La traviataby Giuseppe Verdi
March 5*, 6, 8*, 9, 10*, 11, 12* and 13, 2011
The world-famous classic that inspired Moulin Rouge!
A courtesan's romantic hope is dashed when she falls in love with a younger man, but must give him up. With perfumed arias and towering choruses, Verdi's heartrending story vividly depicts the decadence and consequence of Parisian high society. Elizabeth Futral* and Georgia Jarman alternate as Violetta to lead this twin-cast spectacular.
Estimated run time, including intermissions is 3 hours and 1 minute.
Dates + Performancesat Ordway. Get directions
*Section F is Partial View. Stage and/or surtitles may be obstructed from seats in this area.
+Student/Senior discount is available on Weeknights only. To order, call the Ticket Office at 612-333-6669 Mon.-Fri., 9am-6pm.
A late night soirée is in progress at the home of Violetta Valéry. Gastone presents to his hostess Alfredo, an admirer. It is soon learned, while Violetta was recently taken ill, Alfredo visited her home daily for hopeful news of her recovery. Violetta retorts that it is more attention than she has received from her current protector, Baron Douphol, who is incensed by the behavior of the youthful upstart. When the baron declines to make the evening toast, Violetta gives the honor to Alfredo.
As the guests retire to the ballroom, Violetta feels faint and rests for a moment. Alfredo lingers behind and soon professes his love for her. Friendship is all she can offer, but as he leaves, she gives him a flower and tells him to return when it has faded. As dawn approaches, the guests bid adieu, and Violetta reflects on the feelings Alfredo has aroused within her heart. She ponders whether or not she could ever give up her life of pleasure for true love.
Scene one It is several months later, and Violetta and Alfredo are deeply in love. They have abandoned city life, taking residence in Violetta's country home. Alfredo soon learns from Annina that Violetta has had to sell many of her possessions in order to maintain their current lifestyle. Intending to set things right, Alfredo rushes back to Paris.
Violetta receives an invitation to a party that evening thrown by friend and fellow courtesan, Flora Bervoix. Violetta laughs at the notion of returning to her former life. She is then visited by Giorgio Germont, Alfredo's father, who rebukes her for ruining his son. Impressed by her graciousness in the face of his own rude behavior, Germont soon learns of Violetta's footing the bill and of her intention to put her past behind. Still, he presses his case – his daughter is about to marry, but the union is in jeopardy as Alfredo's relationship with Violetta is causing a scandal for the family. It must be broken off.
Reluctantly Violetta agrees, but Germont must promise to one day tell Alfredo of her sacrifice. She responds to Flora's invitation, then dashes off a farewell note to Alfredo. Upon receiving the note, Alfredo is heartbroken. He is comforted by his father, who urges him to return to their home in Provence. Instead, an enflamed Alfredo pursues Violetta, suspecting she has returned to her former life and lover.
Several months later, Violetta lies in her bed, desperately weak from the final stages of consumption. Doctor Grenvil attends her, but confides in Annina that the end is near. Violetta rereads a letter from Giorgio Germont – Alfredo wounded the baron during the duel and was forced to go abroad. As promised, Germont told his son of her sacrifice, and he is hurrying back to beg her forgiveness. Violetta fears that he will not return in time, yet moments later he rushes to her side. Reunited, the lovers ecstatically plan for the future, and Violetta tries to rise but cannot summon the strength. As a last gesture of love, she gives Alfredo a miniature portrait of herself, saying that she will always be watching over him. Suddenly overcome by a euphoric feeling, Violetta cries out that she feels life returning, then falls dead in her lover's arms.
music by Giuseppe Verdi
libretto by Francesco Maria Piave
|after La dame aux camélias|
|by Alexandre Dumas fils|
|World Premiere at the Teatro La Fenice, Venice|
|March 6, 1853|
|Sung in Italian with English captions|
|Assistant Conductor||Clinton Smith††|
|Stage Director||Lawrence Edelson
|Assistant Stage Director||Octavio Cardenas|
|Set Designer||Tom Mays|
|Costume Designer||Gail Bakkom|
|Violetta Valery, a courtesan||Elizabeth Futral*|
|Alfredo Germont||Bruno Ribeiro*
|Giorgio Germont, his father||Stephen Powell
|Flora Bervoix, friend of Violetta||Victoria Vargas|
|Gastone, friend of Alfredo||Brad Benoit|
|Annina, Violetta's maid||Angela Mortellaro|
|Baron Douphol, Violetta's protector||Jonathan Kimple
|Marchese d'Obigny||Michael Nyby|
|Doctor Grenvil||Ben Crickenberger
|Friends of Violetta and Flora, servants|
|In and around Paris|
|* performs March 5, 8, 10, 12
|** performs March 6, 9, 11, 13|
|† conducts March 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12|
|†† conducts March 13|
Gail Bakkom (costume designer)
Gail Bakkom was costume director for Minnesota Opera for nearly 30 years. She received her training at the Guthrie Theatre and served as costume director for the early Center Opera Company productions of The Good Soldier Schweik and The Mother of Us All. After staying home to raise her two children she returned to work building costumes for the Minnesota Dance Company. She has designed the costumes for the Minnesota Opera productions of The Village Singer (1982), A Death in the Family (1983), The Elixir of Love (1985), South Pacific (1986), Rigoletto (1988), Snow Leopard (1989), the world premiere of Frankenstein (1990), the New Music Theater Ensemble’s Seven Sevens (1993), The Merry Widow and the Hollywood Tycoon (1995), Otello (1999), Faust (1999), Macbeth (2000), La traviata (2003), Rigoletto (2003), Lucrezia Borgia (2004), Maria Padilla (2005) and Tosca (2005). She has also created costumes for the touring productions of The Barber of Seville, Hansel and Gretel, La bohème, Madame Butterfly, Carmen and Cinderella.
