WINNIPEG, MB - Manitoba Opera premieres a new production of the much-loved opera, La Traviata, this spring.
One of the best-loved, most frequently performed, recorded, and filmed of all operas, La Traviata, will be presented by Manitoba Opera at the Centennial Concert Hall April 14, 17 and 20.
The company will be premiering a new production set in a 1920s Parisian cabaret. In this version, a wealthy young gentleman and a celebrated music hall artist, inspired by the legendary performer of that era, Josephine Baker, find true love, only to be separated by family, society, and finally, death.
Renowned Canadian director Alain Gauthier explains the inspiration for the setting: "The music hall scene in the 1920s was at its apogee in Paris and stars like Baker were admired and marginalized, just like Violetta in La Traviata. La Traviata, apart from being the unfortunate story of a sick courtesan, is also the tale of a rejected woman; rejected for her choices, but also for who she deeply is. In that sense, making Violetta a music hall artist could powerfully enhance the dramatic impulses of this opera."
This tragic love story that has melted hearts for over 150 years was originally set in and around Paris about 1700. It is based on the real-life French courtesan, Marie Duplessis, whose lover, Alexandre Dumas (the younger), wrote the novel and play on which the great Italian composer, Guiseppe Verdi, based his opera.
"The Fallen One" features some of the most memorable music ever written for opera including the boisterous drinking song, Brindisi: "Liabiamo, libiamo ne 'lieti calici!" and Violetta's irresistible pledge to pleasure: "Sempre libera degg'io."
A Canadian Opera First!
This is the first-ever co-production involving five Canadian opera companies: Manitoba Opera, Vancouver Opera, Opéra de Montréal, Pacific Opera Victoria, and Edmonton Opera. The production, which has been designed by Christina Poddubiuk of Stratford, ON, will have its premiere in Winnipeg. The set will be built by Edmonton Opera, and the costumes and props will be built by Pacific Opera Victoria.
A Stellar Cast
The cast will include American-born soprano Angel Blue as Violetta in her Manitoba Opera debut. Ms. Blue is quickly establishing herself as one of the best singers of her generation, having performed in over 30 countries in the last five years. She was recently called "The clear star" by the New York Times, for her performance as Mimi in La Bohème at the Metropolitan Opera.
Canadian tenor Adam Luther, another singer on the rise, will also be making his Manitoba Opera debut as Alfredo. Baritone James Westman is back on the MO stage as Germont, Alfredo's father (he last performed with MO as Figaro in the 2009 production of The Barber of Seville). The Quebec-based director Alain Gauthier will be making his MO directing debut, and Tyrone Paterson will once again conduct with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in the pit.
Tickets on sale now: 204-944-8824; www.manitobaopera.mb.ca
By Darlene Ronald