LA TRAVIATA Closes the 72nd Season at Florida Grand Opera

LA TRAVIATA Closes the 72nd Season
at  Florida Grand OperaFlorida Grand Opera's (FGO) 72nd season comes to a close on a high note with one of the most beloved opera's of all time, Verdi's La traviata, as told through the beloved production of director-designer team Bliss Hebert and Allen Charles Klein. The passionate story unfolds with two stellar casts led by sopranos María Alejandres and Suzanne Vinnik, opening April 20 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.The opera that made Julia Roberts cry in the movie Pretty Woman, La traviata is based on a play by Alexander Dumas, Jr. and tells the tragic story of Violetta. This fiery courtesan finds true love until the prejudices of society force her to relinquish it for the benefit of her beloved. Violetta is one of opera's most sublimely drawn characters and, together with Verdi's glorious music, her story makes La traviata a truly compelling operatic experience.

Audiences will be drawn into the opulent world of 18th century Paris through sumptuous costumes and sets created for FGO in a coproduction with Cincinnati Opera. Described by South Florida Classical Review as featuring "tasteful elegance ... [and] gold splendor," the "eye-catching production" is the work of visionary director Bliss Hebert, the mastermind behind more than 200 theatrical productions, including 80 operas. The delicately crafted design is the work of Allen Charles Klein, whose production of Verdi's Aida opened FGO's inaugural season at the Adrienne Arsht Center in 2006.

The role of the highly-complex Violetta will be sung by sopranos María Alejandres and Suzanne Vinnik, each making her debut in the role this season. A treasure of her native Mexico, Alejandres got her start in 2008, when she won Plácido Domingo's internationally acclaimed opera and zarzuela competition, Operalia, and she has since sung in some of the most prestigious opera houses in the world, including La Scala in Milan and the Royal Opera House in London. She closed FGO's 2011-2012 season as the lead soprano in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, boasting a "big, clarion voice with high registers of impressive power," according to Palm Beach Arts Paper. Vinnik, making her FGO debut, is a rising talent hailed by Opera News for her "beautifully molded, vividly communicative phrasing." The hazel-eyed beauty is a graduate of the Opera Studio at Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy, where she studied under Renata Scotto. She has performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, as well as with Nevada Opera Theatre, Opera North, and, most recently, the Castleton Festival, among many others.

The role of Alfredo Germont, Violetta's persistent young suitor, is sung by two budding tenors. Italian tenor Ivan Magrì makes his American debut with FGO after having won numerous international voice competitions and having sung on the stages of major opera houses in Italy, Slovakia, Ireland, France, and Japan. John Bellemer, an American tenor, has performed the role in recent years with Cleveland Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Arizona Opera, Calgary Opera, and Berkshire Opera. Benefiting from an ample repertoire and a voice the New York Times calls "clarion-toned," he has carried out strong portrayals of some of opera's most well-known leading tenor roles throughout the United States and Europe.

Singing Giorgio Germont are baritones Joo Won Kang and Giorgio Caoduro. A recent FGO Young Artist and current San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow, Kang was praised by South Florida Classical Review last season for the "patriarchal power and dignity" of his voice when he portrayed Count Monterone in FGO's Rigoletto. Caoduro has brought what the Barihunks blog calls a "round, sonorous baritone" to leading baritone roles in established European opera houses, including La Scala, Paris Opera House, Rome Opera, and more.

Maestro Ramon Tebar closes the season, conducting three of the four operas presented in 2012-2013. A two-time winner of FGO's Henry C. Clark Award and recently appointed Artistic Director of the Palm Beach Symphony, Tebar has been called "not another conductor, but a refined artisan," by the Argentine newspaper Clarin and praised by Palm Beach Daily News for "performances that are distinguished by their vigor, sharp dynamic contrasts and rich emotional colors."

Single tickets start at just $11 in Miami and $21 in Broward. Tickets may be purchased through the FGO Box Office, located at the Doral Center on 8390 NW 25 St., Doral, FL 33122. The Box Office is open to the public from 10am to 4pm, Monday through Friday during the season. Tickets may also be purchased by phone at (800) 741-1010 or online at www.FGO.org.

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