Verdi’s La traviata will be performed by the Wolf Trap Opera Company for one night only, Friday, July 19 at 8:15 pm at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts. Grant Gershon conducts the National Symphony Orchestra and José María Condemi directs this new, fully-staged production; both artists are making their Wolf Trap debuts. Gershon is the Music Director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Resident Conductor of LA Opera; Condemi is the Artistic Director of Opera Santa Barbara and is well-known for his directorial accomplishments at some of the most well-respected opera houses in North America, including San Francisco Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago. Joining in the production is the Washington Chorus, under the direction of Julian Wachner.
This new production features site specific video projections of original scenic designs created by Aaron Rhyne. Costumes and sets will be by Anka Lupes, and lighting will be designed by returning artist Mark Stanley. The production will be set in the Roaring Twenties, and will be sung in Italian with English supertitles.
La traviata was last produced at Wolf Trap in 1976, in a performance that featured renowned soprano Beverly Sills in the title role. During this time, established professionals sang the leading roles in Wolf Trap Opera Company productions and young artists sang in the chorus. Since 1985, all leading roles have been performed by the Filene Young Artists, an elite group of young singers who are chosen through a highly-selective annual nationwide audition tour.
This year’s production was made possible in part through generous philanthropic support from Wolf Trap Foundation Board member Daniel D’Aniello and his wife, Gayle, as well as through the generosity of other loyal Wolf Trap Opera Company supporters.
“After nearly four decades, we are delighted to bring this treasured opera back to the Filene Center with generous support for our internationally renowned young opera program,” said Arvind Manocha, President and CEO, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts.
For this production, the lead role of Violetta is played by returning Filene Young Artist, soprano Corinne Winters. Earlier this year, London’s Sunday Times named her “The best ENO Violetta in decades and worth the ticket price alone.” A native of Frederick, Maryland, Winters received training from the Academy of Vocal Arts, the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Gerdine Young Artist Program, and the Peabody Conservatory. Her recent roles include Violetta (La traviata, Opera Hong Kong, English National Opera, Opera Lyra Ottawa) and Vendulka (The Kiss, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis). Last summer she sang the role of Anne Truelove in WTOC’s production of The Rake’s Progress.
Benjamin Bliss, tenor, will perform the role of Alfredo Germont. Bliss hails from Prairie Village, Kansas and received training from Chapman University and the Los Angeles Opera Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program. His recent roles include Aguilar (Dulce Rosa, LA Opera), Male Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia, LA Opera YAP), and Barbargio (I due Foscari, LA Opera).
Nicholas Pallesen, baritone, will sing the role of Giorgio Germont. Pallesen is from Riverside, California. He received training from Juilliard Opera Center, Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Gerdine Young Artist Program, and the University of Florida. His recent roles include Rigoletto (Rigoletto, Shreveport Opera), Pluto (Orpheus, New York City Opera), and Robert Storch (Intermezzo, New York City Opera).
Based on the novel La Dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas, fils, La traviata (“The Woman Gone Astray”) tells a story of passion, second chances, and heartbreak. Violetta Valéry, a fashionable courtesan recovering from a recent illness, allows herself to love the ardent young Alfredo Germont, leaving her former life to live with him in the country. His father, the upstanding Giorgio Germont, knows that allowing Alfredo to continue in a relationship with a woman of Violetta’s previous reputation would ruin his entire family. Tragedy ensues as Violetta makes a sacrifice for her lover’s family, even as she succumbs to her illness.
A Pre-Performance Discussion by Lee Anne Myslewski, Director, Artistic Administration, Wolf Trap Opera & Classical Programming, will be offered one hour before performance time on the Old Farmhouse Lawn, which is located to the left of the main gate/box office area for the Filene Center.
Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave
Friday, July 19 at 8:15 pm
Wolf Trap Opera Company and National Symphony Orchestra
Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
Conductor – Grant Gershon*
Director – José Maria Condemi*
Projections Design – Aaron Rhyne*
Costume & Scenic Design – Anka Lupes*
Lighting Design – Mark Stanley
Violetta Valéry – Corinne Winters
Alfredo Germont – Benjamin Bliss*
Giorgio Germont – Nicholas Pallesen*
Annina – Courtney Johnson
Flora Bervoix – Alexandra Rodrick
Gastone – Miles Mykkanen*
Giuseppe – Brandon Russell*
Baron Douphol – Harry Greenleaf*
Marquis d’Obigny – Brian Vu
Doctor Grenville – Nicholas Brownlee*
The Washington Chorus, Julian Wachner, Director