Verdi’s La Traviata is currently playing at The San Francisco Opera. It was first performed by the San Francisco Opera during the Company’s second season in 1924. This rendition features three company debuts, Romanian soprano Aurelia Florian as Violetta Valéry, Brazilian tenor Atalla Ayan as Alfredo Germont and Polish baritone Artur Ruciński as Giorgio Germont. It’s also the final performance by Maestro Nicola Luisotti. He’s been the Music Director of the San Francisco Opera for nine-seasons.
The orchestra begins to play as the audience perks up in anticipation for the reveal. The curtain finally rises and we are introduced to Violetta (Aurelia Florian) and an extravagant gathering that looks like a painting come to life. The costumes and scenery are exquisite. Taking you back to mid-19th century Paris.
The show is based on the novel La dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas and is told in three acts. Violetta Valéry, a beautiful Parisian, battles with the desire to pursue her love, Alfredo Germont, or continue enjoying life on her own terms. She chooses love and is happy until objections from his father arise. Alfredo’s father claims that his daughter’s engagement is at risk due to Violetta’s reputation. She reluctantly agrees to separate after his constant pleas. She was living her days freely indulging in whatever her heart desired until Alfredo, and now she is left heartbroken because of “reputation”. Eventually, the lovers are reunited but, it’s too late, Violetta is plagued with tuberculosis.
The performances by Florian and Atalla Ayan (Alfredo Germont) are highly enjoyable. Florian gives a powerful performance during the final act when Violetta departs forever. It’s a heartbreaking good bye and she does a good job at getting the audience to feel the huge loss the characters have gone through.
For those new to the San Francisco Opera scene, there is a small monitor above the stage with lyric translations. Have no fear, you will not be lost in translation. This particular show is tragic but it’s also funny at times. This would be a great introduction to the Opera for first timers as its one of the most popular shows to be staged. You can also arrive two hours early for dinner at the Opera Cafe and enjoy drinks and dessert in between acts.
Each presentation at the War Memorial Opera House also features an informative 25-minute Pre-Opera Talk. Beginning 55 minutes prior to curtain and free of charge to patrons with tickets for the corresponding performance, each LaTraviata Pre-Opera Talk will be presented by Bay Area conductor Peter Susskind.
TICKETS AND INFORMATION
Tickets for La Traviata are priced from $26 to $398 and may be purchased at sfopera.com, the San Francisco Opera Box Office at 301 Van Ness Avenue and by phone at (415) 864-3330. Standing Room tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on the day of each performance; standing room tickets are $10 each, cash only, and limited to two tickets per person.
The War Memorial Opera House is located at 301 Van Ness Avenue.