Perhaps the most well-known of Giuseppe Verdi’s works is La Traviata, a three-act opera about Violetta, the sophisticated leading lady who has no choice but to give up the love of her life.
As part of its 2012 U.S. Winter Tour, touring company Teatro Lirico D’Europa will again visit the state and perform the famous production for Opera New Hampshire on Sunday, Feb. 5, at the Palace Theatre. The European company was founded in 1988 by the late Yves Josse, a ballerino and French arts promoter, and Giorgio Lalov, a Bulgarian opera singer. To date, Teatro Lirico D’Europa has completed 12 consecutive seasons of U.S. tours and given more than 4,000 performances worldwide.
Opera NH executive director Faith Wilson says the opera will be performed in Italian with English surtitles.
“It is real, live old-fashioned opera at its best,” said Wilson, who has worked for Opera NH for the past two years.
Wilson describes La Traviata as a “glamorous and heartfelt portrait of a worldly coursan,” complete with drama, love, family discord and selfless sacrifice.
“The score itself is very memorable and passionate,” Wilson said. “It’s something people will recognize. It’s one of the most irresistible operas.”
Teatro Lirico D’Europa, comprising roughly 60 performers, is no stranger to Opera NH or the Palace Theatre, where Opera NH’s two yearly performances are held. The group has performed Verdi’s Rigoletto and Aida, as well as Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca, Georges Bizet’s Carmen and more for Opera NH. Its soloists hail from countries including Bulgaria, Russia, Czech Republic, Italy, Germany and the U.S. The company will resume its tour in Europe this spring after its U.S. winter tour.
People attend opera for different reasons, said company director Jenny Kelly, who was a soloist with Lirico D’Europa from 1988 to 1993 and has booked the company’s performances in the U.S. since 2000. She is also the wife of company founder Lalov.
“Through the grandness and larger-than-life stories of opera and its mythological characters, we are able to witness and experience human situations that resonate in our innermost being,” Kelly wrote in an e-mail. “Opera, like myth and Greek drama, has the power to move us so deeply that we can actually be transformed by it.”
Opera NH, which is in its 48th season, hopes to keep bringing the art form to audiences.
“We’re not planning on going anywhere soon,” said Wilson, who oversees the organization’s planning and contracts and works with its volunteer 14-person board of directors. “We’re very proud that for our performances — because of our mission and nonprofit status — we can offer seats to local college, high school and some middle school students. For a lot of these kids, it’s the first time they’re seeing live opera.”
As for Wilson, every once in a while she has some time to sit in on a rehearsal and get a preview of what’s in store for Opera NH patrons.
“It’s my kind of downtime,” she said.