'La Traviata' opens March 9 | February 15, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | PleasantonWeekly.com |


Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - February 15, 2013

'La Traviata' opens March 9

Free preview at Pleasanton library Feb. 24

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

Livermore Valley Opera continues its season's offerings starting March 8 with the opening of Verdi's "La Traviata," a romantic tale of love and heartbreak that is a staple of operatic repertoires.

"'La Traviata' offers an emotional ride between the gaiety of 1800s Parisian parties and the despair of a poignant ending," said LVO President Jim Schmidt. "It belongs in the top tier of opera with some of the most familiar and enjoyable music known, and our cast brings the characters to life with rich vibrant voices and commanding stage presence."

"La Traviata," which literally translates as "The Fallen Woman," is the story of a young courtesan, Violetta Valéry, who finds the love of her life in a young nobleman, Alfredo Germont. But Alfredo's father insists that Violetta break off her relationship to protect his family's reputation.

Giuseppe Verdi adapted the opera from Alexandre Dumas' romantic novel, "La dame aux Camélias" (The Lady of the Camellias). The opera will be sung in Italian with English supertitles above the stage.

Lyric soprano and dramatic actress Rebecca Davis will sing Violetta. She is an alumnus of the San Francisco Opera Merola Program and has performed principal roles in major opera houses across the country.

"Her voice is muscular enough to tackle the most daunting displays of power, but tenderly lyrical in more intimate passages," reviewer Joshua Kosman said in the San Francisco Chronicle about Davis' performance in a prior appearance as Violetta.

Tenor David Gustafson, one of the Bay Area's most popular opera singers, will sing Alfredo. He sang Roldolfo in the Livermore Valley Opera production of "La bohème" is the fall.

Schmidt explained that the upcoming production of "La Traviata" will be unique, even for opera aficionados.

"If you have seen 'La Traviata' before, our production promises to be a new experience, thanks to the imaginative direction of our stage director Brian Luedloff," Schmidt said.

Luedloff directed LVO's production of "Madama Butterfly" in 2011, which San Francisco Classical Voice described as "riveting."

An OperaLIVE! Free event at the Pleasanton library will feature Davis and Gustafson performing excerpts from "La Traviata" and other operas at 1 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 24.

Love and heartbreak

What: "La Traviata"

Who: Livermore Valley Opera

When: 8 p.m., Saturdays, March 9 and 16

2 p.m., Sundays, March 10 and 17

Where: Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St., Livermore

Cost: Adults, $39-$74. Students 18 younger, $10 off. Included in the ticket price are pre-opera talks, beginning one hour before curtain. Sunday matinees include ice cream at intermission.

Tickets: Call 373-6800 or visit www.livermorevalleyopera.com

Other: Opening Night Gala, $85, at Uncle Yu's at the Vineyard, 4:30 p.m.


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