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Northern Ireland Opera Announces Main Cast For LA TRAVIATA

Performances run 10, 13, 15, 17 September 2022.

Northern Ireland Opera Announces Main Cast For LA TRAVIATA

Northern Ireland Opera today announces the main cast for the critically-acclaimed national opera company's stunning new adaptation of Giuseppe Verdi's tragic love story, directed by Artistic Director Cameron Menzies, opening at Belfast's Grand Opera House this September.

Distinguished International tenor Noah Stewart (CARNEGIE HALL, SAN FRANCISCO OPERA, ROYAL OPERA, OPERA HOLLAND PARK, BOLSHOI OPERA, OPERA PERM) and Ukrainian baritone Yuriy Yurchuk (UKRAINE NATIONAL OPERA, ROYAL OPERA HOUSE, ZURICH OPERA HOUSE, ROYAL OPERA, OPERA NORTH), who both starred in the opera company's critically-acclaimed site-specific production of La Bohéme, are welcomed back to perform, this time in the setting of the Grand Opera House, as Alfredo and Giorgio Germont respectively. They will join previously announced rising soprano star Siobhan Stagg (ROYAL OPERA HOUSE, STAATSOPER BERLIN, BAVERISCHE STAATSOPER, HAMBURG STAATSOPER, OPERNHAUS ZURICH) who debuts in the leading role as courtesan Violetta Valéry.

Irish talents and winners of the prestigious Deborah Voigt Opera Prize, soprano Ellen Mawhinney (NI Opera's Young Voice of the Year 2021 and recipient of the Irish Heritage Bursary Award) and mezzo-soprano Margaret Bridge (IRISH NATIONAL OPERA, GLYNDEBOURNE, WEXFORD FESTIVAL OPERA) are cast in the roles of Annina and Flora Bervoix respectively, while Northern Ireland Opera's Associate Artist and tenor Owen Lucas makes his debut as Gastone de Letorières. One of the country's finest basses Graeme Danby who during his long career has made over 1000 appearances for the ENGLISH NATIONAL OPERA returns to the opera company to perform as Dottore Grenvil.

Joining the creative team are Enniskillen-born Niall McKeever creator of NI Opera's showstopping Into The Woods set at the Lyric this year and lighting designer Kevin Treacy (NORWEGIAN NATIONAL OPERA, ENGLISH TOURING OPERA,NEVILL HOLT OPERA).

Previously announced are renowned stage and screen choreographer Isabel Baquero (ROYAL OPERA HOUSE, SCOTTISH OPERA, GARSINGTON OPERA, RICHARD EYRE'S LA TRAVIATA) and conductor Rebecca Lang, one of the most versatile and vivacious cross-over artists of her generation, with accolades in both opera and musical theatre (HAMBURG STATE OPERA, THEATER AM POTSDAMER PLATZ, BERLIN; HER MAJESTY'S THEATRE, MELBOURNE; EVITA AND MY FAIR LADY, FLENSBURG). Lang returns to the company after her huge success with La Bohéme.

NI Opera reunites with the Ulster Orchestra for the first collaboration since the pandemic and has also cast a 24-strong chorus of Northern Irish and Irish artists. The singers, chosen as part of a local casting call out, will also join NI Opera's new chorus development programme and receive training and support including from the renowned Thomas Victor Johnson, Music Staff at Staatsoper Unter den Linden.

Announcement highlights include:

  • Internationally renowned tenor Noah Stewart and Ukrainian baritone Yuriy Yurchuk return to NI Opera to perform for the first time at the Grand Opera House. Both are joined by bass Graeme Danby.
  • Rising soprano star Siobhan Stagg debuts in the lead role as Violetta Valéry.
  • Northern Irish talents in the main cast include Ellen Mawhinney, Margaret Bridge and Owen Lucas.
  • Rebecca Lang returns to the company after her huge success with La Bohéme. Conducting an orchestra at the Grand Opera House will be a significant moment both for Lang and for the history of NI Opera and the venue.
  • Isabel Baquero, the renowned choreographer across stage and screen joins the creative team.
  • NI Opera returns to The Grand Opera House and reunites with the Ulster Orchestra in their first collaboration since before the pandemic, for this new production.
  • A 24 strong chorus of Northern Irish and Irish talent have also been selected to perform and will also benefit from NI Opera's new chorus development programme.

La Traviata's gloriously romantic score brings to life the tragic love story of a beautiful courtesan Violetta Valéry and her lover Alfredo Germont. NI Opera's striking new production will explore the idea around image, visibility and the fragility of a woman's agency within her society.

Artistic Director Cameron Menzies comments: "La Traviata sees the welcome return of opera to the Grand Opera House, Belfast and the first collaboration with our esteemed colleagues at the Ulster Orchestra since before the pandemic. Northern Ireland Opera are extremely proud to be showcasing some of our best local operatic talent and to welcome our international guests to the world premiere of this new production. It is such a wonderful privilege to be able to create opera at its very highest level with our exciting collaborators."

Ian Wilson, Grand Opera House Chief Executive says: "I am delighted to welcome back Northern Ireland Opera for the first time since the Grand Opera House was restored, with one of the most sumptuous and beautiful operas ever written. Opera has been a key part of the programme here for more than 125 years, and we are looking forward to seeing Siobhan and the other cast members follow in the footsteps of Luciano Pavarotti, Nellie Melba and many other great singers who have performed on the Grand Opera House stage."

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music and Opera, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, adds: "The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is hugely proud to be principal funder of Northern Ireland Opera and the Ulster Orchestra who make their return to the Grand Opera House this September for La Traviata. We're delighted to once again see local artists being offered amazing professional development opportunities and working alongside world-class talent."

Patrick McCarthy, Head of Artistic Planning and Operations at Ulster Orchestra comments: "Collaboration is at the heart of so much of what the Ulster Orchestra does, and it's great that we're able to be working again with one of our most important artistic partners in Northern Ireland Opera. La Traviata is such a masterpiece, with an extraordinary orchestral score, and so we're looking forward to returning to the Grand Opera House once again."

La Traviata marks Cameron's fourth production since he took the helm at NI Opera mid-pandemic in 2020. All three of his shows to date have received critical-acclaim with La Bohéme ("Opera at its Finest", 5 Stars, Opera Now Magazine, Dec 2021) at Belfast's Carlisle Memorial Church in September 2021 and most recently Into The Woods at the Lyric ("Storms along with such irresistible zest", 4 Stars, The Times Feb, 2022). The cinematic experience Old Friends And Other Days has been the winning film at four independent film festivals including Paris Short Film Awards 2021.

Cameron joined the organisation in November 2020, and is leading this award-winning national opera company, widely acclaimed as one of the most exciting operatic start-ups in UK and Irish history into a new era. Its philosophy of artistic excellence and risk-taking, is underpinned by a bold and imaginative approach to programming and productions.

Venue: The Grand Opera House, Belfast

Dates: 4 dates: 10, 13, 15, 17 September 2022

Times: 7.30pm

Prices: From £17.50

Booking Link:®id=154&

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