Video: Get A First Look At LA Opera's LA TRAVIATA

On stage from April 6 through April 27, 2024.

By: Apr. 08, 2024
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Get a first look at LA Opera's production of Giuseppe Verdi's beloved romantic tragedy, La Traviata, starring soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen.

Music Director James Conlon will conduct five of the six performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, with Louis Lohraseb conducting the opera on April 18. The production, new to Los Angeles, is directed by Shawna Lucey.

"For 120 years, La Traviata has reigned as a supreme expression of the heightened emotions that can only be fully experienced in the opera house," said Christopher Koelsch, LA Opera's president and CEO. "This season's gorgeous production, with James Conlon in the pit and Rachel Willis-Sørensen in the leading role, provides opera newcomers and seasoned aficionados alike with the perfect opportunity to see why Verdi's masterpiece has held its place as one of the most beloved of all operas."

Violetta Valéry is the queen of Parisian nightlife for now, but she knows that life in the fast lane can't last forever. The arrival of a fresh-faced suitor offers her an unexpected taste of true love, until society’s disapproval threatens to tear them apart.

La Traviata ("The Fallen Woman") is based on the life of a real woman, Marie Duplessis (1824-1847), who rose from poverty to become one of 19th-century Paris's most celebrated courtesans before dying at the age of 23 from tuberculosis. Writer Alexandre Dumas fils (one of her many lovers) based his romantic novel La Dame aux Camélias on their all-too-brief fling. He subsequently adapted it into a hugely successful play, upon which Verdi based his opera.

Marie's tragically short life has also inspired filmmakers from the silent era to modern times. Notable screen adaptations of the story include the 1936 Greta Garbo classic Camille, the 1990 romantic comedy Pretty Woman, which made Julia Roberts a superstar, and the 2001 musical Moulin Rouge! with Nicole Kidman. The latter was adapted into a smash hit stage musical of the same name, opening on Broadway in 2019 and drawing capacity crowds to this day.

Rachel Willis-Sørensen, who made her LA Opera debut last season as Desdemona in Otello, returns to sing the leading role of Violetta. One of the most acclaimed American sopranos of her generation, she is known for her diverse repertoire ranging from Mozart to Wagner and is a regular guest at the leading opera houses around the world. Her appearances this season include Elisabeth in Don Carlos in Geneva, Antonia in The Tales of Hoffmann in Paris, Elsa in Lohengrin in Munich, and both Desdemona in Otello and Elena in I Vespri Siciliani in Vienna.

Armenian tenor Liparit Avetisyan will make his LA Opera debut as Violetta's lover Alfredo, a role he performed earlier this year in Dresden and Amsterdam. He has also performed Alfredo, one of his signature roles, at London's Covent Garden, the Bolshoi in Moscow and in Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, Zürich, Munich, Yerevan and Sydney.

South Korean baritone Kihun Yoon, a former member of the company's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, returns as Alfredo's father Giorgio Germont. His LA Opera appearances include the leading roles of Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Scarpia in Tosca and Marcello in La Bohème. He is now in his seventh year as a principal artist at the Oldenburgisches Staatstheater, where his roles this season include the title role in Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Wotan in Die Walküre.

Tenor Julius Ahn will make his company debut as Gastone de Letorieres and bass-baritone Patrick Blackwell performs the role of Baron Douphol. The cast also includes several members of LA Opera's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program: mezzo-soprano Sarah Saturnino as Flora, baritone Ryan Wolfe as Marquis d'Obigny, bass Alan Williams as Dr. Grenvil and mezzo-soprano Deepa Johnny as Annina.

Music Director James Conlon conducts five of the six performances. Louis Lohraseb, who conducted the company's production of The Barber of Seville earlier this season, will conduct the performance of La Traviata on April 18.

Shawna Lucey directs a production first seen at San Francisco Opera in 2022, with scenery and costumes designed by Robert Innes Hopkins. The lighting designer is Michael James Clark, the chorus director is Jeremy Frank and the choreographer is John Heginbotham.


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