Athens, Ga. – Three Metropolitan Opera stars – soprano Maureen O’Flynn, tenor Jorge Lopez-Yanez and baritone Frederick Burchinal – will join a choral ensemble of University of Georgia students and Athens-area singers in the Athena Grand Opera Company’s production of La Traviata on Thursday, Feb. 28, and Saturday, March 1, at 8 p.m. at The Classic Center Theatre. The UGA Symphony Orchestra will also be performing under the direction of Mark Cedel.
The Athena Grand Opera Company is a cooperative venture of the UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music and the Classic Center that previously has presented distinctive versions of such works as Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado.
La Traviata, composed by Giuseppe Verdi in 1848, has been one of the most popular operas with American audiences for more than a century. The story was inspired by an Alexandre Dumas novel, La dame aux Camelias, which is also the basis of the legendary Greta Garbo film Camille. It’s a grand tragedy about the doomed romance of a famous Parisian courtesan, Violetta, and a young nobleman, Alfredo. Even operatic neophytes will probably recognize some of Verdi’s magnificent music, which has been featured in popular entertainment from Looney Tunes to the Julia Roberts-Richard Gere movie Pretty Woman.
In the Athena Grand Opera’s production, visiting artists O’Flynn and Lopez-Yanez will sing the roles of Violetta and Alfredo, respectively. Another Metropolitan Opera veteran, Burchinal, will perform the role of Alfredo’s meddlesome father. Burchinal spent 20 years with the Met before he joined the faculty of the music school last year as the Wyatt and Margaret Anderson Professor of Voice and Opera at the University of Georgia and the director of the Opera Ensemble.
“La Traviata is Verdi’s most popular opera, and we are looking forward to sharing it with Athens,” Burchinal said.
Tickets for both performances are $20 each or $10 each for groups of ten or more. They can be purchased at the Classic Center Box Office by calling 706/357-4444 or online at http://www.classiccenter.com/.