Opera Omaha presents La Traviata

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October 4th, 2012

Omaha, NE – Big Opera is back in Omaha, ready to show audiences the transformative power of true love.

Listen to the full interview with Joseph Resigno, conductor, and James de Blasis, Director of Opera Omaha’s La Traviata:

Part One

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Part Two

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Opera Omaha opens its new season with one of the most popular works by one of the most popular opera composers, Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata. Conductor Joseph Rescigno says Verdi’s overwhelming number of popular works makes him an audience favorite. “Verdi wrote so many wonderful operas and so many popular operas, just by the sheer numbers, he’s like Richard Rodgers,” Rescigno said.

Meanwhile, Stage Director James de Blasis says Verdi’s popularity is partly related to the subject matter of his operas – themes that reflect the personality of the man himself. “Verdi was a man of the people, and he was a quasi politician, and he was very popular with people,” de Blasis added.

Opera Omaha will present La Traviata Oct. 5 and 7 at the Orpheum Theater.

Both agree that Verdi’s own transformation contributed to his widespread popularity. He started off writing standard Italian opera and then grew as a composer to reach audiences around the world. “Verdi was sort of the inheritor from Bellini to Donizetti to Verdi,” de Blasis said. “He wrote a lot in the style of Bel Canto, because he came out of that school. Then, suddenly, he starts to put more twists in, and he became more universal.”

Verdi’s style wasn’t the only thing he transformed. His characters often undergo a change of heart. In La Traviata, the plot revolves around two lovers who could hardly be more different – the young and naive Alfredo and the sophisticated courtesan Violetta. Inna Dukach, who plays Violetta, said the men her character encounters don’t appreciate her for who she is, only what she is. However, Alfredo is different. He loves Violetta for herself.

“She doesn’t even know what to do with him – he loves her,” Dukach said. “And she’s sort of shocked by that, ‘That’s ridiculous, what do you even mean? Love Passes, it’s gone.’ And he shows her really true love for the first time.”

That love transforms Violetta, but it also leads to calamity. “Through that love she becomes a different person,” Dukach said. “The tragedy, of course, is that because she finds true love, and learns to love truly and to be loved, she sacrifices herself for him and for that love.”

Joshua Kohl, who plays Alfredo, says his character also undergoes a transformation. “Experiencing that bitter loss and the pain of that loss with leads to jealousy of her being with another man,” he said, “and then gaining the knowledge that she does in fact still love him, experiencing the loss of her after finally reconciling.”
“He has gained the experience of having loved and lost.”

Opera Omaha stages Verdi’s La Traviata Friday, October 5, at 7:30PM and Sunday, October 7, at 2:00PM. All performances are in the Orpheum Theatre.

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