/

‘La Traviata’ reworked for Tokyo opera

by Chiho Iuchi

Aiming to portray a woman with pain hidden inside a gorgeous dress, director Amon Miyamoto will stage a new production of the opera “La Traviata” (“The Woman Who Strayed”) in Tokyo in collaboration with Tokyo Nikikai Opera Theatre.

This masterpiece by the great Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) is one of the world’s most popular operas, and is regularly performed around the world. Based on the novel “La dame aux camelias” (“The Lady of the Camellias) by French author Alexandre Dumas, the story is set in Paris, and traces a tragic relationship between a courtesan, Violetta Valery, and a young nobleman, Alfredo Germont. The opera is the only “contemporary drama” by Verdi, who devoted himself to Shakespeare and other historical pieces.

The Nikikai commissioned Miyamoto to direct “La Traviata” in a new version of their repertoire standard “Tsubaki- hime” (“Princess Camellia,”) which has long been directed by Masayoshi Kuriyama. Miyamoto has been internationally active, directing plays, musicals and operas, including the three great Italian operas by Mozart: “Le Nozze di Figaro,” (“The Marriage of Figaro”) “Don Giovanni” and “Cosi fan tutte,” (“Thus Do They All”) that he staged with the Nikikai.

For the new “La Traviata,” Miyamoto will present a large yet simple set and focus on the feelings of a real woman — rather than presenting the heroine as a sex symbol. The opera is billed as a piece for both classical aficionados and the general public.

The opera is performed by an all-Japanese cast in Italian, accompanied by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by the Italian Antonello Allemandi. Featured are the talents of sopranos Emi Sawahata (Feb. 12, 14) and Fumiko Ando (Feb. 13, 15) as Violetta; and tenors Tatsuya Higuchi (Feb. 12, 14) and Ryoji Inoue (Feb. 13, 15) as Alfredo.

“La Traviata” will be staged at Tokyo Bunka Kaikan in Ueno Park on Feb. 12-15, starting at 6:30 p.m. (Feb. 12, 13) and at 2 p.m. (Feb. 14, 15). Tickets cost ¥6,000-¥16,000. Call Nikikai Ticket Center on (03) 3796-1831.