La Traviata


You’ve probably seen the flyers and advertising for La Traviata taking place at the NIA on 25th and 26th October. I hadn’t given it much thought to be honest, assuming it to be a fleeting touring thing, but a smidgen of investigation reveals there to be a significant Birmingham connection. I know this because Marc Reck posted this video on his blog:

If you don’t have time to watch that, in short this production was devised by Birmingham Opera’s Artistic Director Graham Vick for the world-renowned Arena di Verona. As the Italian production used local talent so this one gathers 240 singers from Birmingham along with the CBSO providing the music. Actors are drawn from the company’s work in the local community over the years and while the costumes and sets are being shipped from Verona.

So, while this is an international event, it’s also a testament to the Birmingham Opera Company who, according to their online history, do much more than large-scale Italian classics at the NIA:

Two things were clear: Firstly we would open up the process of opera production and ask people from the city to join us. Secondly we would perform the work in unusual places not normally associated with opera or theatre. We wanted to circumvent the idea that certain kinds of people went to certain kinds of places to see opera. This way the operas themselves could speak directly to audiences.

Since 2001 we have presented Berg’s Votzek in a dilapidated warehouse on the edge of the Ladywood housing estate, Beethoven’s Fidelio in a big top pitched in Aston Park beside Aston Villa FC and Bernstein’s Candide in an old car parts factory in Digbeth. Now we are exploring the work of Monteverdi through a series of projects during 2004 leading to a large-scale production of Ulysses Comes Home in Spring 2005 to be directed by Artistic Director, Graham Vick and with internationally renowned tenor Paul Nilon in the title role.

Tickets for La Trav range from £15 – £45 from here.

Further info:
Wikipedia on La Traviata
Birmingham Opera Company website
A fair few photos of the Verona performance on Flickr.



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