http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2012/08/24/opera-announces-new-season


Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - August 24, 2012

Opera announces new season

Two favorites being featured: 'La bohéme' and 'La Traviata'

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

The Livermore Valley Opera has announced its 21st performance season featuring two of opera's most dramatic love stories: Puccini's "La bohéme" and Verdi's "La Traviata."

"Again this season, we have incredible singers, artists and musicians who will take our audiences on two operatic journeys with Puccini's 'La bohéme' and Verdi's 'La Traviata,'" says Elizabeth Wells, executive director. "We can boast some of the Bay Area's best talent."

"La bohéme" will be at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore on Oct. 6, 7, 13 and 14, with an Opening Night Gala celebration dinner at 5 p.m. at Uncle Yu's at the Vineyard. "La Traviata" is scheduled for March 9, 10, 16 and 17, also with an opening night dinner.

Returning to Livermore Valley Opera and making his directorial debut with "La bohéme" is baritone Eugene Brancoveanu, who will also sing the role of Marcello. He received a Tony Award for this role in 2003.

"Eugene's Tony award-winning performance in the Broadway version of 'La bohéme' was a key factor in our choosing him to direct LVO's production," Wells said. "He is also a favorite of LVO audiences since his thrilling and dramatic performance in the title role of Don Giovanni."

That was in October 2010.

Also returning, singing the role of Mimi, is soprano and Metropolitan Opera artist Marie Plette, who sang the title role in LVO's production of "Tosca" earlier this year: tenor David Gustafson as Rodolfo, and bass-baritone Phillip Skinner, who portrayed the evil Scarpia alongside Plette, will sing the role of Colline for "La bohéme." Soprano Kristin Clayton will portray Musetta.

Returning director Brian Luedloff, whose vision of LVO's production of "Madama Butterfly" in March 2010 was described by San Francisco Classical Voice as "riveting," will again lend his talents to "La Traviata." Soprano Rebecca Davis will sing Violetta, with Gustafson returning to sing Alfredo, and baritone Torleff Borsting as Violetta's father Germont.

Though some opera companies shy from traditional productions of the most often performed operas like "La bohéme" and "La Traviata," Livermore Valley Opera does not.

"Grand opera, the tried and true favorites, produced in a traditional sense as the composers intended is what LVO does best," explained Wells. "These two operas were built for the ages, they are timeless. With opulent sets, elaborate costumes and outstanding talent, LVO's productions are no longer a hidden treasure, but recognized as quality, professional experiences."

Tickets are $39-$74 for adults, with $10 off for students 18 and younger. The Opening Night Gala is $75. Call 373-6800 or go to www.livermoreperformingarts.org.

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