A Taste of Traviata
November 13, 2020
A Taste of Traviata highlights Guiseppe Verdi’s opera, La Traviata, and follows Violetta Valery.A consumptive young courtesan who wants to leave her life of revelry, Violetta decides to live her final days devoted to one man, Alfredo Germont. Alfredo’s genuine love rejuvenates Violetta’s health until Alfredo’s father visits and convinces her to forsake Alfredo and return to her former life. OWR Presents: A Taste of Traviata, with its familiar music and powerful story, will take advantage of the film medium, highlighting Stambaugh’s world-class acoustics and awe-inspiring beauty in a new and inventive way. It will be sung in the original Italian with English sub titles. A Taste of Traviata will also feature fascinating behind-the-scenes extras, and educational material perfect for the whole family.
The Fall 2020 Opera Western Reserve performance was presented digitally.
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Act I Scene 1
A party at the lavish mansion of Violetta Valéry, a wealthy and famous Parisian Courtesan. The young outsider, Alfredo Germont catches the attention of his hostess with a toast to love and pleasure.
Act I Scene 2
Later at the party, a coughing spell led Violetta to seek solitude. Her illness is taking a toll and her complexion grows paler by the day. Concerned for her well being, Alfredo encourages Violetta to leave the fast-paced life that is leading to her physical decline. He professes his earnest love for her.
Act I Scene 3
After the party guests have departed, Violetta reflects on Alfredo’s words. She confronts her illness, lifestyle, and freedom, while She hears Alfredo singing from outside her window.
Act I Scene 4
Violetta has abandoned Parisian society choosing a more simple life in the country. Alfredo revels in the pleasure of their new life together.
Act I Scene 5
Violetta’s friend Flora has sent an invitation to a grand party, but Violetta is no longer interested in that society. Violetta has been selling off her property for financial support since leaving her Courtesan lifestyle. Expecting a business associate regarding a real estate transaction, she is instead greeted by Alfredo’s father, Giorgio Germont. His daughter is to be married soon, but the family of his daughter’s fiancée disapproves of Alfredo’s scandalous relationship with Violetta. Germont is intent on changing the situation But he is surprised to learn the truth about Violetta.
Act I Scene 6
Violetta has acquiesced to Giorgio’s plea. She decides to accept Flora’s invitation to join the party and asks her housekeeper, Annina to send the RSVP. She then writes a goodbye letter to Alfredo. Alfredo discovers Violetta in the garden. She evades his questions and after professing her unending love for him, she runs off. Alfredo reads Violetta’s goodbye letter and is distraught. Giorgio returns to offer consolation and implores Alfredo to return to his home and to his family.
Act II Scene 1
Alfredo has crashed the party. After embarrassing Violetta’s current lover, The Baron Douphol, in a game of cards, Violetta asks Alfredo for a moment alone. Alfredo begs Violetta to come away with him. She refuses, falsely claiming to love the Baron. Alfredo insults Violetta by throwing the money he has just won at her as payment for her Courtesan services.
Act II Scene 2
Months later, Violetta is destitute and near death. She has received a letter from Giorgio explaining that Alfredo fled after wounding the Baron in a duel, but that he is returning after learning of Violetta’s sacrifice. Violetta confronts her mortality while she clings to life and hope. Dr. Grenvil checks on Violetta and informs Annina that she has little time to live. Alfredo returns and soon after Giorgio arrives as well, but they are too late.
Mexican Soprano Karen Barraza made her debut with New Orleans Opera as Gilda in Rigoletto in 2019. This season she is engaged to debut Carnegie Hall with a performance of Poulenc’s Gloria and to debut the role of Mimi at Charlottesville Opera. The soprano is a 2017 graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts. While at AVA, Karen performed the role of Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto, directed by Tito Capobianco. Additional roles at AVA include Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohème, Elvira in Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri, and Poussette in Massenet’s Manon. Prior to the Academy of Vocal Arts Ms. Barraza attended Taller de Ópera de Sinaloa, where she performed the role of Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto. Other roles performed include Juliette in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, and Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with Teatro Pablo de Villavicencio. In vocal competitions, Ms. Barraza has earned many accolades. In 2017 she received the Bellas Artes Award Concurso Nacional de Canto Morelli, which also includes a future debut at Teatro de Bellas Artes. In 2016, the soprano received an Encouragement Award in the Giulio Gari Foundation, along with First Prize in the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation International Vocal Competition. 2015 awards included an Encouragement Award in the Giulio Gari Foundation International Vocal Competition, in addition to the Artistic Society of Sinaloa Fellowship. In 2014, the soprano garnered the Pepita Serrano Prize in the Carlo Morelli Singing Competition, and the Concurso Internacional de Canto Sinaloa Audience Award in the Sinaloa International Singing Competition. Earlier years saw Ms. Barraza awarded the Amigos de La Opera Scholarship, the Semi-Finalist Award in the Carlo Morelli Singing Competition, and the Young Artist Prize in the Sinaloa International Singing Competition.
