Dallas Opera Presents LA TRAVIATA, 3/13-29

Dallas Opera Presents LA TRAVIATA, 3/13-29

The Dallas Opera presents the third main stage production of the 2011-2012 "Tragic Obsessions" Season: Giuseppe Verdi's tender and bittersweet romance, LA TRAVIATA, opening Friday, April 13, 2012 at 7:30 PM in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Downtown Dallas. This will be the first time Verdi's "Fallen Woman" has appeared on the Winspear stage.

This production, never before seen in Dallas, is made possible through the generosity of Dallas Opera production underwriters Joy S. and Ronald M. Mankoff and Mrs. William W. Winspear.

Subsequent performances of LA TRAVIATA are scheduled for April 15(m), 18, 21, 27, & 29(M), 2012. Single tickets start at $25. Contact the Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or purchase online, 24/7, at dallasopera.org.

Based on the play La dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils (the Younger), this 1853 masterpiece overflows with some of the opera's most sensuous and beautiful melodies, the most memorable characters, and the most heart-rending drama, making it a popular favorite from that day to this, press notes state.

The Dallas Opera's LA TRAVIATA will star Greek Soprano Myrtò Papatanasiu in her American Opera Debut as the French courtesan, Violetta Valery. Miss Papatanasiu's recent engagements have included Nedda in Pagliacci at Zurich's Opernhaus, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at the Vienna State Opera, and the title role in Handel's Alcina with the Stuttgart State Theater in Germany.

Romantically linked with Miss Papatanasiu's Violetta is tenor James Valenti, who last seduced Dallas Opera audiences in our critically acclaimed 2011 production of Verdi's Rigoletto. Mr. Valenti will be singing the role of the love-struck Alfredo Germont, a far cry from his last character on our stage. 

Making his Dallas Opera debut is French baritone Laurent Naouri as Giorgio Germont. Mr. Naouri's recent engagements include the role of Goulaud in Pelleas et Melisande at Madrid's Teatro Real, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly at New York's Metropolitan Opera, and the multiple roles of Lindorf/Coppelius/Miracle/Dapertutto in Les contes d'Hoffmann at La Scala in Milan.

"This is a remarkably beautiful production," explains Dallas Opera Artistic Director Jonathan Pell, "created by the renowned team of designer Allen Charles Klein and director Bliss Hebert, and I have wanted to bring it to Dallas since I first saw Allen's sketches.

"Furthermore, the singers at the heart of this Verdian masterpiece are among the best in the world. In the title role, we are thrilled to present Myrtò Papatanasiu, who has been compared to another Greek soprano famous for her portrayal of Violetta, Maria Callas, who will forever be intimately linked to the Dallas Opera. As her lover Alfredo, the American tenor James Valenti will bring warmth and a passionate yearning to the role, much as he did when he earned the 'Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year Award' for his portrayal of Rodolfo in La bohème. Finally," adds Mr. Pell, "in the pivotal role of Giorgio Germont, opera lovers will experience the unique artistry of Laurent Naouri, one of France's foremost singers, in his eagerly anticipated Dallas Opera debut.

"How many reasons do you need to purchase a ticket? However many that is-we have many more."

American Mezzo-Soprano Amanda Crider will be making her Dallas Opera Debut as Violetta's closest friend, Flora Bervoix. Earlier this season, Miss Crider made her debut with Opera Omaha in Rossini's La cambiale di matrimonio.

Baritone Timothy Mix will make his Dallas Opera Debut in the role of Baron Douphol. Mr. Mix was the 2008 Richard Tucker Career Grant recipient. 

Bass Mark McCrory will be singing the role of Marchese D'Obigny. Dallas Opera Resident Young Artist Aaron Blake will return to the Dallas Opera stage as Gastone, Viscomte de Letorières; and Mezzo-Soprano Susan Nicely, who portrayed the Nurse in our critically acclaimed production of Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov last season, returns in the role of Annina.

Rounding out the cast is tenor Steven Haal as Giuseppe, Bass Bobby Tinnion as Flora's servant and Bass Kyle Logan Hancock as the Messenger.

All six performances will be conducted by the Marco Guidarini in his first appearance at the Dallas Opera in more than a decade. He debuted with the company conducting performances of IL Barbiere di Siviglia, starring Jennifer Larmore.

This romantic Florida Grand Opera production was designed by Allen Charles Klein and will be staged by Bliss Hebert, The James R. Seitz, Jr., Stage Director in Honor of John Gage.

Mr. Hebert has staged over 200 productions of more than 80 operas with 25 different companies, including the Metropolitan Opera for Les contes d'Hoffmann with Joan Sutherland and Plácido Domingo; Lyric Opera of Chicago for Manon with Renata Scotto; San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera for a new production of Orpheus in the Underworld; the Dallas Opera for a Manuel De Falla triple bill (Master Peter's Puppet Show, La vida breve, and El amor brujo), L'incoronazione di Poppea, Les contes d'Hoffmann, Lucia di Lammermoor, Werther, Romèo et Juliette, and L'Italiana in Algeri; L'Opera de Montreal for Samson et Dalila, Der Rosenkavalier, Turandot, and Manon Lescaut; Houston Grand Opera for Dialogues of the Carmelites and Turandot; Florida Grand Opera for The Turn of the Screw, Les contes d'Hoffmann, Tosca, Die Walküre, La Voix Humaine, Il tabarro, and La Gioconda; San Diego Opera for Salome, Werther, and Dialogues of the Carmelites, New Orleans Opera for Tristan und Isolde and Lohengrin; and Baltimore Opera for Turandot, Lucia di Lammermoor, Romèo et Juliette, and Norma.

Lighting design will be by Thomas C. Hase, with wig and make-up designs by David Zimmerman.

Chorus preparation will be by Dallas Opera Chorus Master Alexander Rom.

Set in 19th-century Paris, where the young heir to a distinguished family name falls passionately in love with a woman of uncertain virtue, LA TRAVIATA is one of the most soulfully romantic works in the opera canon.

Modeled after the too-short life and times of one of Paris' best-known 19th century beauties, Marie Duplessis (who later went on to have a torrid affair with composer Franz Liszt); this is the story of her sometimes stormy relationship with writer Alexander Dumas the Younger, who immortalized her as "The Lady of the Camellias" after she succumbed to tuberculosis at the tender age of 23. The frenzied sale of her remaining jewels and belongings paid-off her outstanding debts and provided a tidy bequest to her niece in Normandy, who inherited Marie's ill-gotten gains on the condition that she never set foot in Paris.

In Dumas' book, which served as the basis for his play, his fictional heroine tells us, "I built a future life on your love; I dreamed of the country, of purity." In Verdi's opera, Alfredo (the stand-in for Dumas fils) was raised far from the wicked city-life and, in his naiveté, barely comprehends the choices Marie-now called Violetta-has been forced to make in order to survive. However, composer Giuseppe Verdi, who then lived in his own unconventional arrangement with Giuseppina Strepponi, understood these characters completely and rendered them indelibly upon our hearts.