“La traviata” Comes to TDO!

by Suzanne Calvin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Contact: Suzanne Calvin (214.443.1014/suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org)
Or Megan Meister (214.443.1071/megan.meister@dallasopera.org)

THE DALLAS OPERA IS PROUD TO PRESENT
GIUSEPPE VERDI’S POIGNANT 1853 MASTERPIECE
LA TRAVIATA
LIBRETTO BY FRANCESCO MARIA PIAVE
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STARRING GREEK SOPRANO MYRTÒ PAPATANASIU IN HER AMERICAN DEBUT AS VIOLETTA, AMERICAN TENOR JAMES VALENTI AS ALFREDO, AND FRENCH BARITONE LAURENT NAOURI IN HIS DALLAS OPERA DEBUT AS GIORGIO GERMONT
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CONDUCTED BY MAESTRO MARCO GUIDARINI
STAGED BY DIRECTOR BLISS HEBERT
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OPENING NIGHT: FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 2012 AT 7:30 PM
WITH ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCES
April 15(m), 18, 21, 27, 29(m)
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PRODUCTION UNDERWRITERS:
MRS. WILLIAM W. WINSPEAR AND
JOY S. AND RONALD M. MANKOFF

DALLAS, MARCH 7, 2012 – The Dallas Opera is proud to present the third main stage production of the 2011-2012 “Tragic Obsessions” Season: Giuseppe Verdi’s tender and bittersweet romance, LA TRAVIATA, opening Friday, April 13, 2012 at 7:30 PM in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Downtown Dallas. This will be the first time Verdi’s “Fallen Woman” has appeared on the Winspear stage.

This gorgeous production, never before seen in Dallas, is made possible through the generosity of Dallas Opera production underwriters Joy S. and Ronald M. Mankoff and Mrs. William W. Winspear.

Subsequent performances of LA TRAVIATA are scheduled for April 15(m), 18, 21, 27, & 29(M), 2012. Single tickets start at $25. Contact the Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or purchase online, 24/7, at dallasopera.org.

Based on the play La dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils (the Younger), this 1853 masterpiece overflows with some of the opera’s most sensuous and beautiful melodies, the most memorable characters, and the most heart-rending drama, making it a popular favorite from that day to this.

The Dallas Opera’s LA TRAVIATA will star Greek Soprano Myrtò Papatanasiu in her American Opera Debut as the French courtesan, Violetta Valery. Seen & Heard International sang the praises of Miss Papatanasiu as Donna Elvira, in which she “sang touchingly of her abandonment, sensitively revealing her all-to-human capacity to be enthralled by Leporello disguised as Don Giovanni.” Miss Papatanasiu’s recent engagements have included Nedda in Pagliacci at Zurich’s Opernhaus, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at the Vienna State Opera, and the title role in Handel’s Alcina with the Stuttgart State Theater in Germany.

Romantically linked with Miss Papatanasiu’s Violetta is tenor James Valenti, who last seduced Dallas Opera audiences in our critically acclaimed 2011 production of Verdi’s Rigoletto. Mr. Valenti will be singing the role of the love-struck Alfredo Germont, a far cry from his last character on our stage. Marilee Vergati of Dallas Examiner applauded Valenti’s callous Duke last season as, “a believable scoundrel as exemplified in the famous song “La donna é mobile.” (Another) brilliant moment during the Dallas Opera’s production is the quartetto di Rigoletto, where a brokenhearted Gilda sees the true nature of the Duke as he attempts to seduce Maddalena.”

Making his Dallas Opera debut is celebrated French baritone Laurent Naouri as Giorgio Germont. Concertonet.com’s Paul Wooley commented on Naouri’s performance of Germont in an earlier production at Santa Fe Opera: “The Violetta-Germont scene showed Naouri at his best. As he dealt with the diminutive Dessay, this Germont didn’t bellow or bluster to get his way, but instead used lush, warm tones to create the aura of a weakened man in utter desperation. His elegant ‘Di Provenza’ was one of the highlights of the night, as Naouri pleaded with his son using careful diminuendi at the end of nearly every phrase.” Mr. Naouri’s recent engagements include the role of Goulaud in Pelleas et Melisande at Madrid’s Teatro Real, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, and the multiple roles of Lindorf/Coppelius/Miracle/Dapertutto in Les contes d’Hoffmann at La Scala in Milan.

