La Traviata returns to Caracalla in Lorenzo Mariani’s acclaimed direction

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by OPERA Charm Team
July 17, 2023

BIOGRAPHY

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INTERVIEW

Violetta Valéry like Anita Ekberg, Laura Antonelli and Marilyn Monroe: Giuseppe Verdi’s La traviata in the acclaimed 2018 production by Lorenzo Mariani is back on stage in Caracalla from July 21st to August 9th. In the role of Violetta the soprano Francesca Dotto, already starring in the same production in 2019. For Verdi’s masterpiece – which sees a conductor of great operatic experience such as Paolo Arrivabeni on the podium – the director was inspired by the years of Fellini’s La dolce vita, from a perspective, however, foreign to luxury and glitter: the story of Violetta Valéry is intertwined with that of the film icons of the past, thrown into the vortex of the devouring society of the star system.

“When I was invited to direct La traviata, I wanted to start from the sources,” says Lorenzo Mariani, “by rereading the novel La dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas. And I found myself in front of a bomb of emotions almost unbearable for their intensity. The suffering the protagonist has to endure is truly distressing”. And it was while wondering how he could depict such a hopeless world that he thought of Fellini’s La dolce vita. “There is a lot of beauty in the film, but it is a fierce beauty, which devours people. In fact, that film is a merciless portrait of Rome and Italy in the late 1950s. It has the pomp and glamour of a crushing system. I think of certain actresses consumed by success in a few years like Laura Antonelli, who lost her life. Violetta is also like that, trapped in a world that gives no escape. On the other hand, the French bourgeoisie of the mid 19th century was ruthless”.

Lorenzo Mariani is one of the most experienced opera directors on the contemporary scene, particularly appreciated for his work as artistic director at the Teatro Massimo di Palermo for eight years. He has worked with conductors of the calibre of Claudio Abbado and Zubin Mehta, staging productions that have toured the world (San Francisco, Tokyo, Shanghai, Gothenburg, Helsinki, Tel Aviv). For the Rome Opera, in Caracalla, he conducted a highly successful Rossini’s Barbiere di Siviglia in 2014.

Conducting Verdi’s masterpiece is Paolo Arrivabeni, a specialist in the Italian opera repertoire, who returns to Caracalla after the great success in 2015 of Puccini’s La bohème staged by Davide Livermore. Arrivabeni has conducted countless opera productions and collaborated with the world’s most prestigious theatres and musical institutions, such as the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, the Wiener Staatsoper and the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. Music Director of the Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Liège from 2008 to 2017, the maestro is a regular guest at major national and international opera festivals.

Highly acclaimed in the role of Violetta Valéry, soprano Francesca Dotto – who is one of the best-known interpreters of the courtesan – took on the role of Violetta at the Rome Opera House in the celebrated 2016 production directed by Sofia Coppola and with costumes by Valentino, and in Caracalla in 2019 in this version designed by Mariani. Flanking her in the role of Alfredo Germont will be the young tenor Giovanni Sala – winner in 2014 of the Italian Opera Concert Association’s Competition for Young Opera Singers – and Alessandro Scotto di Luzio, also already Alfredo in 2019 in Caracalla. Giorgio Germont, on the other hand, is played by Christopher Maltman – a much sought-after baritone for Verdi roles – and Marco Caria – special audience prize winner and runner-up at the Operalia Competition in 2007.

Completing the cast are Ekaterine Buachidze (Flora Bervoix), Mariam Suleiman (Annina), Mattia Rossi (the Marquis d’Obigny), Nicola Straniero (Gastone), all members of the Opera Theatre’s “Fabbrica” Young Artist Program, Arturo Espinosa (Baron Douphol) a graduate of the same “Fabbrica” project, and Viktor Schevchenko (Doctor Grenvil). The orchestra and chorus, conducted by Ciro Visco, are from the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome.

Director and choreographer Luciano Cannito, the sets and costumes are by Alessandro Camera and Silvia Aymonino respectively. At the lights Roberto Venturi and at the videos Fabio Iaquone and Luca Attilii.

La Traviata is a melodrama in three acts with music by Giuseppe Verdi and a libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, based on La dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas’ son, a novel adapted for the Parisian theatre stage in 1852. Composed and first performed in 1853 at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Verdi’s opera concludes the so-called cycle of the popular trilogy, sanctioning, together with Rigoletto and Il trovatore, the composer’s entry into dramaturgic-expressive maturity.

The first performance will take place on Friday, July 21st at 9 p.m. (CEST). Repeats are scheduled for July 25th and 28th and August 2nd, 4th and 9th. The starting time for all performances is 9 p.m (CEST).

Each performance is performed in the original language with subtitles in Italian and English.