Brad Benoit (Gastone)
Tenor Brad Benoit joined the Minnesota Opera's Resident Artist Program in August, 2008, after attending the prestigious Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Artist Program. Other training programs to his credit include those at the Chicago Opera Theater and the Staunton Music Festival. Mr. Benoit is a graduate of Chicago College of the Performing Arts and has sung several roles there: Cecco in Il mondo della luna, the Lyric Tenor in Postcard from Morocco, the Prologue in The Turn of the Screw and La Théièry in L'enfant et les sortilèges. He has also performed the roles of Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi for Opera in the Ozarks and Roméo in Roméo et Juliette and Hadji in Lakmé at his undergraduate alma mater, Loyala University New Orleans. This past summer he returned to The Santa Fe Opera to complete a second season as an apprentice artist.
On the concert platform, Mr. Benoit has been a guest soloist at the Schubert Club performing Debussy's Ariettes d'oubliées and Fauré's La bonne chanson, in Bach's Cantata No. 140 for the Waukesha Symphony Orchestra and the Midsummer Night Benefit for the Young Musicians for Young Humanitarians in Calistoga, California. For his first season at Minnesota Opera, Brad sang Ruiz in Il trovatore, Arlecchino and Lampwick in The Adventures of Pinocchio and Count Almaviva in the alternate cast of The Barber of Seville. For his second season in Minnesota, Brad appeared as Gabriele in Casanova's Homecoming, Lord Cecil in Roberto Devereux, Parpingol in La bohème and the Third Jew in Salome. This season, he takes the stage to sing Gastone in La traviata and covers the roles of Don Ramiro in Cinderella, Leicester in Mary Stuart and Edgar in Wuthering Heights.
Octavio Cardenas (assistant director)
Octavio Cardenas joined The Minnesota Opera's Resident Artist Program after having served as assistant director for productions of Così fan tutte and La traviata for Chautauqua Opera and Die Fledermaus at Austin Lyric Opera. He has also directed productions of Plump Jack, The Impresario, and The Elixir of Love and assisted on The Turn of the Screw and La chute de la maison Uscher for Butler Opera Center. Other directing credits include The Elixir of Love for Guadalajara Opera. This past summer he was assistant director at Chautauqua Opera for productions of Tosca and Il trovatore.
Mr. Cardenas is also a talented singer and actor, having performed in the films ‘Til parole do us part, Bottom Feeders and Gemini Friday; in the plays Beaux Stratagem (Scrub), Fashion (Mr. Twinkle), Summertime (Edmund), Orestes 2.0 (Forensic/Phrygian), Dream Play (the Lawyer), 4 a.m. (Doc) and Butterfly Kiss (Ross Sloan); and having sung the roles of Strephon in Iolanthe for the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Shreveport, Sciarrone in Tosca for Shreveport Opera, Marquese d'Orbigny in La traviata and Cascada in The Merry Widow for Guadalajara Opera and Vuzzachio in L'infedelta fedele and Beto in Gianni Schicchi for USC Opera. Mr. Cardenas holds a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from the Centenary College of Louisiana, a Master of Fine Arts in acting from UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and is a candidate for a DMA in opera directing from the University of Texas at Austin.
Michael Christie (conductor)
† conducts March 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Michael Christie is the Music Director of the Colorado Music Festival (Boulder, CO) and the Virginia G. Piper Music Director of the Phoenix Symphony. He has served as Music Director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic and Queensland Orchestra (Brisbane, Australia). With his orchestras, he has embarked on a series of ambitious projects focusing on symphonic cycles and interdisciplinary collaborations with visual artists, dance companies and theater groups, as well as on contemporary composers such as Gorecki, Ligeti, Adams, Goijov, Tan Dun, Rouse and Higdon, among many others.
Perhaps the most enduring legacy of his work since coming to international attention in 1995 when he was awarded a special prize for "Outstanding Potential" at the First International Sibelius Conductor's Competition in Helsinki, has been the extraordinary audience development initiatives he has undertaken. His "variety is key" approach to programming along with an infectious enthusiasm for communicating with patrons has yielded industry leading increases in participation and attendance in Boulder and Phoenix in particular.
He has enjoyed performing with the great orchestras of the world, including the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and St. Louis Symphony in the United States and the radio orchestras of Scandinavia and orchestras in almost every European country. He began his professional conducting training at the Zurich Opera and is looking forward to a full schedule of opera engagements in the coming seasons, including his debut performances with the Minnesota Opera this spring.
Ben Crickenberger (Dr. Grenvil)
Bass-baritone Ben Crickenberger is a talented member of the Minnesota Opera's ensemble, having appeared in a dozen productions over the past few seasons including Roberto Devereux, Casanova's Homecoming, The Pearl Fishers, The Barber of Seville and The Adventures of Pinocchio. He was also featured as Benoit in last season's La bohème and performs at schools in the greater metropolitan area as part of the Opera's educational tour, Through the Eyes and Ears of Mozart, led by Teaching Artist Angie Keeton.
Ben holds a performing arts degree from the University of Minnesota, where he has sung in productions of Anything Goes, Into the Woods, You Can't Take It With You, City of Angels and Die Fledermaus. Other regional appearances include roles with the Children's Theater Company (Aladdin Jr.), Minnesota Repertory Theater (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), Stewartville Community Theater (Camelot), Rochester Community Theater (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; Secret Father; The Best Christmas Pageant) and The Repertory Theater (Inspecting Carol).
