Experience Verdi’s “La Traviata”

New Semi-Staged Production Streaming on June 5

How do you stage an opera that’s a love story without the characters making any physical contact? That was stage director Robert Neu’s challenge when Carl St.Clair contacted him last winter about collaborating on a production of Verdi’s “La Traviata” that takes into account the complicated covid-19 protocols necessary to perform during this unprecedented time.

Neu explains in his director’s note that he decided to “capitalize on the psychological journey of these three fascinating characters. You will see each character relive his/her tragic past is his/her own mind.”

Music Director Carl St.Clair directs a socially distanced Pacific Symphony and a cast that includes the Mexican-American soprano and “rising star” (Opera News) Cecilia Violetta López as Violetta Valéry; the award-winning American tenor John Riesen as Alfredo Germont; and Metropolitan Opera house favorite, baritone Jeffrey Mattsey as Giorgio Germont. Twelve cameras filmed the semi-staged opera in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall stage.

This “La Traviata,” one of the first to be designed and directed specifically with the safety of performers integrated into every element of the production from blocking to filming, will be broadcast online Sat., June 5 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 for 28-day household access. For more information or to buy tickets, visit PacificSymphony.org/Traviata.


About the Cast:

Cecilia Violetta López (Violetta Valéry)
“López is as compelling a Violetta as I’ve seen. As the consumptive courtesan, who, for the purest of reasons, is compelled to relinquish her true love, only ultimately to die in his arms. López managed to infuse every gesture, even in her most consumptive paroxysm, with suggestive sexuality. Her voice, big and rich over its entire range, is remarkably agile for its size and as focused when she sings quietly as it is when she just lets it go. Her ‘Sempre Libera’ was as convincingly radiant and joyful as her ‘Addio del Passato’ was sad and wistful.”—The Washington Post

John Riesen (Alfredo Germont)
“John Riesen has opera’s Emotional Boy, Alfredo, firmly in hands. He is desperately in love and his heart is on his sleeve for the entire opera…Riesen is note-perfect and powerful in his solos, an impressive tenor with dramatics to match. He gains power as the performance continues until his icy public confrontation with his lost love at her firend’s soirée.“—Naples Daily News

Jeffrey Mattsey (Giorgio Germont)
“Jeff Mattsey proved a suave, even charming interpreter of the title role, musically secure and with playful intelligence. Nor did the singer shy away from Giovanni’s ugly side.”—The Salt Lake Tribune

Robert Neu (Stage Director)
Known for his highly theatrical and musically sensitive work, Robert Neu has directed over one hundred productions of operas, musicals and plays throughout the country. Neu’s recent productions include “The Magic Flute” and “L’Enfant et les sortileges” for Pacific Symphony, among many others.

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