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Opera Philadelphia Presents U.S. Premiere of New La Traviata (Oct 2–11), with Opening-Night Gala (Oct 2) & Free, Open-Air HD Screening (Oct 3)

A scene from Paul Curran’s La traviata at Bucharest National Opera

A scene from Paul Curran’s La traviata at Bucharest National Opera

To launch its mainstage season, Opera Philadelphia follows recent grand-scale stagings of Nabucco and Don Carlo with another major Verdi masterpiece: La traviata. For this first Academy of Music production of 2015-16, the company presents the American premiere of a stylish Traviata treatment from award-winning Scottish director Paul Curran (Oct 2–11). Highlighted by a black-tie Opening Night Gala (Oct 2), and a free HD broadcast in Independence National Historical Park that marks the company’s fifth annual Opera on the Mall event (Oct 3), Opera Philadelphia’s upcoming production showcases the house and role debuts of Metropolitan Opera favorite Lisette Oropesa and Grammy Award-winner Alek Shrader, with Music Director Corrado Rovaris on the podium. As Opera News notes, “Things are looking up, operatically speaking, in the City of Brotherly Love.

When Curran’s production of the beloved opera debuted at the Bucharest National Opera last October, he explained his decision to update its Paris setting to the mid 20th-century:

“I wanted it to have a feeling that was quite contemporary but that made sense with the world of morals of that era of 1840–53, when it was written. … One of the last great conservative waves was the end of the 1950s, going into the 1960s. Just think of the TV show Mad Men. … So, that’s when it’s set. Which I think is far enough away, yet close enough for us to understand.” (Despre Opera blog, Romania)

Having proven herself “a house favorite” who “lights up the stage” (New Yorker) at the Metropolitan Opera, Lisette Oropesa makes her company and role debuts as the doomed courtesan Violetta. “I am really looking forward to exploring the character of Violetta,” the Cuban-American soprano says. “She is extremely open-hearted, she takes a huge emotional risk – twice – and she never breaks down or falls apart. The music is very emotional, but the character has an extremely strong center.” Tenor Alek Shrader, whose “singing is distinguished by a simultaneous lyricism and verve” (Opera News), makes his house and role debuts as Alfredo, with baritone Stephen Powell reprising the part of his father Giorgio, in which he previously “play[ed] the heavy with such relish that the series of soprano-baritone duets in Act II caught fire” (Wall Street Journal). Leading from the Academy of Music pit will be Opera Philadelphia’s Music Director Corrado Rovaris, whose “ownership of Verdi rivals any of the late greats” (Opera News). Click here to see a video teaser for Opera Philadelphia’s La traviata.

For its next Opera on the Mall presentation, Opera Philadelphia’s opening-night performance of Verdi’s tragic tale will be broadcast in high definition the following night, free of charge, to a giant outdoor screen in the shadow of the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. This marks the fifth consecutive year that the local community has been invited to gather together and enjoy the opening of the cultural season with one of the most popular operas of all time; last year, some 6,000 guests enjoyed Rossini’s Barber of Seville from their picnic blankets and chairs. Opera on the Mall is presented through PNC Arts Alive, and more information is available at Click here to see highlights of Opera on the Mall 2014.

Also recognized as “one of the leading instigators of new work in the country” (Opera News), Opera Philadelphia launched the season with the world premiere of ANDY: A Popera, in collaboration with the Bearded Ladies Cabaret. Inspired by the life, fame, and philosophy of pop icon Andy Warhol and staged in a city warehouse, ANDY impressed the Philadelphia Inquirer as “a party with no rules,” where Dan Visconti and Heath Allen’s music took listeners to a “gorgeous new land where the tectonic plates of rock and classical normally only grind.” With a sold-out run at which 40% of ticket-buyers had never previously attended an Opera Philadelphia presentation, the production proved “an enormous success.” This marked the company’s second consecutive world premiere production, following that of Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD – deemed “terrific” by the Wall Street Journal – with which Opera Philadelphia concluded the 2014-15 season.

About Opera Philadelphia
Opera Philadelphia creates outstanding productions of both classic and new operatic works that resonate within the community, assembles the finest international creative artists, and presents a wide array of programming that educates, deepens, and diversifies the opera audience in Philadelphia and beyond. Opera Philadelphia is leading the field in the development of new opera. In partnership with Gotham Chamber Opera and Music-Theatre Group, the company runs the nation’s first collaborative Composer-in-Residence program, made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with talented composers Lembit Beecher, Missy Mazzoli, Andrew Norman, and David T. Little each involved in several years of intensive, hands-on work to develop an understanding of the many facets of developing and producing opera. In tandem with the Composer-in-Residence program, the American Repertoire Program is aimed at fostering a new generation of opera composers and telling authentically American stories. It is steered by the American Repertoire Council, a committed group of volunteer advisors overseen by operatic baritone Nathan Gunn. More information is available at

High-resolution photos may be downloaded here.


Opera Philadelphia: upcoming presentations

Oct 2, 4m, 7, 9 & 11m
Verdi: La traviata
Academy of Music
American premiere of production from Bucharest National Opera
Conductor: Corrado Rovaris
Director: Paul Curran*

Feb 5, 7m, 10, 12 & 14m
Jennifer Higdon: Cold Mountain (East Coast premiere)
Academy of Music
American Repertoire Program
Co-commission and co-production with The Santa Fe Opera and Minnesota Opera in collaboration with North Carolina Opera
Libretto by Gene Scheer
Conductor: Corrado Rovaris
Director: Leonard Foglia

March 2, 4 & 6m
Richard Strauss: Capriccio
New production of the Curtis Institute of Music presented in association with Opera Philadelphia and the Kimmel Center for the
Performing Arts
Aurora Series: Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater
Conductor: Timothy Myers
Director: Chas Rader-Shieber
Curtis Opera Theatre Artistic Director: Mikael Eliasen

April 29; May 1m, 4, 6 & 8m
Gaetano Donizetti: The Elixir of Love
Academy of Music
Production from The Santa Fe Opera
Conductor: Corrado Rovaris
Director: Stephen Lawless

*Opera Philadelphia debut

Media Contacts

Opera Philadelphia: Frank Luzi, [email protected], (215) 893-5902
21C Media Group: Glenn Petry, [email protected], (212) 625-2038


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© 21C Media Group, September 2015


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