Lawrence Edelson (stage director)
Lawrence Edelson has earned an international reputation as an innovative director, able to fuse vivid story telling with deeply expressive imagery, and has been praised by Opera Now magazine as doing a "splendid job of making (opera) relevant and understandable." Lawrence received his Bachelor's Degree in Stage Direction from New York University. He has served as a staff director for Glimmerglass Opera, where he taught for the Young American Artists Program, and was the assistant director on multiple productions. He has been a guest member on the directing staff of New York City Opera, where he restaged Little Women twice: for the work's Lincoln Center premiere, and for the company's tour to Japan. Lawrence's original productions include the American premiere of Telemann's Orpheus for Wolf Trap Opera; Carmen for Toledo Opera; Il barbiere di Siviglia for Hawaii Opera Theater; the New York premiere of Fauré's rarely produced Pénélope for Manhattan School of Music; Così fan tutte for Boston University's Opera Institute at the Huntington Theater; La voix humaine at New York's Maison Française; and the world premiere of The Toymaker off-Broadway as part of the New York Musical Theater Festival. Lawrence is a faculty member of the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, where he has directed original productions of Adamo's Little Women, Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Massenet's Werther. In the 2008–2009 season, Lawrence was one of the first winners of OPERA America's Director/Designer Showcase, sponsored by The National Endowment for the Arts. Upcoming directing engagements include La traviata for Minnesota Opera, a new double-bill of La serva padrona and Trouble in Tahiti for Opera Santa Barbara; a new production of Philip Glass's Hydrogen Jukebox for Fort Worth Opera; and a new production of Florencia en el Amazonas for three companies (to be announced) in the 2012–2013 season.
Josh Epstein (lighting designer)
Opera credits include the United States premiere of Telemann's Orpheus at Wolf Trap Opera Company, Fauré's Pénélope at the Manhattan School of Music (director Lawrence Edelson) as well as productions at the Berkshire Opera and upcoming productions at Opera Santa Barbara, Atlanta Opera and Fort Worth Opera. Regional Theater credits include productions at the Guthrie, The Goodman Theater, Long Wharf Theatre, Paper Mill Playhouse, Alliance Theater, Actor's Theater of Louisville and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Mr. Epstein's off-Broadway credits include productions with New Georges Theater Company, Julliard School of Drama, Clubbed Thumb, Target Margin Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, SPF, La MaMa E.T.C. and Naked Angels Theater Company. Mr. Epstein designed the lighting for the award-winning Macy's 2006–2008 New York City Holiday Windows. He received his MFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. He was a recipient of the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Designers.
Elizabeth Futral (Violetta)
* performs March 5, 8, 10, 12
Elizabeth Futral has established herself as one of the major coloratura sopranos in the world today. With her stunning vocalism and vast dramatic range, she has embraced a diverse repertoire that includes Vivaldi, Handel, Mozart, Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini, Verdi, Glass and Previn. Of her spectacular debut at the Metropolitan Opera in Lucia di Lammermoor, The New York Times wrote: "Her singing was sure, virtuoso and yet still lighted by humanity …"
The 2010–2011 opera season will feature Elizabeth Futral in a wide variety of venues throughout North and South America. With the Teatro Municipal de Santiago in the Chilean capital she will perform the title role in Thaïs, and she will be singing the four heroines in Les contes d'Hoffmann with the Florida Grand Opera in addition to performances as Violetta in La traviata with the Minnesota Opera. She will sing in recitals with Opera Birminghan, The Vocal Arts Society in Washington DC, the George London Foundation alongside bass-baritone Kyle Kettelsen, and Handel's Messiah with Music of the Baroque.
In the 2009–2010 season, Elizabeth Futral celebrated the art of the recital with a solo appearance at North Central College and in tandem with baritone Nathan Gunn at Dominican University. The soprano returned to Lyric Opera of Chicago for Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow, and made a much-anticipated reappearance at Kentucky Opera for Violetta in La traviata, a role she essayed later in the season with San Diego Opera. On the concert scene, Ms. Futral joined Jane Glover and Music of the Baroque for the title role in Handel's Acis and Galatea. She performed one of her favorite works, Strauss' Four Last Songs, with the Tucson Symphony, on a program also featuring the world premiere of Stephen Paulus' Three Poems of Dylan Thomas. The season completed with a concert performance of Ricky Ian Gordon's The Grapes of Wrath with the Collegiate Chorale at Carnegie Hall.
Elizabeth Futral spent the 2008–2009 season on some of the world's greatest stages. She opened Washington National Opera's season in one of her most cherished roles, Violetta in La traviata, and also performed Violetta with Los Angeles Opera and San Francisco Opera later in the season. At Opera de Oviedo, she made her role debut as Anne Trulove in The Rake's Progress. With Houston Grand Opera, Ms. Futral starred in the world premiere of Andre Previn's Brief Encounter, and with Deutsche Oper Berlin, she was seen in La traviata. In Athens, Ms. Futral joined the Megaron for Thaïs. May of 2009 found her as Elaisa in Il giuramento with Washington Concert Opera.
Ms. Futral began the 2007–2008 season as Violetta in La traviata at Lyric Opera of Chicago. She was heard in recital with the Atlanta Boy Choir in October and with Margo Garrett at Julliard in January 2008. She also appeared in a gala concert with Opera Louisiane featuring Paul Groves, Susan Graham, and Jeffrey Wells, among others. In November 2007, Ms. Futral returned to Pittsburgh Opera as Adina in L'elisir d'amore. On the concert stage she appeared with the Minnesota Orchestra for Stephen Paulus' To be certain of the dawn with Osmo Vänskä conducting. In 2008, Ms. Futral began a tour of Ricky Ian Gordon's Orpheus and Euridice with stops in Long Beach, California and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Also in 2008, Ms. Futral joined San Diego Opera to star in I Pagliacci and Lucia di Lammermoor at alongside José Cura and sang the title role in Donizetti's Ft. Worth Opera.
Her 2006–2007 appearances included: the Metropolitan Opera for the world premiere of Tan Dun's new opera The First Emperor, New York City Opera for the title role in Semele, Baltimore Opera for Pamira in Rossini's L'assedio di Corinto, Michigan Opera Theatre as Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail and with Vienna's Theater an der Wien as Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro.
