La traviata

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The toast of the opera repertoire, La Traviata sees the famed courtesan Violetta Valery navigate the twists and turns of the one thing she hoped never to come up against: love. The attentions of the love-struck Alfredo turns Violetta’s safe world upside down, making her question whether this young man is worth giving up her independence. On the request of Alfredo’s father, Violetta shows herself to be much more than any man has ever given her credit for, leading to a seeming betrayal which spirals both her and Alfredo to their tragic conclusions. La Traviata features one of Verdi’s most beautiful scores, from the rousing brindisi to some of the most romantic moments in all opera. A timeless romantic classic that has no chance at a happy ending, La Traviata is a must-see.

Starring Georgia JarmanZach Borichevsky*Vladislav Sulimsky • Abigail Levis* • Brenton Ryan* • Ryan Kuster  • Daniel Armstrong* • Rachel Sterrenberg*

Conductor Carlo Montanaro• Director Stephania Panighini* • Set and Costume Designer Desmond Heely • Light Design Alan Burrett

*Dallas Opera debut

Rated PG-13

Opera in Brief

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In her Paris salon, the courtesan Violetta Valéry greets party guests, including Gastone, who introduces a new admirer, Alfredo Germont. This young man, having adored Violetta from afar, addresses her with a drinking song; she joins him in the salute to pleasure. An orchestra is heard in the next room, but as guests move there to dance, Violetta suffers an attack of faintness. Concerned, Alfredo returns and, since they are alone, confesses his love. At first Violetta protests that love means nothing to her. Something in the young man’s sincerity touches her, however, and she promises to meet him the next day. After the guests have gone home, Violetta wonders if Alfredo could actually be the man to fulfill her need for love. But she decides she prefers freedom, though Alfredo’s voice, heard outside, argues in favor of romance.


Scene I

Alfredo and Violetta are living in a villa near Paris, where he praises their contentment. When the maid, Annina, reveals that Violetta has pawned her jewels to keep the villa, Alfredo leaves for the city to raise money. Violetta receives an invitation from Flora to a party that night. She has no intention of going back to her old life, but trouble intrudes with the appearance of Alfredo’s father, Giorgio Germont. He demands she renounce his son: the scandal of Alfredo’s affair with her has threatened his daughter’s engagement. Violetta says she cannot, but Germont eventually convinces her. Alone, the desolate woman sends a message of acceptance to Flora and begins a farewell note to Alfredo. He enters suddenly, surprising her, and she can barely control herself as she repeats how deeply she loves him before rushing out. A servant hands Alfredo her farewell note as Giorgio returns to console his son with reminders of family life in Provence. But Alfredo, seeing Flora’s invitation, determines to confront her at the party that evening.

Scene II

At her soirée, Flora learns from the Marquis that Violetta and Alfredo have parted, then clears the floor for a band of Gypsies and dancers, who sing of a bullfighter and his coy sweetheart. Soon Alfredo strides in, making bitter comments about love and gambling recklessly at cards. Violetta has arrived with Baron Douphol, who challenges Alfredo to a game and loses a small fortune to him. Everyone goes in to supper, but Violetta has asked Alfredo to stay behind. Fearful of the Baron’s anger, she wants Alfredo to leave, but he misunderstands her apprehension and demands that she admit she loves Douphol. Crushed, she pretends she does. Alfredo calls in the others, denounces Violetta and hurls his winnings at her feet. As the guests rebuke him and Douphol challenges him to a duel, the elder Germont enters in search of his son and also denounces his behavior.


In Violetta’s bedroom, Dr. Grenvil tells Annina that Violetta has not long to live; tuberculosis has claimed her. Alone, Violetta rereads a letter from Germont saying the Baron was only wounded in his duel with Alfredo, who has now been told the truth and is on his way to beg her pardon. But Violetta senses it is too late. Paris is celebrating Mardi Gras, and after revelers pass outside, Annina rushes in to announce Alfredo. The lovers ecstatically plan to leave Paris forever. Giorgio Germont enters with the doctor before Violetta is seized with a last resurgence of strength. Feeling life return, she gets out of bed, staggers and then falls dead at her lover’s feet.

Cast Biographies

Georgia Jarman(Violetta Valery) Following a series of high-profile debuts throughout the United States and Europe, Georgia Jarman continues to impress in both the lyric coloratura and bel canto repertoire. Recent successes have included her highly acclaimed performances as Roxana in Kasper Holten’s new production of Król Roger under Antonio Pappano (now on DVD and Blu-ray), marking her Covent Garden debut, Gilda (Rigoletto) in her Santa Fe Festival debut and all four heroines in Richard Jones’ production of The Tales of Hoffmann for English National Opera. Georgia was named "discovery of the year" by the Independent in London for her portrayal of the Heroines with the English National Opera, stating, "Arriving unheralded out of the blue, the American soprano Georgia Jarman had audiences gasping in ENO’s Tales of Hoffman".

