La Traviata marks return of opera to Limerick

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

AWARD winning opera producer Ellen Kent is to return to the University Concert Hall with the sumptuous production of Verdi’s La Traviata.

AWARD winning opera producer Ellen Kent is to return to the University Concert Hall with the sumptuous production of Verdi’s La Traviata.

The show, featuring the internationally acclaimed Ukrainian National Opera of Kharkiv, boasts beautiful sets and gorgeous costumes, designed by well-known Russian designer Nadezhda Shvets, and has taken 18 months to bring to the stage.

Kent is one of the principal touring opera and ballet producers in Europe, whose productions came to Limerick on a twice yearly basis on many occasions, packing out the UCH. She has returned after a sabbatical of several years, and promises this will be worth waiting for.

“When the curtains open I want people to say ‘wow!’,” she explained. “I think this is my best La Traviata ever – and I’ve done it dozens of times. It’s a very real performance that I think people will identify with and feel moved.

“My operas have to be emotional and beautiful. Mine isn’t minimalist – it’s traditional opera with a sexy feel.”

International soprano Rosa Lee Thomas will be singing the role Violetta, joined by a 70-strong company including Ruslan Zinevych.

UCH director David Collopy is proud to welcome opera back to Limerick, given the region’s proud heritage in the art form, a throw back to the days of Catherine Hayes and more recently having the likes of Suzanne Murphy and Marie Walsh singing principal roles in major operas across Europe.

“I am personally glad that we have managed to restore an art form that had been here for a long time, was elsewhere for a number of years and is now back in our season,” explained Mr Collopy.

“This is not opera light, it is the full thing with a full orchestra, it is as the composer wrote it - as opposed to somebody’s interpretation of it - and it is a beautiful piece of music,” he explained.

“It has serious vocal weight and it will sound tremendous in the environs of the UCH,” he added.

La Traviata is in the UCH next Wednesday, November 2. Booking on 061-331549.