Neemarana Foundation brings Verdi's famous opera to Delhi

New Delhi, Nov 10 One of Italy's most popular operas 'Violetta, a Traviata', a three-act musical drama by Guissppe Verdi, was performed here by a crossover cast of Indian and European artistes and drew a packed house.

Monday, November 10, 2008 | 9:58:01 AM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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New Delhi, Nov 10 (IANS) One of Italy's most popular operas 'Violetta, a Traviata', a three-act musical drama by Guissppe Verdi, was performed here by a crossover cast of Indian and European artistes and drew a packed house.

The opera, inspired by Alexander Dumas' play 'Lady of the Camellias', was brought to the Shri Ram Centre for Arts in the national capital by Rajasthan-based Neemrana Music Foundation.

It was adapted in the theatrical format by Giuseppe Cutino and the music set by Onofrio Claudio Gallina. At the end of the performance here Sunday, the crossover cast received a standing ovation.

First performed at la Fenice in March 1853, 'La Traviata' recounts the tragic love story of Violetta Valery, a famous Parisian courtesan of the 18th century and Alfredo Germont, a rich young man.

The performance begins with Addio Del Passato (goodbye of the past) - when an ailing Violetta returns to the days passed in the memory of Alfred. It then moves to a dramatic encounter between Germont, Alfredo's father, who implores Violetta to end the scandalous affair. Violetta agrees and the lovers are torn apart.

Violetta withers in the loneliness of her bedroom, racked by tuberculosis and memories.

Alfredo returns in the end to repent and Violetta dies happily comforted by the light of love. The script closely followed the original scripted by Verdi.

'Indians have a natural affinity to opera because the genre is very similar to the Bollywood movies in terms of colour, romance, music, content and grandeur. We are gradually trying to inculcate love for opera among the Indian audience by training more Indian voices and introducing mixed casts,' Francis Wacziarg, producer of the 'Violetta, a Traviata' and co-chairman of the Neemrana Music Foundation, told IANS.

Wacziarg is working on his new production 'If I Were King', another Neemrana venture, which is set to hit the stage next year.

'The story is set in the beautiful locales of Goa in 1510. It is a comic tale of a local fisherman who changes the life of the people and falls in love with a princess,' Wacziarg said.

The Neemrana Foundation has produced three operas so far - the French opera 'Carmen', 'The Pearl Fishers' set in Sri Lanka by Georges Bizet and the 'Fakir of Benares'.

'Violetta, A Traviata', which was telecast live on national television, will travel to Mumbai and Kolkata.

'I could feel the positive energy from the audience coming my way. Indians do not find it difficult to understand opera because they watch Bollywood movies which are operatic in nature,' said soprano Aude Priya, a France-born Indian citizen, who played Violetta Valery.

Priya, who spends her time shuttling between India, Italy and France, discovered her talent for opera music when she began training with Situ Singh Buehler in New Delhi at the age of 20. She is preparing for her next venture - an adaptation of the musical 'La Bohemie' by Italian composer Puccini Giacomo.

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