La Traviata


Music by Giuseppe Verdilatralogo

Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave,

based on the play LaDame aux camelias

by Alexandre Dumas

Directed by Arin Arbus

Conductor Massimo Zanetti

At the Lyric Opera of Chicago

Well sung new production of Verdi’s popular tragic opera, La Traviata, is an audience favorite

It has been a long time since I’ve seen La Traviata and I now realize why this Verdi opera is such an audience favorite. It is a hauntingly beautiful piece that contains three juicy roles; one we empathize with (Violetta) and two we loath (Alfredo and Giorgio). I’m happy to report that the new production, now playing at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, features three world-class singers each at the top of their art.

lyric opera of chicago

Latvian soprano Marina Rebeka demonstrates her vocal range and , together with her fine acting,  makes Violetta a most empathetic figure. We love her and wish that she will keep her lover Alfredo ( Joseph Calleja) despite the intimidation by Giorgia (Quinn Kelsey) Alfredo’s father.  I thought Quinn Kelsey’s booming baritone commands his scenes while Joesph Calleja’s smooth tenor lands the famous  drinking song: Brindisi: Libiamo ne lieti calici with aplomb. We quickly feels his charm and we see why Violetta loves him. We enjoy the vivid party scene in Paris as seen with costume designer Cait O’Connor’s wild dresses complete with wings and fancy headdresses. The chorus work here is terrific. We are enchanted with the decadent world of hedonistic Paris. The fine use of puppets in the Spanish scenes in act two with the sensual dances enhance the work’s spectacle.

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The set ( design by Riccardo Hernandez)is an intriguing mixture of dim lighting and the generous use of shadows (lighting by Marcus Doshi). This foreshadows act two and three that moves to Violetta’s rural house then her bedroom. Act two features the encounter by Alfredo’s father Giorgio with Violetta. Quinn Kelsey’s powerful presence and rich vocals totally intimate the courtesan. The acting here was expert.

lyric opera of chicago

lyric opera of chicago

But, in act three, Marina Rebeka’s heartfelt performance with her aria: Addio del passato and her finale: Prend, quest ‘e l’ immagine., was totally intoxicating. The lush score from Verdi has so carried us into the romantic and decadent  throughout this three hour opera that we love this opera so much that we keeping coming to see it. I totally agree that La Traviata is a fine opera to introduce young folks to the joys and grandeur of opera. The fabulous opera exemplifies how great singing works upon a fine melodious score to produce a stunning spectacle of sound and images. Come enjoy Verdi’s La Traviata.

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: November 23, 2013

For more info checkout the La Traviata page at

At the Lyric Opera of Chicago, through December 20, 2013

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