“This is a remarkably beautiful production,” explains Dallas Opera Artistic Director Jonathan Pell, “created by the renowned team of designer Allen Charles Klein and director Bliss Hebert, and I have wanted to bring it to Dallas since I first saw Allen’s sketches.

“Furthermore, the singers at the heart of this Verdian masterpiece are among the best in the world. In the title role, we are thrilled to present Myrtò Papatanasiu, who has been compared to another Greek soprano famous for her portrayal of Violetta, Maria Callas, who will forever be intimately linked to the Dallas Opera. As her lover Alfredo, the American tenor James Valenti will bring warmth and a passionate yearning to the role, much as he did when he earned the ‘Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year Award’ for his portrayal of Rodolfo in La bohème. Finally,” adds Mr. Pell, “in the pivotal role of Giorgio Germont, opera lovers will experience the unique artistry of Laurent Naouri, one of France’s foremost singers, in his eagerly anticipated Dallas Opera debut.

“How many reasons do you need to purchase a ticket? However many that is—we have many more.”

American Mezzo-Soprano Amanda Crider will be making her Dallas Opera Debut as Violetta’s closest friend, Flora Bervoix. David Fleshler of the South Florida Classical Review wrote that Miss Crider “brought a rich, deeply expressive voice” to her performances. Earlier this season, Miss Crider made her debut with Opera Omaha in Rossini’s di matrimLa cambiale di matrimonio.

Baritone Timothy Mix will make his Dallas Opera Debut in the role of Baron Douphol. Mr. Mix was the 2008 Richard Tucker Career Grant recipient. He has been described as someone who “…sang and acted…strongly into the plot…interacting fully with the other characters. Aided by a powerful stage presence, he proved more a personage than the title character.” (intermissionmag.com)

Bass Mark McCrory will be singing the role of Marchese D’Obigny. Dallas Opera Resident Young Artist Aaron Blake will return to the Dallas Opera stage as Gastone, Viscomte de Letorières; and Mezzo-Soprano Susan Nicely, who portrayed the Nurse in our critically acclaimed production of Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov last season, returns in the role of Annina.

Rounding out the cast is tenor Steven Haal as Giuseppe, Bass Bobby Tinnion as Flora’s servant and Bass Kyle Logan Hancock as the Messenger.

All six performances will be conducted by the Marco Guidarini in his first appearance at the Dallas Opera in more than a decade. He debuted with the company conducting performances of Il barbiere di Siviglia, starring Jennifer Larmore.

This lushly romantic Florida Grand Opera production was designed by Allen Charles Klein and will be staged by Bliss Hebert, The James R. Seitz, Jr., Stage Director in Honor of John Gage.

Mr. Hebert has staged over 200 productions of more than 80 operas with 25 different companies, including the Metropolitan Opera for Les contes d’Hoffmann with Joan Sutherland and Plácido Domingo; Lyric Opera of Chicago for Manon with Renata Scotto; San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera for a new production of Orpheus in the Underworld; the Dallas Opera for a Manuel de Falla triple bill (Master Peter’s Puppet Show, La vida breve, and El amor brujo), L’incoronazione di Poppea, Les contes d’Hoffmann, Lucia di Lammermoor, Werther, Romèo et Juliette, and L’Italiana in Algeri; L’Opera de Montreal for Samson et Dalila, Der Rosenkavalier, Turandot, and Manon Lescaut; Houston Grand Opera for Dialogues of the Carmelites and Turandot; Florida Grand Opera for The Turn of the Screw, Les contes d’Hoffmann, Tosca, Die Walküre, La Voix Humaine, Il tabarro, and La Gioconda; San Diego Opera for Salome, Werther, and Dialogues of the Carmelites, New Orleans Opera for Tristan und Isolde and Lohengrin; and Baltimore Opera for Turandot, Lucia di Lammermoor, Romèo et Juliette, and Norma.