Recent engagements include a return to the Metropolitan Opera for the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor, Washington National Opera for Adina in L'elisir d'amore, Los Angeles' Musica Angelica as Galatea in Acis and Galatea, Los Angeles Opera as Violetta in La traviata and with Vancouver Opera in a concert performance of I puritani.
She catapulted to stardom in 1994 in a critically acclaimed production of Delibes' Lakmé, at the New York City Opera. In 1996, she was invited to the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, the city of Rossini's birth, to sing the title role in Matilde di Shabran, in the first production of this opera in 175 years. During the same year, she starred as Catherine in Meyerbeer's rarely performed L'étoile du nord at the Wexford Festival. Two years later, Ms. Futral scored a major triumph at the San Francisco Opera when she originated the role of Stella in the world premiere of Sir Andre Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire.
Ms. Futral has garnered raves at the world's greatest opera houses in such roles as Gilda, Juliette, Lakmé, Lucia, Nanetta, Mélisande, Romilda, and Violetta. She dazzled audiences and critics with her debut at the Los Angeles Opera as Cleopatra in Francisco Negrin's acclaimed production of Handel's Giulio Cesare. This was followed by her highly anticipated return to the New York City Opera, where she starred in the title role of the company's new production of Douglas Moore's classic American opera, The Ballad of Baby Doe. She sang Nannetta in a new production of Verdi's Falstaff at the Bayerische Staatsoper under the direction of Zubin Mehta. She opened the 2002–2003 Washington Opera season as Lucia di Lammermoor to tremendous acclaim and sang her first performances of Marie in La fille du régiment with the Vancouver Opera.
Ms. Futral has a long and close association with the Lyric Opera of Chicago where she began her career. Of the many roles she has sung there, it is of special note that she has performed both Gianetta and Adina in L'elisir d'amore, and Barbarina and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro. In 2002–2003 season she returned to sing the title role in Handel's Partenope.
Recently Ms. Futral performed the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon's Orpheus and Euridice, a song cycle for piano, soprano and clarinet, as part of Great Performers at Lincoln Center. Highlights of past seasons include La traviata with Berlin State Opera; Rigoletto at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona; Elvira in I puritani with the Baltimore Opera; the title role in Daphne with the New York City Opera; Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier with Los Angeles Opera; touring to Japan with the Bayerische Staatsoper as Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro conducted by Zubin Mehta; the Brahms Requiem and Krenek's Die Nachtigall with the San Francisco Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas; Lucia di Lammermoor with Dallas Opera conducted by Richard Bonynge, and with Teatro Municipal in Santiago; and Curley's Wife in Of Mice and Men with Houston Grand Opera. Ms. Futral sang her first performances of Manon under the baton of Emmanuel Joel and Konstanze in a new production of Die Entführung aus dem Serail directed by James Robinson and conducted by the company's music director, Patrick Summers, both with the Houston Grand Opera. She reprised the role in concert performances of this opera with the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Sir Colin Davis. Recitals have included visits to Chicago, Washington, DC, Los Alamos, New Mexico and Philadelphia.
Elizabeth Futral made her New York Philharmonic debut in Mahler's Symphony No. 2 under the direction of Zubin Mehta, has performed in a concert version of Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini with the London Symphony conducted by Sir Colin Davis, and was a guest artist on the 2000 New Year's Eve Gala Concert with the Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of Claudio Abbado released on DVD by Euroarts Music International. The list of distinguished conductors with whom Ms. Futral has collaborated also includes Daniel Barenboim, Evelino Pidò, Edoardo Müller Herbert Blomstedt, Sir André Previn, Leonard Slatkin, and Harry Bicket.
Her most recent recording release was Ricky Ian Gordon's Orpheus and Euridice for Sh-K-Boom Records. Ms. Futral's extensive discography includes Meyerbeer's L'étoile du nord for Marco Polo, Previn's A Streetcar NamedDesire and Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges conducted by Maestro Previn for Deutsche Grammophon and Philip Glass's Hydrogen Jukebox for Euphorbia Records. She has recorded Rossini's Otello and Zelmira, Pacini's Carlo di Borgogna and The Supreme Decorator for Opera Rara, Lucia di Lammermoor and a solo aria recital for Chandos as part of their "Opera in English" series. Ms. Futral can also be heard on Sweethearts, a collection of operetta favorites on Newport Classics. Elizabeth Futral can be seen as Stella in the video of A Streetcar Named Desire on the Kultur label, and has been featured on Live From Lincoln Center and A&E's Breakfast With the Arts.
Georgia Jarman (Violetta)
** performs March 6, 9, 11, 13
"Georgia Jarman nailed each note with glittering precision and high-flying ease, scattering vocal diamonds … audiences roared their delight." – Opera News
Hailed by The New York Times for her "luminous, appealing, and agile voice," and crystalline coloratura, Georgia Jarman's 2009–2010 season includes a return to her acclaimed performances of Violetta in La traviata with Den Nye Opera as well as returns to Florentine Opera for Gilda in Rigoletto, Cincinnati Opera for Musetta in La bohème, Palm Beach Opera for Micaëla in Carmen, Portland Opera for Eurydice in Philip Glass' Orphée and Opera Grand Rapids for Nedda in I pagliacci. She also joins the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for Handel's Messiah and the Portland Symphonic Choir for Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem. She also returns to the roster of the Metropolitan Opera for its production of Il barbiere di Siviglia. Upcoming engagements include the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor for Atlanta Opera, the Three Ladies in Les contes d'Hoffmann with English National Opera and Elettra in Idomeneo for the Florentine Opera.
