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By Steven Lieberman
Observer Reporter 

LA Opera Shines with La Traviata


April 18, 2024


LA Opera was successful in its presentation and restaging of the 2022 San Francisco production of La Traviata, one of opera's most enduring tragedies, directed by Shawna Lucey with scenery and costumes by Robert Innes Hopkins.

Verdi master James Conlon is always the perfect choice to conduct this composers body of work. Conlon is in such reverence of Verdi's greatness that this reporter once saw him stop and bow to Verdi's statue on the Founders Circle level at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. As usual, but especially a Verdi operatic composition, Conlon conducted with passion, fondness, and gusto. He brought the score to life in a positively infectious manner and had great chemistry with the singer's circumstances, mood and feelings in each scene.

A first-class cast of singers took the stage.

Rachel Willis-Sorensen, as Violetta, is as passionate about her role as Conlon is as conductor. She shares in his passion and that is apparent by her sparkling stage presence, ability to convey drama, and radiant voice. She especially touched the audience with her version of the aria "Sempre libera." Her heart being shattered was felt by all in the audience. And the bright spot of the performance was her rendition of "Addio del passato."

Liparit Avetisyan, as Alfredo, is a capable tenor. He has an airy, attentive and fluid voice and a steady stage presence. The style of this character is supposed to be noble and upper-class, but one didn't quite get that sense.

As Giorgio Germont, Kihun Yoon's baritone voice was outstanding. Especially in his duet with Violetta and his two arias resonated throughout the Pavilion. In the second act, Yoon's performance created a sense of dignity and his booming voice was extensive. This helped rocket Willis-Sorensen to the next dimension in her own performance.

Kudos also to Sarah Saturino who sang the role of Flora very effectively. Her and the other supporting singers, most farmed from the reputable LA Opera Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, were of great quality.

The LA Opera orchestra played brilliantly and the chorus was remarkable. Their voices were powerful and delivered with a sense of drama.

And lastly, be on the lookout for Marquis (Ryan Wolfe) wearing a pink tutu at the party.

Just for the fun of it.


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