Obsession….lust….jealousy….rage….grief. These words conjure the foundation of most every opera as well as the plot of most episodes of The Real Housewives of…

La Traviata, Verdi’s poignant story of an exquisite, glamorous courtesan who abandons the man of her dreams out of her love for him. He comes from a notable family and her background threatens to destroy his reputation. The story is set in Paris in the 1840’s but could easily be placed in New York, Dallas or any metropolitan area today. It’s a crowd pleaser because it not only has gorgeous music but the universal themes most everyone can relate to. Opera is the art form capable of captivating audiences with the magnificence of what the voice can do. Human passion is the underlying theme and ultimately, the greatest attraction.

Come for the music….stay for the passion. Verdi’s genius stimulates drama in the music he wrote. This is arguably one of the top 5 operas of all time along with La Boheme and Madame Butterfly and the first time Knoxville Opera has produced it in 14 years. Here’s a bit of trivia…La Traviata is the opera Richard Gere took Julia Roberts to see in Pretty Woman. The scene where he snaps the necklace case shut on her fingers was improvised by Gere and her now-famous laugh was totally genuine. The filmmakers liked it so much they decided to keep it in.The ruby necklace really did cost $250,000. While filming, a security man from the jewelry store equipped with a gun was constantly standing behind the director. The three tableaux used during the opera scene are when Violetta meets Alfredo at a party, Violetta abandons Alfredo at his father’s request and the final scene where Violetta dies (did I just spoil the ending?). In the final scene, Edward “serenades” Vivian with a recording of an aria from La Traviata. The aria has a vocal solo followed by the theme on strings and trumpet. That arrangement was not from the original opera but adapted for the film.

Our production of La Traviata welcomes veteran stage director, Keturah Stickann who directed Knoxville Opera’s production of Manon last season. She has also either directed or choreographed with Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Atlanta Opera and New York City Opera among others. We’re very pleased to also welcome back Metropolitan Opera soprano Joyce El-Khoury to portray the legendary Violetta and exciting tenor Zach Borichevsky as the heartbroken Alfredo. For a synopsis and more information on our production, visit http://ow.ly/6ucw3. Tickets are available for Friday night and Sunday matinee performances on October 28th and 30th. La Traviata is one of the three world-class productions in Knoxville Opera’s Season of Star-Crossed Lovers and part of the 2011-2012 season subscription including Gounod’s Romeo & Juliette and Verdi’s Otello. This promises to be an incredible season and we look forward to welcoming you back to the wonderful world of opera.

Tah-tah for now and I’ll see you at the opera!


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