In the 2008–2009 season, she returned to New Orleans Opera for Violetta in La traviata, Ópera de Colombia for Mimi in La bohème, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for Carmina burana, and the Caramoor Music Festival for Adina in L'elisir d'amore. She also sang further performances of her celebrated characterization of the Three Heroines in Les contes d'Hoffmann with Boston Lyric Opera and in a return to Polish National Opera and Rozenn in Lalo's Le roi d'Ys with the American Symphony Orchestra in her Avery Fisher Hall debut in addition to joining the Metropolitan Opera roster.
A sought-after artist in bel canto repertoire, she has appeared numerous times at Caramoor Music Festival with Will Crutchfield and the Orchestra of St. Luke's including most recently, as Amenaide in Tancredi alongside Ewa Podles. Her previous engagements at the Caramoor Music Festival include her first performances of La traviata as well as the title role in Handel's Deidamia, Norina in Don Pasquale and Amina in La sonnambula. She joined Crutchfield again in her debut with Ópera de Colombia for Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, a role she has also sung with New York City Opera along with Adina in L'elisir d'amore and Portland Opera, and has sung Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi with Florentine Opera and Marie in La fille du régiment also with Florentine Opera and Indianapolis Opera. She made her European debut as Amelia in Gustave III ou Le bal masqué at L'Opéra de Metz in France, following which Opéra International exclaimed, "Georgia Jarman, impeccable singing, velvet timbre, is the most seductive and the most touching Amelie that one could dream of."
The soprano recently joined Polish National Opera, reprising her celebrated performances of Amenaide in Tancredi in addition to Mathilde in Guillaume Tell and the Three Heroines in Les contes d'Hoffmann. Her previous performances with Ópera de Colombia also include Three Heroines in Les contes d'Hoffmann and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. She has been a frequent presence on the stage of New York City Opera for numerous other roles that include Cunegonde in Candide, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, and Mélisande in Dukas' Ariane et Barbe-Bleue. Among her other recent engagements are her first performances of Madame Mao in Nixon in China with Cincinnati Opera, the title role in Thaïs and Violetta in La traviata with Palm Beach Opera, Elisetta in a new production of Il matrimonio segreto directed by Jonathan Miller at Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Mimì in La bohème with New Orleans Opera. She has also joined Dallas Opera for Antonia and Olympia in Les contes d'Hoffmann, Opera Grand Rapids for Violetta in La traviata and Gotham Chamber Opera for Fortuna in Mozart's Il sogno di Scipione. She also sang recent performances of Musetta in La bohème with Robert Spano conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra that were released on the Telarc label.
She received a Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music and her Bachelor of Music from Boston University.
Jonathan Kimple (Baron Douphol)
Bass-baritone Jonathan Kimple most recently partcipated in the Wexford Festival Opera's European premiere of The Golden Ticket by Peter Ash after singing in the world premiere at Opera Theatre of St. Louis this summer. As a Minnesota Opera Resident Artist, Mr. Kimple has sung Nourabad in The Pearl Fishers, the Second Inquisitor and Tartaglia in Casanova's Homecoming, Gualtiero Raleigh in Roberto Devereux, Colline in La bohème and the Second Soldier in Salome. Previously Mr. Kimple was in Portland Opera's Studio Artist Program, where he sang the roles of Giove in Cavalli's La Calisto, Count Ceprano in Rigoletto and the Marchese d'Obigny in La traviata while covering the role of Don Pizarro in Fidelio.
Tom Mays (set designer)
Tom Mays is a local scenic and lighting designer of more than fifty productions and is currently lighting supervisor for the Guthrie Theater. He has designed scenery for Lucrezia Borgia, Rigoletto and La traviata and lighting for The Merry Widow, La bohème and Street Scene for Minnesota Opera. Previous local work includes lighting for The Caretaker, Macbeth and Arsenic and Old Lace (upcoming) and video for Third and Two Gentleman of Verona, Guthrie Theater; Loyce Houlton's Nutcracker Fantasy (2006–2010); Playin' at the Pantages and Orpheus and Euridice for Minnesota Dance Theater; Carmina burana, Columbia Festival of the Arts for Minnesota Dance Theater; Take Me Out, Point of Revue, The Mad Dancers and Messy Utopia for Mixed Blood Theatre; Waiting for Godot, Gate Theatre of Ireland, U.S. Tour.; and scenery for Enchangment, 12 Dancing Princesses and Orpheus and Euridice, Minnesota Dance Theater; and Oedipus el rey for Pangea World Theater (upcoming).
Other engagements include Mary Worth Theatre: History of the Devil; Mixed Blood Theatre: Wait Until Dark; Teatro del Pueblo: A Pueblo Christmas, Don Quixote de la Minny, La Posada, The Camp and Kiss of the Spider Woman; Eye of the Storm: How I Learned to Drive, Mr. X-mas, Santaland Diaries; Teatro Latino: Ni boca ni sangre; New Classic Theatre: All in the Timing, Four Dogs and a Bone; Theatre in the Round: The Rainmaker, Biloxi Blues, Dancing at Lughnasa, All My Sons, Misalliance, Translations, Mrs. Warren's Profession; Theatre Mu: Philipina Sisters, Tale of the Dancing Crane, Circle Around the Island, The Ghosts of Love, Wok Up American Dream and New Eyes Festival; Various theatres: H.M.S. Pinafore, Philadelphia Story, Camelot, Mame, Oklahoma! and Baby.
Mr. Mays designed scenery for Andrei Serban's production of Our Country's Good; La Jolla and re-inaugural of The National Theater of Romania. In San Diego: 101 Dalmatians, The Water Show, I Can't Get Started, Lady Macbeth, Woman in Mind, Molly and Maze, Tartuffe, The Harmattan, The Love of Don Perlimplin, Belisa in the Garden and Black Nativity. As Resident Assistant Designer at the La Jolla Playhouse, he worked in various capacities, including the original video design for the Tony Award winning The Who's Tommy. He has an MFA in Scenic and Lighting Design from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied under Robert Israel and Chris Parry.
