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Arts Calendar / July 2 / Opera
19:00 Il Viaggio a Reims
Opera in one act by Gioacchino Rossini. 165 min (with one interval). Libretto by Luigi Balocchi based on the novel "Corinne, ou L'Italie" by Germaine de Staël. Conductor: Tugan Sokhiev. Stage Director: Damiano Michieletto. Sung in Italian. A group of aristocratic travellers are stranded together on the way to Reims, where they’re heading to celebrate the coronation of King Charles X. Fortunately, the unlikely bunch create plenty of their own entertainment. This is an ensemble opera, which means it’s a big cast with lots of important roles. We could introduce them all, but it gets confusing! There’s a hostess, some eligible young widows, a poetess, a multinational assortment of army and navy officers, a doctor, a scholar and of course, the help: a housekeeper, courier and valet. There’s not much plot, but there’s plenty of intrigue about who is in love with who, some sentimental moments and a whole lot of comedy. No one heard this opera between 1825 and 1984, when famous conductor Claudio Abbado resurrected it for a Deutsche Grammophon recording. So there isn’t a famous aria, but there’s a brilliant ensemble written for 14 voices (!) that you can listen out for. In fact, every number in the opera is a show-stopper. It’s a musical feast.
Bolshoi Theater 
19:00 La Traviata
Opera in three acts (performs with one intermission) by Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave based on "La Dame aux camélias." Stage Director: Dmitry Bertman. Music Director, Conductor: Alexander Sladkovsky. During Verdi’s lifetime La traviata was one of the most frequently performed of all operas, and it has continued to be through to the present. The opera was originally titled Violetta, after the main character. It was first performed on 6 March 1853 at the La Fenice opera house in Venice. Piave and Verdi wanted to follow Dumas in giving the opera a contemporary setting, but the authorities at La Fenice insisted that it be set in the past, "c. 1700". It was not until the 1880s that the composer's and librettist's original wishes were carried out and "realistic" productions were staged. La Traviata is the story of a lively Parisian courtesan who gives up the man she loves to save his family’s reputation. Perhaps this is the greatest theme of La Traviata; self-sacrifice. The opera is a touching story, not just because it is a story people can believe in, but because it is a story people want to believe in. It encourages the ideal that it is possible to experience the joy of a pure, redemptive love. The story shows that it is possible – no matter what hurt and offence has been caused – to right wrongs by sacrifice to the greatest good.
Helikon Opera 
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