March 06, 2019
Lyric Welcomes A Brilliant New Tenor for LA TRAVIATA
A Russian soprano, a Serbian baritone, and an Italian tenor will grace La traviata when Verdi’s exquisite romance returns to Lyric this month. Albina Shagimuratova (Violetta) and Željko Lučić (Germont) are great favorites with Lyric audiences, and Giorgio Berrugi (Alfredo) is making one of the 2018/19 season’s most eagerly awaited company debuts.
Giorgio has the unusual distinction of creating a major international career as a singer after having enjoyed another career previously, as a brilliant clarinetist. He won numerous competitions and was the first clarinet of the Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma until 2007, when he began to study voice. His operatic debut came less than a year later in what has become his signature role, Rodolfo in La bohème, in Venice. After spending three years at Dresden’s prestigious Semperoper, he went freelance and launched a meteoric rise to fame. Today he’s a star of La Scala, Covent Garden, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, San Francisco Opera, and many other major houses.
Giorgio’s gleaming voice, instinctive musicality, and endearing personality have delighted critics everywhere. When he was featured as Gabriele in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra at the venerable Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Jenny Camillieri on Bachtrack praised his “heart-on-sleeve ardency, his tone bright and full-bodied,” along with Giorgio’s “genuinely Italianate phrasing and ringing high notes. Adorno should seethe magnificently in his jealousy aria...and that is what Berrugi did.”
You can expect a glorious partnership between Giorgio and Albina, whose Lyric performances as the heroines of Rigoletto, Lucia di Lammermoor, and I puritani have had critics searching for new superlatives. When she recently introduced her portrayal of Rossini’s Semiramide at the BBC Proms concerts in London, Opera Todayhailed “her combination of stage presence, vocal pyrotechnics and expressive abandon….She was utterly in command of both coloratura and style.”
Željko, singing his third Verdi role at Lyric (he previously starred as Rigoletto and Nabucco), is one of today’s greatest Verdi interpreters. When he recently returned to the Opéra National de Paris for La traviata, Forum Opéra hailed his portrayal of Germont “not just for the beauty of a shimmering timbre, but because he is the most stylish of anyone in the cast. Here is someone who has closely and exactly observed all the nuances indicated by Verdi.”
In Arin Arbus’s revelatory staging, conducted by the brilliantly gifted Michael Christie in his Lyric debut, and of course, with a trio of world-renowned stars onstage, La traviata is sure to be a magical, unforgettably romantic production.