Megan McClellan and Brian Stosek (choreographers)
Since joining forces in 2000 (when they created their company Sossy Mechanics), Brian Sostek and Megan McClellan have been creating original work in dance and theater for themselves and a wide range of other companies in the Twin Cities. They have toured their full-length shows Trick Boxing and Pieces of Eight across Canada, and in the United States, England, Scotland and the Czech Republic, and have performed an ever-expanding repertoire of duets at various venues. Locally, they have written, directed and performed in productions for other companies, most recently Cinderella Redux (Beyond Ballroom Dance Co.) and Le Dance Off: Dance N America (James Sewell Ballet). They have choreographed numerous musicals including Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (with Jamie Rocco, Ordway), Carousel and Man of La Mancha (Nautilus Music Theater), The Pajama Game (Mixed Blood Theater), Cabaret (University of Minnesota) and The Coconuts (Illusion Theater); served as movement coaches for The Government Inspector (Guthrie Theater); created slapstick and mayhem for Miss Richfield 1981; and set pieces on dancers ranging from Juilliard-bound high school students at Summit School of Dance to members of the St. Paul Winter Carnival Royal Court to the Zenon Dance Company.
Daniel Montenegro (Alfredo)
** performs March 6, 9, 11, 13
Tenor Daniel Montenegro, a Southern California native, is currently appearing as a Thug in Los Angeles Opera's world premiere production of Daniel Catán's Il Postino. He most recently performed Nemorino in L'elisir d'amore with the Merola Opera Program in San Francisco, and appeared at the Sydney Festival as the Shepherd in Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex under Joana Carneiro, directed by Peter Sellers. He made his San Francisco Opera debut last season as Roderigo in Otello. His many appearances with Los Angeles Opera have included Gastone in La traviata (released on Decca DVD), Maximino Mendez in the world premiere of Lee Holdridge's Concierto para Mendez and El Dancaïro in Carmen, a role he also performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2008 at the Hollywood Bowl. He has also appeared in the Los Angeles Opera productions of L'incoronazione di Poppea, Luisa Fernanda, Il tabarro and Die Gezeichneten. He has performed the Steersman in Der fliegende Holländer with both Portland Opera and Arizona Opera. He is a former Resident Artist at the Minnesota Opera, where he performed Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Nick in The Handmaid's Tale, Flavio in Norma and Liverotto in Lucrezia Borgia. He is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Angela Mortellaro (Annina)
Soprano Angela Mortellaro joins the Minnesota Opera's Resident Artist program in 2010–2011, singing the roles of Amore in Orpheus and Eurydice, Clorinda in Cinderella, Annina in La traviata and the Offstage Voice in Wuthering Heights. Last season, Ms. Mortellaro sang the role of Gretel in Hansel and Gretel with both PORTOpera and Sarasota Opera. Last summer, she was a Chautauqua Opera Apprentice Artist, performing the roles of Edith in The Pirates of Penzance and Anna Gomez in The Consul. For Orlando Opera Company, she sang Sister Genovieffa in Suor Angelica, Sally in Die Fledermaus and Clorinda in La Cenerentola. The soprano also appeared as Clorinda for Aspen Opera Theatre as well as Frasquita in its production of Carmen. Internationally, she has performed Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro for Operafestival di Roma.
Ms. Mortellaro has a master of music degree in vocal performance from Rice University (Houston, Texas), where she sang Diana in La Calisto, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Sandrina in La finta giardiniera and the Governess in The Turn of the Screw. She completed her bachelor of music degree at the University of Wisconsin (Whitewater).
Michael Nyby (Marchese d'Obigny)
Baritone Michael Nyby returns to the Minnesota Opera's Resident Artist Program for a second season. Previously, he has been a part of the prestigious Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Artist program, and has sung Moralès in Carmen for Vancouver Opera and Figaro in The Barber of Barkerville for Vancouver Opera in schools. For Burnaby Lyric Opera, Mr. Nyby also has performed Haly in The Italian Girl in Algiers and the title roles of Don Giovanni and Il barbiere di Siviglia for the European Music Academy of Teplice.
Mr. Nyby holds a master's degree in opera from the University of British Columbia, where he has sung the roles of Ford in Falstaff, Falke in Die Fledermaus and Cascada in The Merry Widow. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Ithaca College, performing such roles Cascada, David in A Hand of Bridge, the Secret Police Agent in The Consul and Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte. He also appeared as Pinellino in Gianni Schicchi for the Ithaca Opera Company. For the Minnesota Opera's 2009–2010 season, Mr. Nyby appeared as the Montebank in Casanova's Homecoming, the Page in Roberto Devereux, Schaunard in La bohème and the Fifth Jew in Salome. He returns to sing Lord Cecil in Mary Stuart and the Marchese d'Obigny in La traviata.
Stephen Powell (Giorgio Germont)
The dynamic American baritone Stephen Powell brings his handsome voice, elegant musicianship, and robust stage presence to a wide range of music, from Monteverdi and Handel through Verdi and Puccini to Sondheim and John Adams. Opera magazine has hailed him, writing "the big news was Stephen Powell's gorgeously-sung Onegin: rock solid, with creamy legato from top to bottom and dynamics smoothly tapered but never exaggerated," while The Wall Street Journal lauded his "rich, lyric baritone, commanding presence and thoughtful musicianship."