Zach Borichevsky(Alfredo Germont) is one of the most exciting new vocal talents to emerge on the international stage. This season Zach makes both his Glyndebourne Festival and Seattle Opera debuts as Alfredo (La Traviata), as well as returning to the Metropolitan Opera as Edmondo (Manon Lescaut). Subsequent debuts have included Rodolfo (La Bohème) for English National Opera and Finnish National Opera and Alfredo (La Traviata) with Glyndebourne Touring Opera. Further debuts have included Lensky (Eugene Onegin) with Arizona Opera, Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor) for Opera Carolina and Toledo Opera, Romeo (Roméo et Juliette) for Teatro Municipal Santiago de Chile, Matteo (Arabella) and Anatol (Vanessa) for the Santa Fe Festival, Jonathan Dale in the East Coast premiere of Kevin Puts’ Silent Night for Opera Philadelphia.

Vladislav Sulimsky(Giorgio Germont) is a stunning performer with an exciting international career.  As first prize winner at the International Rimsky-Korsakov Competition in St Petersburg (2002), he has since been seen at the Mariinsky Theatre, Bolshoi Theatre, Stockholm Royal Opera, Theater an der Wien, and the Mikkeli and Baden-Baden Festivals.  Mr. Sulimsly recently performed the title roles in Eugene Onegin at the Malmö Opera, Macbethat the Basel theatre, and Ibn-Hakia in Iolanta in Dallas.  Future engagements include Tomsky (Pique Dame) at the Stuttgart opera, Mazeppa at the Oviedo Opera, Rigoletto at the Sankt Margarethen Opera Festival and Germont (La Traviata) in Dallas. Mr. Sulimsky also received a Grammy Award Nomination for his recording of "the Nose" by Schostakovich with Valery Gergiev in 2009.

Abigail Levis(Flora Bervoix)  joined Deutsche Oper Berlin for the 2016/17 season appearing in Carmen, Hirsch and Purcell’s Dido, and Don Carlo. She returned to North America in December to sing Messiah (Toronto Symphony Orchestra/Portland Baroque). As an alumna of the Utah Opera young artists program, Ms. Levis returned twice during the 2015/16 season and returns this season for Orlovsky (Die Fledermaus).  Other season highlights include debuts with Opera Philadelphia as Testo (Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda), Memory 3 (I Have No Stories to Tell You), Rose (At the Statue of Venus) and Dinah (Trouble in Tahiti) with Opera Parallèle. Ms. Levis was awarded first prize in the 2017 10th Annual Klaudia Taev Competition and spent a full season with the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program at Los Angeles Opera.

Brenton Ryan(Gastone) Winner of the Birgit Nilsson prize at the 2016 Operalia competition, tenor Brenton Ryan is hailed by Opera News for his “remarkable tonal suavity and refined phrasing”. The 2017-18 season sees Mr. Ryan’s return to the Metropolitan Opera as ‘Spoletta’ in a new production of Tosca, which will be broadcast to theatres around the world as part of the Met’s Live in HD program. Mr. Ryan also makes his debut with Opera Philadelphia as ‘Monostatos’ in Die Zauberflöte, his debut with Santa Fe Opera singing ‘Dancing Master’ in Ariadne auf Naxos, and his debut with Dallas Opera singing both ‘Gastone’ in La Traviataand ‘Florian’ in Der Ring des Polykrates. He also returns to LA Opera singing ‘John Wormley’ in a concert performance of Matthew Aucoin’s The Crossing.

Dale Travis(Baron Douphol) has become one of the most sought after bass-baritones in America today.  With a repertoire encompassing styles from Mozart to Strauss and Puccini to Wagner, Mr. Travis has frequently sung with the most prestigious opera companies in the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Teatro Regio in Torino, Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, and the Berlin Komische Oper. Mr. Travis returned to Lyric Opera of Chicago for Tosca and The Merry Widow, Santa Fe Opera for Arabella, The Magic Flute and Albert Herring, and the San Francisco Opera for The Marriage of Figaro and Makrpolous Case, A View from the Bridge in Rome, and the Doctor in Vec Makropolous at the Metropolitan Opera.

Daniel Armstrong(Marquis D’Obigny) A native of Houston, Texas, baritone Daniel Armstrong is an alumnus of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program.  While there he performed the roles: Captain in Luisa Fernanda, Moralès in Carmen, Pinellino in Gianni Schicchi, Starbuck in Moby-Dick, Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, and Schlémil in The Tales of Hoffmann. Other highlights include: his Dallas Opera debut as the Marquis d’Obigny in La Traviata, and performingthe leading role of the Jester in the west coast premiere of Ernst Krenek’s The Secret Kingdom. He performed Bach’s Magnificat with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of music director Jeffrey Kahane. In 2013, he performed the leading role of Tarquinius in Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia with the Colburn Orchestra under the baton of James Conlon.

Ryan Kuster(Doctor Grenvil) is gaining national recognition for his recent appearances as Escamillo in Carmen, with Virginia Opera, Opera Colorado, Opera Grand Rapids, and Knoxville Opera. This season’s engagements include the reprisal of his signature role of Escamillo in Carmen with Florida Grand Opera and in Peter Brook’s Tragedy of Carmen with San Diego Opera; Colline in La Bohèmewith the Charleston Opera, and a concert for the Hart Institute for Women Conductors with Dallas Opera. On concert stages, Kuster performed the bass solos in Fauré’s Requiem with Bucks County Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem with Neumann College Choir, Händel’s Messiah with Tindley Temple Choir, the title role of Händel’s oratorio Saul with Marsh Chapel Choir and Collegium.