Hailed as a “buffo with a legitimate voice,” Jason Budd has garnered a reputation for being a consummate singer-actor. Having received accolades for his performances across the United States and Europe, Jason recently made his South American debut with the title role in Verdi’s Falstaff in São Paulo, Brazil. He has also had much success in vocal competitions over the years including wins at the Opera Columbus Competition, the Heinz Rehfuss competition with Orlando Opera, the Mary Jacobs Smith Singer of the Year competition with Shreveport Opera, and the Meistersinger Competition in Graz, Austria, which was broadcast on Austrian television. Recent engagements include performances with the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, Boston Midsummer Opera, Toledo Opera, Fremont Opera in California, Opera Project Columbus, and Cleveland Opera Theater.
Brian Keith Johnson has performed many roles in opera from Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia to Ford in Falstaff. As a member of Actors’ Equity Association, he has also performed a variety of musical theatre roles ranging from Jim in Big River to Father/God in Children of Eden. His concert repertoire includes most of the major baritone works such as Carmina Burana, Elijah, The Verdi Requiem, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, The Brahms Requiem and The Faure’ Requiem. He has performed operatic and musical theatre roles across the United States including performances with the Cleveland Orchestra, Akron Symphony Orchestra, Canton Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, Blossom Festival Orchestra, Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh, Opera Western Reserve, Carolina Master Chorale, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and Porthouse Theatre. Mr. Johnson received his BM Degree from The University of Akron and has also studied abroad at The New Opera Academy of Rome in Rome, Italy and The American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. Brian is currently in his 31st year of teaching music in The Akron Public School System.
Sierra McCorvey (soprano) has been featured with the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Packard Band, and Mahoning Valley Chorale. McCorvey has sung several roles including: Iris in Marc Blitzstein’s The Harpies (Kent State University), Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Così fan tutte (Youngstown State University), The Fairy in Massenet’s Cendrillon, (Youngstown State University), Lily/ Strawberry Woman in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (Cleveland Opera and Opera Western Reserve), 2nd Witch in Verdi’s Macbeth (Opera Western Reserve) and Suor Angelica in Suor Angelica (Youngstown State University). Sierra holds a bachelor’s degree from Youngstown State University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in voice performance with Dr. Misook Yun. When not performing, Sierra enjoys teaching in the community and singing with her church choir at Holy Family Parish in Poland, Ohio.
Mackenzie Whitney is originally from Janesville, Iowa and is gaining recognition nationwide for his expressive lyric tenor voice. He studies with Bill Schuman at the Academy of Vocal Arts where he received his Artist Diploma. He most recently performed with Madison Opera in the role of Rodolfo in La Bohème. Additionally, he performed Rodolfo with both the Lakes Area Music Festival and the Academy of Vocal Arts, for which Philly.com reported “Mackenzie Whitney, who sang Rodolfo, has an appealing lyric tenor voice, his upper tones free and of lovely quality. This role suits him well both vocally and dramatically.” His 2018-2019 season saw the revival of his Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance with Intermountain Opera, Roméo in Roméo et Juliette with Pensacola Opera, joining the Great Falls Symphony in concert, and the Rapides Symphony Orchestra as Alfredo in La Traviata. His 2019-2020 season includes La Bohème with Cleveland Opera Theater, La Traviata with Madison Opera, Roméo et Juliette with Knoxville Opera, and a holiday concert with the Madison Symphony. In the 2017-2018 season, Mackenzie made debuts with San Diego Opera as Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance, Annapolis Opera as Alfredo in La Traviata, returned to Madison Opera as Arcadio in Florencia en el Amazonas, and joined the Glyndebourne Festival as the cover of Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. His 2016-2017 season saw debuts with Hawaii Opera Theatre as Rodolfo in La Bohème, Opera on the James as the Duke in Rigoletto, Utah Opera as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Opera Maine as Alfredo in La Traviata. Engagements for the 2015- 2016 season included Avito in L’amore dei tre re and the title role in Werther at AVA, along with a company debut with Mill City Summer Opera as Anthony in Sweeney Todd and a return to Lakes Area Music Festival to debut the role of Lysander in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Concert appearances included debuts as the Tenor Soloist in Haydn’s Creation and the Tenor Soloist in Dubois’ Seven Last words of Christ. He made his company debut with Des Moines Metro Opera in 2015 as Giovanni in Rappaccini’s Daughter. For this performance, Opera Today reported “young Mackenzie Whitney made a strong case for the infatuated lad with his pliable, impassioned tenor. Throughout the evening, Mr. Whitney revealed fine variety in his declamations, be they defiant, entranced, romantic or delusional, and his handsome figure lent credence to the story. His mezzo forte caressed some key phrases with creamy tone”. At AVA, Mr. Whitney performed Rodolfo (La Bohème), the title role in Faust, Des Grieux (Manon) and Ferrando (Così fan tutte). Other roles performed include Tamino (The Magic Flute) Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) and Alfred (Die Fledermaus). In addition, he was the tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah, the Mozart Requiem, and the Brahms Liebeslieder Waltzes. He was awarded the encouragement award in the Philadelphia District of the 2013 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and was granted an Encouragement Award from the Gerda Lissner Competition. He has participated in young artists programs at Opera New Jersey, Central City Opera, and Oberlin in Italy and holds an Artist Diploma from the Academy of Vocal Arts and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Northern Iowa.
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