Soprano Rachel Hippert will be Violetta in Verdi's tragedy, La Traviata
La traviata, (The Fallen Woman) is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave. It is based on La Dame aux Camélias (1852), a play adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas, fils. The opera was originally titled Violetta, after the main character. It was first performed on 6 March 1853 at the La Fenice opera house in Venice.
Soprano Rachel Hippert and Tenor Jose Heredia, both Irreverence Group Music collaborators, will star in the new Amore Opera production of La Traviata on May 18th and 26th, 7:30 pm performances at the Riverside Theater in New York City.
Ms. Hippert interviewed conductor Doulgas Martin and Amore Opera director Nathan Hull, opening the doors from her private rehearsal to IGM.
- Rachel Hippert: Tell us [the viewers] a little bit about Amore Opera and this production.
Nathan Hull: Amore Opera is in its ninth season. We are the offshoot and successor to the old Amato Opera that was in the Bowery for sixty-one years, so in some ways this is our seventieth season (if you want to count it that way). We’re an intimate opera. I think that’s one of the things that we have to offer that the Met doesn’t. The Met obviously has lots more money, a bigger orchestra, and more resources, but what they don’t have is this intimacy of opera. And when you come down to it, La Traviata is essentially a very “living room” or “dining room” type of a show. I think the intimacy of having it almost in your lap really works for it.
We did [La Traviata] once before, we did it in 2012. It was a great success at that point, and it’s now six years later, so it’s time to do Traviata again. And of course we have wonderful people to do it. We’ve got mostly a new cast, we’ve got a few veterans of the 2012 production, but mostly it’s new folks who are going to get a chance to do it.
- Nathan Hull: This is your first “Violetta?”
Rachel Hippert: It is. “Violetta” is a dream role [for me] ever since I first heard the music when I entered conservatory a few years ago…It’s a real gift to be able to do the role in a company that is so welcoming of young singers trying to get a foothold in the industry in this town. [Amore] is a company that is so supportive, filled with a lot of talented people and a lot of heart. I feel incredibly blessed to be here.
- Rachel Hippert: How are you re-imagining this work, written and debuted in 1853, for a modern audience?
Douglas Martin: What I try to bring to anything that I conduct is to try and take the traditions that are valuable … and treat [the work] a bit like I’m a restorer of, say, the Sistine Chapel ceiling, or something like that. Maybe over the decades some of the things that have crept in [to performance standards], some of the ideas [aren’t necessary]…Maybe to try to modernize it I try to actually peel away the layers of perhaps misapprehensions or misunderstandings or mistakes actually that are in some of the old recordings, and to just sort of restore the rhythmic integrity with the beautiful legato of the voices and a sense of freedom. But also, Verdi’s father was a marching band conductor, and so much of his music [reflects that].
- Nathan Hull: We’re setting [the show] basically in the era dictated in the original libretto, full costumes, full sets. I always had the philosophy that once you learn what [an opera] “should be,” then if you need to go out and do a weird production set underwater with flippers, well then you can do that. But at least at Amore Opera you’re going to get a production that at least shows what the composer and the librettist had in mind.
Production by Amore Opera
Date: Friday May 18 &
Saturday May 26 at 7:30 PM
Place: The Riverside Theater 91 Claremont Ave, New York, NY 10027