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Opera To Die For

28 July 2005

Opera To Die For

Famous for its beautiful music and classic story of romance coloured by impending tragedy, Verdi's La Traviata is the quintessential opera that continues to captivate audiences the world over. This September-October, The NBR New Zealand Opera in association with the Canadian Opera Company, brings a glorious production of Verdi's timeless masterpiece to the opera stages of Auckland and Wellington. The Genesis Energy Spring Season of La Traviata features an outstanding opera team and cast gathered from around the world for a season that guarantees irresistible melodies, heart-rending drama, sumptuous costumes and more than a few tears.

La Traviata's classic story of reckless young love and scandal set in 19th century Paris, has provided inspiration for aspiring romance novelists and Hollywood movie moguls over many decades. High impact, emotionally juicy - La Traviata is opera to die for!

Based on Dumas' book and play of 1852, La Dame aux Camelias, La Traviata tells of courtesan Violetta and her naïve lover, Alfredo who shock polite society by living together. Pressured by Alfredo's father, Giorgio Germont, Violetta breaks off the relationship to remove the taint of scandal that threatens his family's honour. Alfredo seeks vengeance but by the time he can learn the truth about Violetta's sacrifice, it may be too late for them.

Russian director, Dmitry Bertman and English conductor, Julian Smith, are at the helm of a superb international creative team and opera cast assembled to recreate the magic of La Traviata for New Zealand audiences. Bertman, the talented young founder and artistic director of Moscow's Helikon Opera, originally conceived this production for the Canadian Opera Company in 1999. Collaborating with Helikon's design team, Igor Nezhny (set designer) and Tatiana Tulubieva (costumer designer), and Canadian Opera's Bonnie Beecher (lighting designer) they have created a fresh, bold and splendid vision of La Traviata that takes the drama beyond its original period setting.

An esteemed musician, Julian Smith will conduct the Auckland Philharmonia and NGC Wellington Sinfonia through what is widely regarded one of Verdi's most emotional and elegant scores. With its contrasts of grandeur and intimacy, La Traviata has endeared itself to audiences with its cascade of fine tunes that have become as familiar to us as the most famous lines of Shakespeare. To hear these melodies live against the dazzle of onstage opera is a treat!

As Violetta, stunning Russian soprano Elvira Fatykhova continues an acclaimed international career in her first New Zealand role. Ms Fatykhova's debut with Opera Australia in the title role of Massenet's Manon in 2004 gained rave reviews as have her recent performances as Violetta for Western Australia Opera in Perth

Making a welcome return to New Zealand is Puerto Rican tenor Rafael Dávila as Alfredo. Mr Davila performed the role of Don Jose in The NBR New Zealand Opera's Carmen last year.

Among the New Zealanders in principal roles is renowned bass Rodney Macann as Giorgio Germont, Alfredo's father, and Zan McKendree-Wright as Flora Bervoix, Violetta's friend and fellow hostess. Other notable names taking the stage include Richard Green, Roger Wilson and David Griffiths.

The Genesis Energy Spring Season of La Traviata opens at Auckland’s Aotea Centre on Thursday 15th September, until Saturday 24 September; and at Wellington’s Westpac St James Theatre from Saturday 8th October to Saturday 15 October.


An opera to die for - Verdi's La Traviata comes to Auckland and Wellington during September-October presented by The NBR New Zealand Opera. Photo: Canadian Opera Company/Gary Beechey

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