Lighting design will be by Thomas C. Hase, with wig and make-up designs by David Zimmerman.
Chorus preparation will be by Dallas Opera Chorus Master Alexander Rom.
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Set in 19th-century Paris, where the young heir to a distinguished family name falls passionately in love with a woman of uncertain virtue, LA TRAVIATA is one of the most soulfully romantic works in the opera canon.

Modeled after the too-short life and times of one of Paris’ best-known 19th century beauties, Marie Duplessis (who later went on to have a torrid affair with composer Franz Liszt); this is the story of her sometimes stormy relationship with writer Alexander Dumas the Younger, who immortalized her as “The Lady of the Camellias” after she succumbed to tuberculosis at the tender age of 23. The frenzied sale of her remaining jewels and belongings paid-off her outstanding debts and provided a tidy bequest to her niece in Normandy, who inherited Marie’s ill-gotten gains on the condition that she never set foot in Paris.

In Dumas’ book, which served as the basis for his play, his fictional heroine tells us, “I built a future life on your love; I dreamed of the country, of purity.” In Verdi’s opera, Alfredo (the stand-in for Dumas fils) was raised far from the wicked city-life and, in his naiveté, barely comprehends the choices Marie—now called Violetta—has been forced to make in order to survive. However, composer Giuseppe Verdi, who then lived in his own unconventional arrangement with Giuseppina Strepponi, understood these characters completely and rendered them indelibly upon our hearts.
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EVENTS AND GUEST ARTISTS SUBJECT TO CHANGE

THE DALLAS OPERA GRATEFULLY ACKNOWLEDGES
THE TEXAS INSTRUMENTS FOUNDATION,
PRESENTER OF THE 2011-2012 SEASON
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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT “MARCH AT THE DALLAS OPERA”
IS CONVENIENTLY AVAILABLE ONLINE, 24/7
VISIT WWW.DALLASOPERA.ORG AND CHECK THE CALENDAR LISTINGS

For high-resolution, digital photographs suitable for print
To arrange an interview
Or for additional information
Please contact Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director Media & PR
214.443.1014 or suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org

THE DALLAS OPERA WISHES TO EXPRESS ITS GRATITUDE TO OUR EXCLUSIVE PARTNERS:

AMERICAN AIRLINES – OFFICIAL AIRLINE OF THE DALLAS OPERA
LEXUS – OFFICIAL VEHICLE OF THE DALLAS OPERA
CARTIER – OFFICIAL JEWELER & WATCHMAKER OF THE DALLAS OPERA
ROSEWOOD CRESCENT HOTEL – OFFICIAL HOTEL OF THE DALLAS OPERA

Ticket Information for the 2011-2012 Dallas Opera Season

All performances, unless otherwise stated, are in the acoustically acclaimed Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. Season subscriptions start at just $76, FLEX subscriptions (three performances) begin at $75. Single tickets start at $25 apiece. For more information, contact the friendly staff at The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online at www.dallasopera.org. Principal cast members and events may be subject to change. All ticket sales are final.

THE DALLAS OPERA 2011-2012 SPRING SEASON INFORMATION
The Dallas Opera celebrates its Fifty-Fifth International Season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in downtown Dallas. With the exception of Tristan & Isolde, evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees will begin at 2:00 p.m. Tristan’s evening performances will start at 7:00 p.m. and matinees at 2:00 p.m. Performances of The Lighthouse (new chamber opera series) will take place in the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre located directly across the street from the Winspear in the AT&T Performing Arts Center. English translations will be projected above the stage at every performance. Assistance is available for the hearing impaired.

