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Pacific Symphony Presents LA TRAVIATA Reimagined

The Traviata Project series of online learning experiences launches May 19.

Pacific Symphony Presents LA TRAVIATA Reimagined

How do you stage an opera that's a love story without the characters making any physical contact? That was stage director Robert Neu's challenge when Carl St.Clair contacted him last winter about collaborating on a production of Verdi's "La Traviata" that takes into account the complicated covid-19 protocols necessary to perform during this unprecedented time.

Neu explains in his director's note that he decided to "capitalize on the psychological journey of these three fascinating characters. You will see each character relive his/her tragic past in his/her own mind."

Music Director Carl St.Clair directs a socially distanced Pacific Symphony and a cast that includes the Mexican-American soprano and "rising star" (Opera News) Cecilia Violetta López as Violetta Valéry; the award-winning American tenor John Riesen as Alfredo Germont; and Metropolitan Opera house favorite, baritone Jeffrey Mattsey as Giorgio Germont. 12 cameras filmed the semi-staged opera in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall stage.

This "La Traviata," one of the first to be designed and directed specifically with the safety of performers integrated into every element of the production from blocking to filming, will be broadcast online Sat., June 5 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 for 28-day household access. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit This performance is sponsored by Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Virtual Classical Series, and Opera Focus.

Pacific Symphony's "Opera Vocal Initiative" celebrates its tenth anniversary this season. It was first inspired by St.Clair's career as an opera conductor in Europe and also by a desire to fill the hole left by the closure of Opera Pacific. As the former general music director and chief conductor of the German National Theater and Staatskapelle (GNTS) in Weimar, Germany, St.Clair led Wagner's "Ring Cycle" to great critical acclaim. During his tenure at the Komische Oper Berlin, he led celebrated productions of not only "La Traviata" but also the world premiere of Christian Jost's "Hamlet" and the heralded production of "Lear" by Aribert Reimann, one of Germany's most distinguished composers.

During the past decade, Pacific Symphony has presented 10 semi-staged operas. St.Clair comments that "opera is now part of Pacific Symphony's DNA." And the Symphony is a gifted and versatile ensemble that has evolved into a sensitive opera orchestra under St.Clair's masterful leadership.

For the first time, the Symphony is augmenting its opera performance with a series of online learning experiences to expand the Traviata internet event. In the weeks leading up to the June 5 streaming broadcast, Pacific Symphony Assistant Conductor, Dr. Jacob Sustaita, will host three one-hour online sessions available for $35, taking place on May 19, May 26 and June 1 at 5 p.m. Dr. Sustaita, with an extensive background in opera, will examine the story and complex personal backgrounds of the main characters, take his audiences behind the scenes with interviews of the cast, Music Director Carl St.Clair and Stage Director Robert Neu.

The Symphony is pleased to co-present "The Traviata Project" in cooperation with Laguna Beach Seniors at The SusiQ, where the Project will headline their robust series of online courses for their large and active membership. "How proud and pleased we are to have this partnership with Laguna Beach Seniors" commented John Forsyte, the Symphony's president & CEO. "After all, Carl St.Clair is Laguna Beach's 'first citizen of music,' so this partnership between Pacific Symphony and Laguna Beach Seniors is only fitting."

To purchase admission for the three-part digital seminar, The Traviata Project, call Pacific Symphony's box office at (714) 755-5799.

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