La Traviata

Violetta-Alfredo-crop-w500Eugene Opera’s 2013-14 season opened with Verdi’s immortal masterpiece La Traviata. The gorgeous 19th century setting framed the convincing performances by singing-actors Vale Rideout as Alfredo and Leah Partridge as Violetta, who “elevated the performance with her poignant portrayal of the lead character.” Jake Gardner as Germont “is a standout: his voice conveys power and authority, a perfect match in every way for the role of Germont.” (The Register Guard)

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Today audiences think of La Traviata as a classic, but it was a radical work in its time, as musicologist Richard Taruskin explains: “Adapting a current theatrical hit with a contemporary setting [Dumas’ La dame aux camélias] into an opera was an unprecedented move. Even bolder was Verdi’s determination to keep the time frame of the opera as contemporary as that of the drama…. Boldest of all was the choice of a drama centering on the life and loves of a courtesan — a euphemism for a high-class or ‘courtly’ prostitute.”

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Taruskin continues: “Throughout, but most conspicuously in the last scene, the tragic strains that accompany the sufferings of the protagonists are shadowed either downstage or offstage by the happy strains of revelry, underscoring the contradiction at the heart of Violetta’s existence, but also providing that ironic mix of tragic and comic that, for Verdi as for Shakespeare, added up to ‘life.'” (from Music in the Nineteenth Century)

Images by Cliff Coles

La Traviata

December 31, 2013; January 3 & 5, 2014
Silva Concert Hall, Hult Center for the Performing Arts

Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave
Based on the novel (1848) and play (1852) La dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas
Opera first performed at the Teatro la Fenice, Venice on March 6, 1853

Violetta Valery, a courtesan — Leah Partridge
Alfredo Germont, a young bourgeois from a provincial family — Vale Rideout
Giorgio Germont, Alfredo’s father — Jake Gardner
Flora Bervoix, Violetta’s friend — Marieke Schuurs
Annina, Violetta’s maid — Brooke Cagno
Gastone, Violetta’s friend — Nicholas Larson
Baron Duphol, Violetta’s lover and rival to Alfredo — Harry Baechtel
Marchese d’Obigny — Marco Valerio
Dr. Grenville — Sandy Naishtat
Giuseppe, Violetta’s servant — Scott Carroll
Flora’s servant — Tim McCoy

Eugene Orchestra and Chorus
Conductor — Andrew Bisantz
Stage Director and Choreographer — Bill Fabris
Chorus Master — John Jantzi
Stage Manager — Erin Empey
Costume Director — Jeannette de Jong
Lighting Designer — Michael Peterson
Scenery provided by Stivanello Costume Company. Designed by Ercole Sormani.

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