Lyric Opera of Kansas City's LA TRAVIATA Opens 9/27

Lyric Opera of Kansas City's LA TRAVIATA Opens 9/27

Lyric Opera of Kansas City opens its 57th season with Giuseppe Verdi's lush and grand opera, La Traviata, September 27, October 1, 3 and 5, 2014 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The production will be sung in Italian with English and Italian titles.

Verdi's La Traviata, featuring a set from the Lyric Opera of Chicago, features the Tony Award-winning production design of Desmond Heeley, making his Lyric Opera of Kansas City debut. Also making their Lyric Opera of Kansas City debuts, playing Violetta Valéry is Joyce El-Khoury, Scott Quinn in the role of Alfredo Germont and Anthony Michaels-Moore in the role of Giorgio Germont.

"I am thrilled to announce our opening production which reflects a season full of rich talent and numerous debuts to our Kansas City audiences," stated Deborah Sandler, General Director and CEO of the Lyric Opera. "It is my fervent belief that this season will appeal to the first time opera goer, those who may not have been for a while, and those loyal audience members who are passionate about opera. This will be a season to fall in love with opera and what better way to start the season than with this heartbreaking masterpiece, La Traviata."

The theme of heart-wrenching love is indeed timeless. Violetta is the most desirable courtesan in Paris. Sought after by society's most important men and wealthy in her own right, she is perfectly content-until she falls in love with Alfredo Germont. But when Alfredo's father insists that she'll ruin Alfredo's family name, she selflessly pushes away the only man she's ever loved. Will they ever be together again? Yes, but by then it's much, much too late.

Canadian soprano Joyce El-Khoury will be making her Lyric Opera of Kansas City debut as Violetta. The New York Times recently reviewed her performance in this summer's Santa Fe Opera's Carmen, stating that "Micaëla was sung radiantly by the Canadian soprano Joyce El-Khoury. Her portrayal of Don José's village sweetheart was a lot more feisty and likable than the pious bore of many a production." "The Canadian soprano is a gorgeous Violetta. ..it is indisputable that she is one of the major Violettas today," wrote concerto.net. Joyce El-Khoury is rapidly establishing herself as one of the major singing actresses in the world today. She has performed worldwide, including Opera Canada, L'Opéra Théâtre de Saint-Étienne, and De Nederlandse Opera. She was recently nominated for an OPERA Award for her performance in Donizetti's Belisario on Opera Rara. Born in Lebanon, Joyce immigrated to Canada with her family when she was just four years old.

Joining Joyce El-Khoury is baritone Anthony Michaels-Moore who will also be making his Lyric Opera of Kansas City debut as Giorgio Germont. Opera News raved of Michaels-Moore, calling him "one of the most gorgeous voices on the opera stage today. His sound has a real presence, and its honeyed opulence dominated every scene in which he appeared." Anthony is the first British winner of the Luciano Pavarotti Competition (1985) and has since performed in all of the world's major opera houses. In a career spanning more than 25 years, Anthony has distinguished himself as a specialist in Verdi roles.

Tenor Scott Quinn will also be making his Lyric Opera debut in the role of Alfredo. A graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, one of the most respected young artists programs in the country, Quinn was lauded by the Dallas News for his "clarion" voice. Lyric Opera of Kansas City is dedicated to identifying emerging talent and has supported alumni of Houston Grand Opera Studio numerous times. Lyric Opera of Kansas City Artistic Director Ward Holmquist and beloved Kansas City native Joyce DiDonato are two of the most notable alumni.

David Gately, who is known for his vivid storytelling and lively and clever productions, will direct this production. His last production with Lyric Opera of Kansas City was the Barber of Seville in 2000. Recent productions of note include L'Elisir d'Amore with Dallas Opera, Madama Butterfly with Seattle Opera, La bohème with Florida Grand Opera as well as several others throughout the world. He has also worked with Vancouver Opera, Glimmerglass and Opera Colorado. Opera Magazine noted of his Vancouver Opera production of La Traviata, "David Gately showed considerable flair in deftly defining the character interplay at the very heart of this eternally moving opera."

