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VIDEO: WNO's Presents LA TRAVIATA In The Kennedy Center Opera House

Washington National Opera opens its 2018-2019 season with a stunning new production by WNO Artistic Director Francesca Zambello of Verdi's La traviata, October 6-21, 2018, in the Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets start at $45. From the famous brindisi drinking song to the heartbreaking "Addio del passato" aria, the original "Pretty Woman" proves it's better to have loved once than not at all. Verdi's romantic masterpiece and familiar tunes are as timeless as the storyline is contemporary, pitting tensions of social class against Violetta's personal sacrifice. Check out a video preview below!

With an elegant new set designed by Peter Davison and costumes by Jess Goldstein, Zambello directs this classic tale for modern audiences. Headlining the main cast in their WNO debuts are Russian soprano Venera Gimadieva (Violetta), hailed by the Guardian as an artist of "huge presence, compelling to watch, with a voice of thrilling security and range;" American tenor Joshua Guerrero (Alfredo), whom The New York Times called "gifted;" and Grammy-award winning baritone Lucas Meachem (Germont). Former Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist soprano Jacqueline Echols joins tenor Mario Chang (WNO debut) and baritone Michael Chioldi for three performances in the second cast. A special Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist performance is presented in the Opera House on Friday, October 19, 2018, and features three first-year emerging artists in the primary roles: soprano Marlen Nahhas, tenor Joshua Blue, and baritone Joshua Conyers. A great interpreter of Verdi works, Italian conductor Renato Palumbo returns to WNO for this run of 11 performances. WNO audiences last saw him conduct Verdi's Macbeth in 2007.

The supporting cast for all performances includes Deborah Nansteel (Flora Bervoix), Alexandria Shiner (Annina), Arnold Livingston Geis (Gastone), Michael Hewitt (Baron Douphol), Samuel Weiser (Marquis d'Obigny), and Timothy J. Bruno (Doctor Grenvil).

In addition to Zambello, Davison, and Goldstein, the creative team includes associate director Jennifer Williams (WNO debut), lighting designer Mark McCullough, and choreographer Parker Esse (WNO debut).

As a courtesan, the beautiful Violetta is the life of every party, toasting to high-class pleasures alongside wealthy men. But Violetta holds a devastating secret: she's dying. When the affluent Alfredo admits his love for her, happily-ever-after seems within reach-until his father condemns her past and low social status. As emotions soar, Violetta must make an impossible choice between her own happiness or Alfredo's reputation.

The opera's running time is approximately two hours and 30 minutes, including one 25-minute intermission. La traviata is performed in Italian with projected English titles. Visit WNO's website for more information.

Washington National Opera's 2018-2019 season continues with the company premiere of Kevin Puts's and Mark Campbell's Pulitzer Prize-winning Silent Night (November 10-25, 2018); Tchaikovsky's epic Eugene Onegin (March 9-29, 2019); Gounod's devilishly entertaining Faust (March 16-30, 2019); and Puccini's towering masterpiece Tosca (May 11-25, 2019). The season also features a revival of WNO's hit holiday family opera The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me (December 14-16, 2018); new works to premiere during the American Opera Initiative Festival (January 11-13, 2019); a special Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist performance A Concert of Comic Masterpieces (May 24, 2019); and other exciting vocal events. Tickets are available now.

Tickets start at $45 and are available online, in person at the Kennedy Center Box Office, and by calling (202) 467-4600 or (800) 444-1324. For all other ticket-related customer service inquiries, call the Advance Sales Box Office at (202) 416-8540.

Patrons 30 and under and active-duty members of the military are invited to join the Kennedy Center's MyTix program for special discount offers and chances to win free tickets. MyTix performance discounts for La traviata include October 9, 11, and 19. For more information, visit kennedy-center.org/mytix

Opera Insights before every performance, Kennedy Center Opera House

WNO presents a free pre-performance education event prior to every performance of La traviata. These events begin one hour prior to curtain in the Opera House and last approximately 20-25 minutes. Musicologist Saul Lilienstein's Opera Insights on Wednesday, October 17, begins at 6:15 p.m. and lasts approximately 35-40 minutes.VIDEO: WNO's Presents LA TRAVIATA In The Kennedy Center Opera House

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