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Opera Santa Barbara’s ‘La Traviata’ Has Special Appeal for Area Seniors

Special programs include matinee performances, opera translations and an Aficionado Club

What could be more romantic than Paris at the time of the Paris Exposition of 1889? The Eiffel Tower, dashing young aristocrats, beautiful women, flowing champagne ...

This is the setting for Opera Santa Barbara’s new production of Giuseppe Verdi’s most romantic opera, La Traviata. Led by acclaimed director José Maria Condemi, the sumptuous sets and costumes literally set the stage for the tragic love story of the courtesan, Violetta, and the dashing Alfredo, who ends their affair when his disapproving father interferes. With its heart-rending arias, La Traviata has timeless appeal for lovers of any age.

The music from La Traviata is some of the most recognizable music from any opera. Click here to listen to Violetta’s beautiful aria, “Sempre libera degg’io.” The famous “Drinking Song” (“Libiamo ne’ lieti calici”) will be known by the entire audience and certain to please with its infectious melody. It’s easy to understand why this opera has been one of the most frequently performed operas and is perfect for both the seasoned or new opera-goer.

Directing this brand-new production is Condemi, called “one of the most promising and impressive directors in all opera.” In demand across the country for his imaginative and creative stage work, Condemi looks forward to bringing a fresh approach to La Traviata’s timeless story of love, betrayal and redemption.

Condemi will be directing a cast that includes soprano Rebecca Davis (Violetta), described as “a beguiling blend of temperament, charm and vocal presence,” tenor Ryan MacPherson (Alfredo), known for his beautiful voice and captivating stage presence, and a returning artist to the Opera Santa Barbara stage, baritone Malcolm MacKenzie (Germont), whose international career includes a debut in the Metropolitan Opera production of Carmen last season.

Opera Santa Barbara is creating new sets and costumes for this production in cooperation with Opera San Jose. San Francisco-based scenic designer Erik Flatmo and costume designer Elizabeth Poindexter have designed opulent turn-of-the-century sets and costumes for this new production certain to delight audiences in their attention to period detail, evocative of the elegance of Paris in the late 1800s.

Of Special Interest for Seniors:

There will be a matinee performance for La Traviata at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 6, at The Granada. The opera’s next production, a double-bill opera La Serva Padrona/Trouble in Tahiti, will also have a matinee performance, at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 10, at the Lobero Theatre. Matinees typically end early enough to get folks home well before dark.

Simultaneous Opera Translations: Each opera displays highly-visible English subtitles on a screen above the stage, so that no one need worry about understanding a foreign language, or even English-language opera.

Free “Opera Revealed” lectures 45 minutes prior to each opera also provide exceptional insight about the composers and background of each opera being performed.

Aficionado Club: For those who find they would be attending OSB productions alone, Opera Santa Barbara has inaugurated an Aficionado Club. There is no cost to join. There will be pre-arranged meals in nearby restaurants prior to each opera performance for Aficionado Club members, and a special seating section will be reserved for the pre-opera talks. For La Traviata, there is a dinner planned at 5 p.m. at Opal Restaurant & Bar, 1325 State St. For the production of La Serva Padrona/Trouble in Tahiti, a lunch at Paradise Café, 702 Anacapa St., prior to the matinee is planned. Call the opera for information and reservations.

Senior Group Discounts: A generous discount of 15 percent on the cost of a ticket is available for groups of 15 or more. Click here for more information about the 2010-2011 Season, or call Opera Santa Barbara at 805.898.3890.

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