One of the most pre-eminent designers of the twentieth century and winner of three Tony Awards for his brilliant design, Desmond Heeley, will also make his Lyric Opera of Kansas City debut with this production. Lyric Opera of Kansas City Artistic Director Ward Holmquist will conduct.

This production of La Traviata is owned by the Lyric Opera of Chicago and is a generous and deeply appreciated gift of the Gramma Fisher Foundation of Marshalltown, Iowa. Original production staged by Frank Galati. Production design by Desmond Heeley.

The Lyric Opera Apprentice Program is a collaboration with the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the School of Music at the University of Kansas. During the two-year program students gain experience and training with the Lyric Opera to become professional opera singers. University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) apprentices Ashley Wheat will perform Annina and Elliot Harrison Brown will perform Marchese D'Obigny. Samantha Gossard and April Martin will perform singing in the chorus. University of Kansas apprentice Clark Weyrauch will perform Gastone de Letorieres.

Ticket availability varies by performance. To purchase tickets, call Ticketing & Patron Services (816) 471-7344 or 1-800-OPERAKC (673-7252). Patrons can select their own seat and print their tickets at home by visiting www.kcopera.org. Limited student rush tickets are available for $15, cash only, one hour before the performances, with a valid student ID.

Audience members are invited and encouraged to attend a free opera preview, presented by the Lyric Opera Guild, in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre within the Kauffman Center one hour before curtain. Lyric Opera Guild presenter Don Dagenais will lead the 25-minute talks. The Lyric Opera Guild also presents a series of free "At Ease with Opera" presentations prior to the performance dates.

First Friday, Presented by Lyric Opera of Kansas City, September 5 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Beth Ingram Administration Building (1725 Holmes, KCMO) Walk the red carpet, snap a few photos and enjoy FREE drinks and appetizers like an A-lister! Explore the numerous appearances of opera in the movies and enjoy live performances by Lyric Opera Apprentices. Food catered by Detroit Coney Food Truck - event is FREE and open to the public.

Monday, September 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the Kauffman Foundation (4801 Rockhill Road, KCMO) by Lyric Opera preview speaker Richard Byrum will give a presentation featuring a historical look at courtesans.

Monday, September 15 at 7:00 p.m. at the Kauffman Foundation (1725 Holmes Street, KCMO) Ever wonder how an opera goes from the score to the stage? Come see where the magic happens. Join Linda Ade Brand (Director of Education and Community Outreach) and R. Keith Brumley (Director of Design and Technical Production) on a fun and fact-filled behind-the-scenes tour. (Lyric Opera Company - 7:00 pm)

Monday, September 22 at 7:00 p.m. at the Kauffman Foundation (4801 Rockhill Road, KCMO) Lyric Opera Guild presenter Don Dagenais will give a detailed preview of La Traviata.

To kick off the 2014-15 Season to Cherish in style, what better way than to bring your very own personal style to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts? Noted photographer Aaron Lindberg will be on hand on opening night, September 27th, to capture our Kansas City style and fashion at its best and will be shared online for all to enjoy. Photos will be available for purchase from the photographer.

Young Friends of the Lyric provides an exciting outlet for young arts supporters (ages 21-40) in Kansas City to get involved in the community, meet other young adults and support the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. The group hosts "Cocktails with Friends" social hours prior to some performances. You do not have to be a member to attend these happy hours. Membership benefits include admission into a private room with complimentary drinks and food during intermissions, networking opportunities, restaurant discounts, invitations to special events and all the benefits of being a Lyric Opera Guild member.

Young Friends of the Lyric membership is $25 for an individual, $40 for a couple, or $75 for a dual patron membership. To join, contact Ticketing & Patron Services at 816-471-7344. Become a fan on Facebook to keep up with current events.