Stephen Powell's 2010–2011 season currently includes Germont in La traviata with Minnesota Opera; De Guiche in Alfano's Cyrano de Bergerac with San Francisco Opera; Scarpia in Tosca with Palm Beach Opera, and the title role in Rigoletto with Cincinnati Opera. He also appears as soloist in Brahms Requiem with the St. Louis Symphony under David Robertson; in the Messiah with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra under Christopher Seaman; Fauré's Requiem with the Cincinnati Symphony, Paavo Järvi conducting; in Schoenberg's Gurrelieder with Fondation de Septembre Musical, David Zinman conducting; Rachmaninoff's Spring Cantata with Robert Spano conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and Walton's Belshazzar's Feast with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
In 2009–2010, Stephen Powell appeared as Ford in Falstaff with Pittsburgh Opera; as Uncle John in The Grapes of Wrath with Collegiate Chorale, under Ted Sperling; sang as soloist in Szymanowski's Stabat Mater with Rome's Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Christoph Eschenbach conducting; in the Messiah with Huddersfield Choral Society in England; in Brahms' Requiem with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop conducting; and in Carmina burana with Cincinnati Symphony, Paavo Jarvi conducting. He also sang the role of Scarpia in Tosca with the Minnesota Orchestra; appeared in recital with his wife, soprano Barbara Shirvis, through Highland Park United Methodist Church. Church; and as soloist in an opera gala concert with North Carolina Symphony Orchestra.
In the 2008–2009 season, he sang as Germont in La traviata and Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, both with Los Angeles Opera, also as Germont with San Francisco Opera and New Orleans Opera. On concert stages he sang as soloist in Carmina burana with both the Phoenix Symphony and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra; Messiah with Baltimore Symphony; in Brahms' Requiem and Dvorák's Te Deum, both with Cathedral Choral Society; Mahler's Symphony No. 8 with Tonhalle-Orchestre Zurich (recorded for the Sony/BMG label); Mahler's Das klagende Lied with the Philadelphia Orchestra; Brahms' Requiem with San Diego Symphony; Haydn's The Creation with the Rochester Philharmonic; Verdi's Requiem with the Mendelssohn Club at Verizon Hall in Philadelphia; and as Miller in Luisa Miller at the Cincinnati May Festival, James Conlon conducting. He also performed in recital with his wife in a program entitled "American Celebration." In summer, 2009 he sang as soloist in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in a return to Baltimore Symphony.
Mr. Powell's most recent successes include his San Francisco Opera debut as Sharpless; Ford in Falstaff with New York City Opera; Riccardo in I puritani with Washington Concert Opera; Germont with Arizona Opera; Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Hawaii Opera Theatre; singing as soloist in Carmina burana with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and at the Aspen Music Festival; and in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Rossen Milanov at the Mann Music Center and at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.
Following his last-minute substitution debut with New York City Opera as the title role in Hindemith's Mathis der Maler, he has returned to the company to perform the title role in Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Enrico in a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor, and Zurga in a new production of Les pêcheurs de perles. He has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera as Ping in Turandot and Shchelkalov in Boris Godunov, and with Glimmerglass Opera as Ford in Falstaff and Malatesta in Don Pasquale. Other roles which have earned Mr. Powell critical acclaim include the title role in Eugene Onegin, Escamillo in Carmen, Count in Le nozze di Figaro, Marcello in La bohème, the title role in Sweeney Todd, Valentin in Faust, the title role in Don Giovanni, and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with such companies as Lyric Opera of Chicago, L'Opéra de Montréal, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Florida Grand Opera, Utah Opera, Opera Cleveland, Florentine Opera, Arizona Opera, San Diego Opera, Kentucky Opera, and Portland Opera, among others.
Mr. Powell has sung under the distinguished batons of Andrew Litton, Robert Spano, Charles Dutoit, Leonard Slatkin, Edo de Waart, Grant Llewellyn, Antony Walker, Carlos Kalmar, David Zinman, Rossen Milanov and Michael Tilson Thomas. He created the role of Felipe Nuñez in the world premiere of The Conquistador with San Diego Opera, and performed and recorded Bach's Magnificat with Boston Baroque.
An avid recitalist, Stephen Powell made his first recital appearance with New York Festival of Song, with Steven Blier at the piano. He subsequently performed at Weill Recital Hall singing Lee Hoiby's song cycle I Was There: Five Poems of Walt Whitman, with the composer at the piano. He now performs frequently with his wife, soprano Barbara Shirvis, in three recital programs they created together: "Hearts Afire: Love Songs Through the Ages", "Bellissimo Broadway!", and "American Celebration." They also give master classes at universities across the USA. Mr. Powell is an alumnus of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Center for American Artists.
Bruno Ribeiro (Alfredo)
* performs March 5, 8, 10, 12
Bruno Ribeiro was born in Portugal, where he started his studies at the National Music Conservatoire of Lisbon. He then studied with Maestro George Kok in Pretoria and later with Emma Renzi in Johannesburg. There, he sang Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Alfredo in La traviata and Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia.
Bruno came back to Europe and began to participate in a series of competitions in Italy, where he has lived up to now, and other countries like Operalia in Madrid, Bidu Sayao in Brasil, Enrico Caruso in Milano, Luisa Todi in Portugal, Marmandes in France, Ester Mazzoleni in Palermo, Vinas in Barcelona, always placing himself amongst the winners.
Bruno made his professional debut in a production of Don Giovanni singing the role of Don Ottavio at Michigan Opera Theater and later at Teatro Regio Torino. He sang his first Nemorino at the Teatro Rendano di Cosenza, Teatro Cilea di Reggio Calabria and Teatro Comunale di Catanzaro.
In 2007, he performed Arlecchino in I pagliacci conducted by Maestro Bruno Bartoletti at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genova and was engaged to sing the role of Ismaele in Nabucco for the St. Margarethen Opera Festival.
Bruno Ribeiro has also enjoyed a busy concert activity, with performances of the Coronation Mass/Mozart in Bari, Stabat mater/Rossini in Rome, Vespri Sicilianii/Mozart in Reggio Calabria, as well as recital appearances.