TRISTAN & ISOLDE by Richard Wagner
February 16, 19(m), 22 & 25, 2012
A Special Opera-in-Concert, with projections by Moby-Dick’s Elaine McCarthy!
Ancient Myths, Modern Cine-Magic! And a special curtain time: 7:00 p.m.!
An opera in two acts first performed in Munich, June 10, 1865.
Text by Richard Wagner, based on an ancient Celtic and Icelandic legend.
Time: Legendary
Place: A ship at sea; outside King Marke’s palace, Cornwall; Tristan’s castle at Kareol
Conductor: Graeme Jenkins
Stage Director: Christian Räth
Video Design: Elaine McCarthy
Lighting Design: Alan Burrett
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Jeanne-Michele Charbonnet (Isolde), Clifton Forbis (Tristan), Mary Phillips (Brangäne), Jukka Rasilainen** (Kurvenal), Kristinn Sigmundsson* (King Marke), Erik Nelson Werner (Melot), and Aaron Blake (A Young Sailor/A Shepherd).

THE LIGHTHOUSE by Peter Maxwell Davies
Inaugural production of the Dallas Opera Chamber Series
Presented in collaboration with the Dallas Theater Center
In the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre at the AT&T Performing Arts Center
March 16, 17 & 18(m), 2012
A chilling supernatural and psychological thriller!
Time: December 1900
Place: Edinburgh Court of Enquiry, Fladda Isle Lighthouse off the Scottish coast
Conductor: Nicole Paiement*
Stage Director: Kevin Moriarty* (opera directorial debut)
Scenic Design: Beowulf Boritt*
Costume Design: Claudia Stephens*
Cast to be announced this autumn.

LA TRAVIATA by Giuseppe Verdi
April 13, 15(m), 18, 21, 27 & 29(m), 2012
Let’s Party Like It’s 1849!
An opera in three acts first performed in Venice at Teatro La Fenice, March 6, 1853
Text by Francesco Maria Piave, based on Alexandre Dumas’ play, La dame aux camélias
Time: 19th century
Place: Paris
Conductor: Marco Guidarini
Stage Director: Bliss Hebert
Production Design: Allen Charles Klein
Lighting Design: Thomas Hase
Choreographer: Rosa Mercedes*
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Myrtò Papatanasiu** (Violetta Valéry), James Valenti (Alfredo Germont), Laurent Naouri* (Giorgio Germont), Amanda Crider* (Flora Bervoix), Timothy Mix* (Baron Douphol), Mark McCrory (Marchese D’Obigny), Ethan Herschenfeld* (Doctor Grenvil), and Susan Nicely (Annina).

THE MAGIC FLUTE by W.A. Mozart
April 20, 22(m), 25, 28, May 4 & 6(m), 2012
Hearts Tested, Tried and True!
An opera in two acts first performed in Vienna, September 30, 1791.
Text by Emanuel Schikaneder.
Time: Legendary
Place: Mythological Egypt
Conductor: Graeme Jenkins
Production: August Everding
Stage Director: Matthew Lata
Scenic Design: Jörg Zimmermann*
Costume Design: Renate Kalanke*
Lighting Design: Duane Schuler
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Children’s Chorus Master: Melinda Cotten
Starring: Ava Pine (Pamina), Shawn Mathey* (Tamina), Patrick Carfizzi (Papageno), L’ubica Vargicová* (The Queen of the Night), Raymond Aceto (Sarastro), Kevin Langan (The Speaker), David Cangelosi (Monostatos), Angela Mannino* (Papagena), Caitlin Lynch* (First Lady), Lauren McNeese* (Second Lady), Maya Lahyani* (Third Lady), Aaron Blake (First Man in Armour) and Darren K. Stokes* (Second Man in Armour).

* Dallas Opera Debut
** American Debut

______________________________________________________________________________________
The Dallas Opera is supported, in part, by funds from: City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs; TACA; the Texas Commission on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). American Airlines is the official airline of The Dallas Opera. Lexus is the official vehicle of The Dallas Opera. Cartier is the official jeweler and watchmaker of The Dallas Opera. Rosewood Crescent Hotel is the official hotel of The Dallas Opera. Advertising support from The Dallas Morning News. A special thanks to Mrs. William W. Winspear and the Elsa von Seggern Foundation for their continuing support.

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