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

Pacific Opera Victoria is thrilled to present a landmark season that has
expanded to include four operas and matinée performances. The season
opens with one of the most popular operas in the world, Verdi's La
traviata, October 1, 3 (matinée), 6, 8 and 10, 2009 at the Royal
Theatre, 805 Broughton Street in Victoria. Evening performances begin
at 8pm with pre-performance lectures at 6:45pm. The matinée performance
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
true love, generously renounces it, then regains it, only to die far too
young. The only one of his operas set in his own time, La traviata is
Verdi's most personal opera, the one into which he poured all his
compassion and tenderness; in fact his original title for the work was
 Amore e Morte - Love and Death.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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