently performed opera in North America.

The beautiful, notoriously challenging role of Violetta is the most’Ä®coveted - and feared - of soprano roles, and an important debut for any’Ä®singer. For POV's three previous productions of the opera, Artistic’Ä®Director Timothy Vernon has offered this role debut to Sally Wolf,’Ä®Liping Zhang and Sally Dibblee - each to critical acclaim. This’Ä®production presents Sookhyung Park in her debut as Violetta. Ms. Park's’Ä®breathtaking portrayal of the title character in POV's Daphne (2007) was’Ä®hailed as a "heartfelt, psychologically concentrated Daphne, riding the’Ä®swirling euphoric orchestra lines with never a crease in the pearly’Ä®sheen of her lovely sound".

Timothy Vernon's inspired casting includes Vale Rideout who makes his’Ä®company and role debut as Alfredo Germont, along with returning artists’Ä®Bruce Kelly (Madama Butterfly and The Magic Flute) as Giorgio Germont’Ä®and Andrew Greenwood (Idomeneo) as Douphol. Participants in the POV’Ä®Resident Artist Program make their POV mainstage debuts: Giles Tomkins’Ä®as Dr. Grenvil, Cory Knight as Gaston, Heather Jewson as Flora, Betty’Ä®Waynne Allison as Annina and Pierre-Etienne Bergeron as Marchese’Ä®d'Obigny.

Pacific Opera Victoria has chosen to honour Verdi's desire to keep La’Ä®traviata contemporary by setting it in 1949 Paris - an era that retains’Ä®the glamour of Violetta's world, but is close enough to the present to’Ä®convey the immediacy of the composer's vision. POV's wholly original’Ä®production is directed by Dennis Garnhum, a UVic theatre grad and’Ä®currently Artistic Director of Theatre Calgary. Twenty years ago’Ä®Garnhum interned with the late Colin Graham, one of the world's most’Ä®noted opera directors. With this production Dennis makes his POV - and’Ä®professional opera - directing debut. Garnhum is joined by designer’Ä®David Boechler, who has worked with the Shaw and Stratford Festivals.

La traviata is conducted by Timothy Vernon, and features the Victoria’Ä®Symphony. Lighting design is by Kevin Lamotte and choreography by’Ä®Jacques Lemay. The opera is sung in Italian with English surtitles.’Ä®Running time is approximately two hours and thirty minutes with one’Ä®intermission.

Pacific Opera Victoria presents only five performances of La traviata,’Ä®and anticipates a sold-out run. ’Ä®Priced between $25 and $115, tickets are available from the Royal and’Ä®McPherson Box Office at 250-386-6121, or on-line at’Ä®Student RUSH tickets for those presenting valid student identification’Ä®are available at the door of the theatre, 45 minutes prior to each’Ä®performance, subject to availability. RUSH tickets are $15, inclusive’Ä®of all box office charges.

For more information, please contact Pacific Opera Victoria at (250)’Ä®385-0222 or visit


Post a Comment


Create a Link

<< Home