Rachel Sterrenberg(Annina) recently presented her highly acclaimed signature role of Chan Parker in Charlie Parker’sYardbird with Madison Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, and English National Opera. She joins Opera Philadelphia again this season as Pamina in The Magic Flute. During her tenure as Opera Philadelphia’s Emerging Artist, she performed Annina (La Traviata), Sara (Higdon/Scheer’sCold Mountain), and Chan in the world premiere of Charlie Parker’sYardbird. Sterrenberg was featured in the title role in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta, Anne Trulove (The Rake’s Progress), Blanche (Dialogues des Carmélites), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), and Armida (Rinaldo) with the Curtis Institute Opera Theatre. Rachel is a second-place award recipient in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Metropolitan National Council Auditions.

Production Biographies

Carlo Montanaro(Conductor) Music Director at Teatr Wielki in Warsaw 2011-2014, Montanaro has performed a wide repertoire on the most important stages worldwide. These include Bayerische Staatsoper (La Traviata, Aida, Tosca, L’Elisir d’Amore, Carmen), Paris Opera (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Seattle Opera (Don Quichotte, Attila, La Bohème, Maria Stuarda, Nabucco), Hamburgische Staatsoper (Aida, Manon Lescaut, Turandot, Macbeth, Falstaff, La Fanciulla del West), Oper Frankfurt (Mefistofele, Adriana Lecouvreur, Don Carlo, Simon Boccanegra), San Francisco Opera (Carmen), La Scala (La Traviata), La Fenice (Roméo et Juliette), Graz Musikverein (Giovanna d’Arco), Dresden Semperoper (Carmen, Un Ballo in Maschera), Maggio Fiorentino and Sydney Opera House (La Bohème), Tokyo NNT (Madama Butterfly, Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Bilbao Opera (Lucia di Lammermoor). He conducted symphony orchestras of Cincinnati, Atlanta, Seattle, Boston, WDR Köln, Santa Cecilia Orchestra.

Stefania Panighini(Director) One of the most interesting Italian directors of her generation, Stefania Panighini works regularly in the most important theaters in Italy and Europe. Her recent productions include Orlando by Handel with the Theater An der Wien Young Ensemble, La Traviata at Wexford Opera Festival, Hansel & Gretel and Rinaldo by Handel in Tenerife, Madama Butterfly at Luglio Musicale Trapanese and Nina ossia la pazza per amore by Paisiello at Opera Giocosa in Savona. She will come back at Luglio Musicale Trapanese this summer for La Bohème. Stefania Panighini is also professor of Performing Arts at the State Conservatory of Parma. She writes several essays in musicology, including a study of Pelléas et Melisande for the Opera Comique (Paris), and she also makes videoclips and documentaries.

Desmond Heeley(Set and Costume Designer) began his career at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company and then at the Shakespeare Memorial (now Royal Shakespeare) Theatre, where he became designer in 1955. Mr. Heeley’s Hamlet in 1957 marked the opening of the Festival Theatre at the Stratford Shakespearean Festival in Ontario, Canada. He designed the premiere production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at Britain’s National Theatre and on Broadway (where it received two Tony Awards in 1968). International credits include the Metropolitan Opera, The Royal Opera (Covent Garden), among many others. He received the Theatre Development Funds Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award, the Allan Jones Memorial Award (in 1995 and 1997), and the prestigious United States Institute for Theatre Technology Award to recognize his lifetime contribution to the performing arts.

Alan Burrett (Lighting Designer) Mr. Burrett’s acclaimed work for theatre, dance and opera have been seen in over 30 countries. He began his career with Bejart ballet in Brussels where he designed sets, costumes and lights for numerous productions. He continued his lighting career designing over fifteen productions at the Royal Shakespeare Company, as well as The Royal National Theater, Royal Opera Covent Garden, The Paris Opera, Munich Opera, Burgtheater Vienna and The Opera of Rome. In 1995 Alan Burrett began a 22 year collaboration with LA Opera, and in 2001 was invited to become their first resident lighting designer, where he designed 36 productions. Mr. Burrett continues to work as a freelance lighting designer for companies in the United States and abroad. His productions have received critical acclaim and international awards.

Alexander Rom (Chorus Master) is a native of Kharkov, Ukraine, and holds a Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting from Leningrad Conservatory of Music. Since immigrating to the U.S., he has worked as a performer, conductor, educator, voice teacher, opera coach, and composer. He has been the chorus master for The Dallas Opera since 1990 and an opera coach with the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Savonlinna Opera Festival, Cincinnati Festival, and Ravinia Festival. He has worked with world renowned singers including Paul Plishka, Mirella Freni, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Jorma Hynninen, Helga Dernesch, Martti Talvela, Joyce DiDonato, and Jerry Hadley. Maestro Rom is an honorary Visiting
** Dancers included in this production. Auditions will be held in summer 2017. **