San Francisco Opera continues its free Opera is ON streams this weekend with a 2014 production of Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata. With production by John Copley and revival staging by Laurie Feldman, this performance stars Nicole Cabell as Violetta, Stephen Costello as Alfredo and Vladimir Stoyanov as Alfredo’s father, Count Germont.
Verdi’s three-act opera, with an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, is based on the 1852 play La Dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils, which in turn was based on Dumas’ 1848 novel of the same name. Inspiration for the novel came from an actual ‘lady of pleasure’ whom Dumas had known and adored. The opera, which premiered at La Fenice in Venice on March 6th, 1853, became one of Verdi’s most frequently performed during his lifetime – and is still one of the most popular operas in the repertoire today.
The role of tragic heroine Violetta Valéry – the ‘fallen woman’ of the title who forgoes her relationship with her lover at the request of his father – is taken by American soprano Nicole Cabell, of whom Seen and Heard writes: “Her voice is gorgeous, cut from the finest velvet”. It has been described as “liquid gold” by Opera News, and Chicago Magazine refers to Ms Cabell as “one of the most exciting lyric sopranos to grace the world’s concert halls”. Winner of the 2005 BBC Singer of the World Competition, Nicole Cabell made her debut with San Francisco Opera in the 2012-13 season as Giulietta in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi.
American tenor Stephen Costello is Violetta’s lover, Alfredo, who is devastated to discover that his father has persuaded Violetta to give him up. Winner of the 2009 Richard Tucker Award, Mr Costello has been described by Opera News as “A first-class talent … An intelligent, well trained singer whose enormous talent and natural musical instincts mark him for potential greatness”. According to the Daily Express in the UK, he takes his place “among the world’s best tenors”.
Vladimir Stoyanov is Count Germont who cannot abide the shame of his son’s relationship with a courtesan, and sets about destroying their relationship. Only as he watches the suffering of his son as Violetta is dying, does he accept the consequences of his actions. Described by bachtrack.com as ”The extraordinary Bulgarian baritone Vladimir Stoyanov … “, he has been praised by the New York Times for his “warm, attractive voice”, and by Opera News for his “gorgeous legato sound and remarkable breath control”.
The creative team behind the production are set designer John Conklin, costume designer David Walker, lighting designer Gary Marder and choreographer Yaelisa.
Sung in Italian with English subtitles, La Traviata can be viewed free of charge upon registration at sfopera.com, from 10.00 am (Pacific) on Saturday, January 30th. It will be available until 11.59 pm the following day.
For more information, visit the San Francisco Opera website.
Information sourced from:
San Francisco Opera program notes