Lyric Opera of Chicago

La Traviata opens tonight, November 20

For Immediate Release:
November 23, 2013

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new production of Giuseppe Verdi’s immortal romantic tragedy – performed uncut!
La Traviata
opens tonight – Wednesday, November 20 
10 performances through Dec. 20 
Marina Rebeka, Joseph Calleja, Quinn Kelsey
Massimo Zanetti/conductor, Arin Arbus/director

What’s it like to be the most beautiful, most desired young woman who throws the wildest parties in all of Paris – and to be losing your life just as true love finally finds you? Welcome to the glittering, dark, hope-filled, doomed world of the Parisian demimonde, where the romantic tragedy of Verdi’s La Traviata takes place.

It’s one of the most popular operas of all time. La Traviata tells the story of the crème-de-la-crème Parisian courtesan with a noble heart, the impetuous young man from the provinces who loves her, and how bourgeois values and cruel fate conspire against them.

Soprano Marina Rebeka (Lyric debut) portrays the ill-fated heroine, Violetta Valéry. Tenor Joseph Calleja is her lover, Alfredo Germont. And baritone Quinn Kelsey (a Ryan Opera center alumnus) is Alfredo’s father, Giorgio, who persuades Violetta to give up her lover for the sake of his family’s respectability.

Massimo Zanetti returns to conduct Lyric’s new production, with director Arin Arbus,costume designer Cait O’Connor, lighting designer Marcus Doshi, and choreographer Austin McCormick making their Lyric debuts. The set designer is Riccardo Hernandez, and the chorus master is Michael Black.

For the first time in Lyric history, La Traviata is being performed uncut, with all arias, duets, and cabaletta verses performed in their entirety. This is the 14th season at Lyric in which this opera has been presented.

“Because we’re presenting a brand-new production and have a conductor and director who are enthusiastic about exploring the opportunities offered by doing the score complete, we are giving our audiences the chance to hear something very rare,” says Lyric general director Anthony Freud. “Performing the complete score strengthens and deepens Verdi’s masterly characterizations, intensifying the relationships between the characters and the motives for their reactions.” He also notes that “having the story interpreted by a female director is significant. It’s important to remember that La Traviata was the first contemporary opera, conceived by Verdi and his librettist as taking place in the time of its audience, rather than in an earlier era.”

Set in 1865, shortly after Verdi composed La Traviata, the production abounds with color and texture – extravagant gowns, outlandish coiffures, party scenes that costume designer Cait O’Connor describes as “Victorian going for Baroque.” Scenic elements include oversized bulls’ heads, skeletons, Spanish lace, iridescent wings, colored paper lanterns – plenty to engage and intrigue the eye as well as the ear.

For tickets call (312) 827-5600 or go to

The new Lyric Opera production of La Traviata is generously made possible by the Julius Frankel Foundation in honor of Nelson D. Cornelius, Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson, Sylvia Neil and Daniel Fischel, and Helen and Sam Zell. It is a coproduction of Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, and Canadian Opera Company.