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4/30/2012 8:03:00 AM
Verdi's La Traviata closes out broadcast season
La Traviatta stars Natalie Dessay in her Met debut and Matthew Polenzani.
La Traviatta stars Natalie Dessay in her Met debut and Matthew Polenzani.

The Met: Live in HD 2011-2012 season comes to a close 10am Saturday, May 5, with Giuseppe Verdi's opera, La Traviata, presented at the Sedona Performing Arts Center, 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road.

Aside from the opera itself, one of the distinguishing features of The Met: Live in HD is the vibrant and informative intermission conversations with fellow Met stars. The performance is hosted by Deborah Voigt and its expected running time is two hours and forty minutes including one lunch intermission. NAU Director of Opera Studies will present the pre-opera talk from 8:45-9:25 a.m. in the SPAC theater. The Sedona presentation of The Met: Live in HD is made possible with support from Sharon and Bob Angelo.

Acclaimed French soprano Natalie Dessay makes her Met role debut as Violetta, the fallen woman who sacrifices her last chance for love. Matthew Polenzani co-stars as Alfredo Germont, a young man from a good family who is willing to risk everything for Violetta. Dmitri Hvorostovsky sings Giorgio Germont, Alfredo's father, who disapproves of Violetta's lifestyle but is moved by her plight. Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi leads Verdi's romantic tragedy, one of the most-loved operas of all time, in Willy Decker's highly theatrical production, a hit when it premiered at the Met in 2010.

La Traviata opens with Violetta Valéry knowing that she will die soon, exhausted by her restless life as a courtesan. At a party she is introduced to Alfredo Germont, who has been fascinated by her for a long time. Rumor has it that he has been enquiring after her health every day. The guests ask Alfredo to propose a toast. He celebrates true love, and Violetta responds in praise of free love. She is touched by his candid manner and honesty. Suddenly, she feels faint, and the guests withdraw. Only Alfredo remains behind and declares his love. There is no place for such feelings in her life, Violetta replies. But she gives him a camellia, asking him to return when the flower has faded. Alone, Violetta is torn by conflicting emotions-she doesn't want to give up her way of life, but at the same time she feels that Alfredo has awakened her desire to be truly loved.

Act two finds Violetta having chosen a life with Alfredo, and they enjoy their love in the country, far from society. When Alfredo discovers that this is only possible because Violetta has been selling her property, he leaves for Paris to procure money. In his absence, Alfredo's father, Giorgio Germont, pays Violetta a visit. He demands that she separate from his son, as their relationship threatens his daughter's impending marriage. Over the course of their conversation, Germont comes to realize that Violetta is not after his son's money but loves him unselfishly. He appeals to her generosity of spirit and Violetta finally agrees to leave Alfredo forever. Only after her death shall he learn the truth about why she returned to her old life. She accepts an invitation to a masked ball she has received and writes a goodbye letter to her lover. Alfredo returns, and while he is reading the letter, his father appears to console him. But all the memories of home and family can't prevent the furious Alfredo from seeking revenge for Violetta's apparent betrayal. At the masked ball, news has spread of Violetta and Alfredo's separation. She arrives with her new lover, Baron Douphol. Alfredo and the baron battle at the gaming table and Alfredo wins a fortune. When everybody has withdrawn, Alfredo confronts Violetta, who claims to be in love with the Baron. In his rage Alfredo calls the guests as witnesses and declares that he doesn't owe Violetta anything. He throws his winnings at her. Giorgio Germont, who has witnessed the scene, rebukes his son for his behavior. The baron challenges his rival to a duel.

Act three finds Violetta dying. Her last remaining friend, Doctor Grenvil, knows that she has only a few more hours to live. Alfredo's father has written to Violetta, informing her that his son was not injured in the duel. Full of remorse, he has told him about Violetta's sacrifice. Alfredo wants to rejoin her as soon as possible. Violetta is afraid that he might be too late. The sound of rampant celebrations are heard from outside while Violetta is in mortal agony. But Alfredo does arrive and the reunion fills Violetta with a final euphoria. Her energy and exuberant joy of life return. All sorrow and suffering seems to have left her-a final illusion, before death claims her.

Reserved tickets are $22 and general admission $20 available the day of the opera or on line at Student tickets are $10 at the door with full time ID. A very popular feature of the series is the pre-opera lectures with noted opera experts. From 7:45-8:25am Edward Ingraham will speak. Patrons are encouraged to order lunch on line also as no outside food or beverage is permitted in the hall. SPAC is fully compliant ADA facility.

The Met: Live in HD is made possible with support from individual opera sponsors and the Verde Valley Medical Center, a not for profit subsidiary of Northern Arizona Healthcare, and the City of Sedona. The 2012-2013 series begins Oct. 13 with Donizetti's Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore. The Met HD season goes on sale in August.

Chamber Music Sedona is supported by the Arizona Commission on the Arts with funding from the State of Arizona, the National Endowment for the Arts, The City of Sedona Arts, and a membership base of more than 250.

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