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Alice Lechner

Alice Lechner comes from a music-loving family. Her first encounter with the opera universe was at the tender age of six. The grandeur of the stage productions and costumes, the backstage chatter, and last, but definitely not least, the music left her in awe, beginning with Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The overall feeling that opera awakens in anyone who gets a glimpse into this part of artistic eternity, that each and every day passes the test of time, was what drew her to stay and be a part of this world. The Opera House of Brașov became her second home, and the people who worked there were her second family.

Since then, Alice has devoted her spare time to maximising her musical knowledge through instrumental studies, studying both piano and violin for a short time. In the following years, her number one passion stepped out of the limelight and graciously gave way to Law Studies.
Since 2018 she has been studying Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Her passion for opera, even if it is no longer her top professional priority in terms of career, it has most definitely become her priority during her free time. Wanting to experience the best of both worlds and extend her musical horizons, she regularly attends opera performances throughout Romania and abroad.
With OPERA Charm Magazine, Alice aims to nurture her creative side to help it flourish and bloom and to discover, alongside the magazine’s readers, the fascinatingly complex world of opera.

Currently, she is an LL.M. in Business Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Oana Zamfir

Oana Zamfir is a second year MA student at the “George Enescu” National University of Arts, at the Department of Musicology.

She studied violin for 12 years at the “Stefan Luchian” High School of Art in Botosani, later focusing on the theoretical aspects of music. In 2019 she completed her bachelor studies in Musicology as a student of the National Academy of Music “Gheorghe Dima” in Cluj-Napoca. Her research during 2018-2019 brought to the forefront elements of the archaic ritual within works of composers who activated during the communist period, giving her the opportunity to start a research internship at the “Carl von Ossietzky” University in Germany. In this context, she recorded conversations with members of the Sophie Drinker Institute in Bremen, and had access to documents directly from the Myriam Marbé archive.

Since 2019 she has been a teacher of Music Education and Theoretical Music Studies, making full use of interactive methods in the musical training of students and working, at the same time, with the children’s choir founded in the first year of her activity.

Her interests include pursuing a degree in interior design in 2020.

Alexandru Suciu

Alexandru Suciu inherited his passion for art growing up in a family of several generations of musicians. He began his musical studies at the “Augustin Bena” School of Music in Cluj, where he studied piano and guitar. Even though his main study direction was philological, his passion for music prevailed. He began his academical journey at the Faculty of Letters of the “Babeș-Bolyai” University, studying Comparative literature and English. He continued by studying Opera Singing at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy. He also graduated the Musical Education section, followed by Artistic Directing at the Musical Performing Arts department.

His multidisciplinary education opened the doors towards research, which is seen both through his participation in national and international conferences and symposia, such as the Salzburg Easter School PhD-forum, organized by the Salzburg Universität or the Silesian Meeting of Young Scholars, organized by the Institute of English at the University of Silesia, as well as the collaboration with Opera Charm Magazine.

During his student years, he won several prizes, including the Grand Prize at the “Paul Constantinescu” National Musical Interpretation Competition, the Romanian Composers and Musicologists’ Union Prize at the same competition, the First Prize and the Schubert Prize at the “Ada Ulubeanu” Competition.

He further developed his artistic skills by specializing in courses and masterclasses held by personalities such as Vittorio Terranova, Giuseppe Sabbatini, Marian Pop, Ines Salazar, Riccardo Zanellato, Paolo Bosisio, Valentina Farcaș and Manuel Lange in contexts such as the Internationale Sommerakademie für Operngesang Deutschlandsberg, Corso Internazionale di Canto Lirico I.M.C. Licata or the Europäische Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst Montepulciano. Besides his activity on-stage, he currently teaches Opera Singing Didactics, and Pedagogical Practice within the Department for Teacher Education and Training at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy.

Cristina Fieraru

Cristina is a 24 year-old Romanian soprano & a student at the National University of Music Bucharest, where she pursues the MA program in Vocal Performance.

She made her debut in Pamina from “Die Zauberflöte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at only 19 years old at the Bucharest National Opera House, as a member of the Ludovic Spiess Experimental Opera Studio. Over the years she made her debut in roles such as Contessa d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Mimì & Musetta (La Bohème), Alice Ford (Falstaff), Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte) in her university’s opera productions.
Her passion and experience extends in the field of choral music, too.

She has been part of our dream team since the fall of 2021. For a good period of time she took care of OPERA Charm’s social media and took you on the monthly journey through the history of opera through our Legends rubric – and a few times through the Theaters around the World rubric.

Her little soul rubric – from 2021 to present – is definitely the Conductors of the Future, where, every month, she gives you the chance to meet a young star of the world of conducting and, of course, to find out what’s the most charming feature of opera in these artists’ views.

BIANCA L. NICA

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