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.
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.