The First of the Red Hot Lovers

Nobody writes love stories like this anymore.

    Talk about a great date night. Two date nights: November 12 and 13.

    “La Traviata,” is Giuseppe Verdi’s most romantic work, and the third most frequently performed opera in the world. Combine the intensity of the show with the allure of The Grand Opera House, and you have a truly inspired evening.

    “La Traviata” is the story of Violetta Valéry, a Parisian courtesan who reluctantly falls in love with Alfredo Germont, a young nobleman. Alfredo’s father has other plans. He insists that the relationship will destroy his son’s reputation in beau monde Paris, and convinces Violetta to give up the one man she ever actually loved.
    What happens next is both exhilarating and tragic, proving that love, at least in the existential sense, never ends. “La Traviata” is a story of the elitist judgment, jealousy and resentment—a potent story with a substantive premise.

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    Local favorite soprano Colleen Daly sings the role of Violetta in her main-stage OperaDelaware debut.

    Here’s the dirt, straight from Lee Kimball, general and artistic director of OperaDelaware: “Verdi himself had a live-in girlfriend while he wrote ‘Traviata’ in 1853,” he says, but Verdi married the singer after 20 years of living in sin. “It was quite the scandal in his small town, and the small-minded bourgeoisie of the town drove him crazy. I think that Verdi put a lot of his own feelings into the opera, especially when Alfredo’s small-town father comes to break up Alfredo’s arrangement with Violetta because it’s ruining the family reputation.”

     Kimball’s take on the behind the scenes stuff: “The tenor and the soprano click emotionally, and the Act II kiss looks real. They are both very happily married, however. They just have a wonderful chemistry.” Uh-huh.

    Kimball designed the sets, and OperaDelaware’s set painter undercoated all the gold in Violetta’s apartment with a bright orange. “Wouldn’t you know that the orange is bleeding through, and the gold looks mango,” says Kimball. So there he is, ever the hands-on leader, donning his “crummy painting clothes, putting a second coat on all the gold.”

    Serious opera buffs can enjoy free lectures before each performance. As always, OperaDelaware will flash English supertitles above the stage, since the opera is sung in Italian.

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    Contact info:, or 658-8063. The opera is performed at The Grand Opera House.


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