Toledo Opera brings world-class talent to Valentine’s Day with La Traviata
For the first time in ten years, Toledo Opera will present one of Giuseppe Verdi’s most beloved operas, La Traviata, back on stage. Verdi’s opera has moved audiences around the world for over 150 years, no matter what language they speak or what decade they live in.
Written in 1853, the opera is based on The Lady of the Camelliasa play written by Alexandre Dumas (the count of Monte Cristo) which translates into English as “The Lady of the Camellias”. Modern audiences might know this story as simply Camillea role made famous in the film version of Greta Garbo.
La TraviataThe story revolves around two lovers, Violetta and Alfredo, who meet one evening at a party at her Paris Salon. They fall in love and run away together, only living happily for a short time. Alfredo’s father begins to intervene. Violeta is a courtesan (a kept mistress) and Alfredo’s family fears the relationship will ruin Alfredo’s sister’s future prospects. Violetta’s health and the circumstances of her life combine to complicate the fate of the lovers.
If you read a quick plot summary, it might be dismissed as another tragic love story, but it’s a story of a woman with the strength of Violetta at its center. Director Marc Verzatt explained: “She’s a woman in a male-dominated society who survives, and the minute she gives in to her own feelings, the minute she becomes a human being, that’s what starts to destroy her. , because a woman is not t equal to a man in this society. He says that’s what they focused on from day one of rehearsals and Verzatt’s inspiration for this staging of the opera in 2022.
Much of what women go through in the world is still very relevant to this character’s experiences. “Women have always had to adapt and navigate their way through obstacles placed by men,” says Verzatt. “Violetta is a survivor and a woman learning to negotiate the turbulent waters of male society in mid-1800s Paris – but it’s a timeless story, and so is this opera.” Verzatt emphasized to the cast that women are not inferior to men because they know how to navigate a society that considers them second-class citizens. “For Violetta, having to be a true 360-degree woman with a heart is the dramatic and emotional center of Verdi’s opera.”
He goes on to explain that in opera, the goal is not for the performers to sing against each other, but to use this song so that the character they are interacting with understands how they feel.
When asked what his biggest challenge with opera has been so far, he said he was making it take off in the early days and he hoped it would come to fruition. But the hardest part is quickly passed as it gushes that the bandleader is a dream to work with and how much he really loves the singers. “I’m very dedicated to this choir,” he said, “because it’s such a diverse group of people and most of them work all day and then they come to opera and rehearse until nine o’clock in the evening to express their love of this art.”
First class cast
The lead roles will be played by Kathryn Lewek as Violetta and Zach Borichevsky as Alfredo. Kathryn Lewek, who will make her debut as Violetta, has established herself as one of the most exciting operatic coloratura sopranos of this generation. She performed some of the most vocally demanding roles in the repertoire, joining the best opera performers of all time. Both are internationally acclaimed Metropolitan Opera singers and a real couple, adding a natural emotional depth to Verdi’s music. Also joining the cast are mezzo-soprano and resident artist of the Toledo Opera Katherine Kincaid (Flora Bervoix), bass-baritone Michael Colman (Doctor Grenvil), baritone Jason Budd (Baron Douphol), tenor and l resident artist of the Toledo Opera Fran Daniel Laucerica (Gastone), and resident baritone and artist of the Toledo Opera Andrew Payne (Marquis d’Obigny).
The Toledo Opera will present Giuseppe Verdi La Traviata Friday April 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday April 24 at 2 p.m. at the Valentine Theater (400 North Superior).