Opera Carolina’s second show of the season is the classic “La Traviata.” Need a little more info?
1. The plot: “Working girl” – perhaps you prefer escort, or courtesan? – with heart of gold finds love with wealthy guy and has a shot at a happy life, but class interferes. The movie “Pretty Woman,” you say? “Moulin Rouge,” you suggest? Yep. Except, as Opera Carolina points out, without a Hollywood happy ending, because “Opera isn’t Hollywood and ... when the tragic, tear-jerking end arrives, it’s glorious.” “La traviata” roughly translates as “the fallen one.” Bonus tidbit: The opera Richard Gere takes Julia Roberts to see in “Pretty Woman” is – “La Traviata.”
2. The great drinking song – and, not incidentally, one of the most famous opera pieces of all: “Libiamo ne’ lieti calici,” from Act 1. If you don’t recognize much in opera, you’ll still recognize this. (See?)
3. The “America’s Got Talent”/“Game of Thrones” connection. Sean Panikkar, American-born son of two Sri Lankan immigrants, takes on the role of Alfredo Germont, the fallen woman’s lover. He’s in the group Forte Tenors, who made it to the Season 8 finals of America’s Got Talent and produced the fairly amazing cover of the “GoT” theme above.
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4. The Verdi victory. Composer Giuseppe Verdi overcame obstacles from casting problems to set disagreements and wrote (says the Metropolitan Opera Guild) to a pupil a day after the opening on March 6, 1853: “La Traviata last night, fiasco. Is it my fault or the fault of the singers? Time will tell.” Indeed. Although any failed production/recording is still referred to as “La Travestia.”
5. This pup. OK, Schumie’s not in the show. But the fox face Pomeranian (that’s a thing – other Pomeranians are known as doll face or teddy bear face) travels everywhere with Elizabeth Caballero, who stars as Violetta. And he has in fact been onstage: He’s appeared twice in “La Boheme” with Caballero. He’s named for her teacher and friend Bill Schuman, whom Caballero says is a great blackjack player. Schuman coached her husband on a gambling trip; the winnings, logically, went toward a puppy, and the couple decided to commemorate the coach. (Writes Caballero, “My husband misses him more than me when we go away. LOL: just kidding.”)
The shows are Jan. 22, 26 and 28; information and tickets here.