In 2008, Mr. Ribeiro sang in several concerts in the United Kingdom and Italy and at Teatro Sao Carlos in Lisboa, as well as Narraboth in Strauss' Salome at the Teatro Regio di Torino, his first Alvaro in La forza del destino in the United Kingdom and at PARMA Corsaro Belcanto Opera and Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia at FestivalOpera in Firenze.
During the 2008–2009 he was singing Corrado in Verdi's Il corsaro at the Verdi Festival of Parma in Busseto, a concert in Parma and Gennaro in Lucrezia Borgia at Staatsoper München, Don Carlos at Belcanto Opera in United Kingdom and Ismaele in Nabucco at Mai Festspiele in Wiesbaden.
In the 2009–2010 season, he had contracts for Nabucco in Parma at the Verdi Festival, a Galaconcert in Toronto, Roberto Devereux in Minnesota, Tebaldo in I Capuleti ed I Montecchi in Dublin and Cavaradossi in Tosca at Belcanto Festival in United Kingdom.
For the 2010–2011 season, Mr. Ribeiro returns to Minnesota as Alfredo in La traviata. He will be heard at the Festspiele Klosterneuburg as Don José in Carmen, at the Wexford Festival as Icilio in Mercadante's Virginia, in Bilbao as Corrado in Il corsaro, in St. Gallen as des Grieux in a new production of Massenet's Manon and in Lille as Malcolm in Macbeth.
Clinton Smith (assistant conductor)
†† conducts March 13
Clinton Smith returns to the Minnesota Opera for a third season as assistant/cover conductor and chorusmaster, making his debut conducting a performance of La traviata. He has been the cover conductor and chorusmaster for productions of Il trovatore, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Faust, The Adventures of Pinocchio, Il barbiere di Sivilglia, Les pêcheurs de perles, Casanova's Homecoming, Roberto Devereux, La bohème, Salome, Orfeo ed Euridice, La Cenerentola, Maria Stuarda, La traviata and Wuthering Heights with The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Minnesota Opera Orchestra. Recently, Clinton conducted Madama Butterfly for Hamline University and a workshop of Kevin Puts' commissioned opera Silent Night for the Minnesota Opera's New Works Initiative. In May 2011, he will be a staff conductor for the Canadian Operatic Arts Academy and this summer, Clinton will work for San Francisco Opera's Merola Program as assistant conductor/chorus master for Il barbiere di Siviglia.
Victoria Vargas (Flora)
Mezzo-soprano Victoria Vargas completed her master of music degree from Manhattan School of Music this past May, where she appeared as Euryclée in Fauré's Pénélope, and the Beggar and Mrs. Peachum in The Beggar's Opera. Other credits include Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro for Ash Lawn Opera and Martina Arroyo's Prelude to Performance; the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, the title role in Carmen and Dorabella in Così fan tutte for Hillman Opera; Madame Armfeldt in A Little Night Music for Lyric Arts International; and Miss Todd in The Old Main and the Thief for Fredonia Opera Theater.
Ms. Vargas has been a young artist at Sarasota Opera, where she covered the role of Mamma Lucia in Cavalleria rusticana. She covered the same role at Chautauqua Opera last summer, won the opera company's Guild Studio Artist Award and has been invited back as an Apprentice Artist, where she will perform Laura in Luisa Miller and the Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte. For her first season as a Minnesota Opera Resident Artist, Ms. Vargas will sing Tisbe in Cinderella, Anna in Mary Stuart, Flora in La traviata and Nelly in Wuthering Heights.
With Rigoletto and Il trovatore, La traviata completes Giuseppe Verdi's trio of popular middle-period works that rapidly would make his name synonymous with Italian opera. These operas evolved at a crucial point in Verdi's personal life. Just a few years earlier we find the composer deeply submerged in his "galley years," managing to produce two to three operas per year, in accordance with the insatiable demands of the Italian theater industry of the era. Although he had made a name for himself with works such as Nabucco, Ernani and Macbeth, he still did not have the degree of financial independence he desired. Yet La traviata, written in tandem with Il trovatore during the winter of 1852–1853, would be the last of these operas written in relatively quick succession.
Back in 1847, Verdi had just completed Macbeth and was heading to London to stage his eleventh opera, I masnadieri. On his return he stopped in Paris to negotiate his first work for the Paris Opéra, a French translation and adaptation of his earlier opera I Lombardi. He also reconnected with Giuseppina Strepponi, who had gone to Paris the previous fall to establish herself as a voice teacher. She and Verdi had become acquainted during the production of Verdi's first opera, Oberto, in which she was to sing the leading role. Though this engagement fell through, Strepponi would return to Milan to create the role of Abigaille in Verdi's third (and first truly successful) opus, Nabucco. Already a skilled Donizettian soprano knowledgeable in the theater business, she was useful in advising and advancing the young composer's career. They began a romantic liaison that reignited during Verdi's Paris trip. There he would remain as the couple lived together openly in the city's more permissive climate.
print background notes
The Operas of Verdi. Volume Two: Il trovatore to La forza del destino.
Alexandre Dumas fils
The Lady of the Camellias.
Nicholas John (editor)
English National Opera Guide No. 5: La traviata.
Nicholas John (editor)
Violetta and Her Sisters: The Lady of the Camellias: Responses to the Myth.
Verdi: A Biography.
The Complete Operas of Verdi.
Fabbricini, Alagna, Coni
Cotrubas, Domingo, Milnes
Sills, Gedda, Panerai
Krause, Ramiro, Braga; Rahbari
Callas, Kraus, Sereni
To Learn More …
A class devoted to La traviata will be held on Monday, February 7, 2011 from 7:00–9:00 p.m. at the Minnesota Opera Center. The discussion will be led by Minnesota Opera's assistant conductor, Dr. Clinton Smith.