Talented Musicians in Oswego Opera Theater’s La Traviata

Posted on November 5, 2023

Talented Musicians in Oswego Opera Theater’s La Traviata

Oswego Opera Theater’s fall production is Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata, one of his best loved and most frequently performed operas. This will be presented on Saturday, November 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, November 12 at 2:00 p.m. in Waterman Theater, Tyler Hall on the SUNY Oswego campus.

The story is based on a novel, La dame aux Camélias (The Woman of the Camelias) written by Alexandre Dumas (fils) in 1848. Dumas turned his book into a play in 1852, and it was adapted into an opera libretto by Francesco Maria Piave in 1853. This was La Traviata.

The plot of La Traviata revolves around Violetta (a courtesan) and Alfredo (a young bourgeois) falling deeply in love, but facing societal pressures, class differences, and Alfredo’s father’s disapproval. Despite their love for each other, they are ultimately torn apart, leading to heartbreak and tragedy. The opera explores themes of love, sacrifice, social norms, and the conflict between personal desires and societal expectations. It is in three acts. Act I is in Violetta’s salon in Paris; Act 2, Scene 1 is in Violetta’s country house outside of Paris and Scene 2 is in Flora’s town house; Act 3 is in Violetta’s bedroom.

All talented cast members have sterling credentials and come from a variety of musical backgrounds and experiences throughout the United States and beyond. Violetta, one of Verdi’s most demanding roles, is sung by soprano Julia Ebner, a native of Syracuse with extensive operatic performances in numerous American opera companies. Alfredo Germont, her lover, is sung by Alonzo Jordan López, a tenor from NYC who also has wide operatic experience.

Besides the two lovers, the story has several other important characters, all sung by performers with impressive resumes. Giorgio Germont, Alfredo’s father, who convinces Violetta to reject his son due to social concerns, is sung by baritone Michael Niemann. Born in Germany, the son of opera singers, he spent his childhood in Europe and California, and has sung leading roles with the New York City Opera, the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, the Chautauqua Operas, and many others, receiving excellent reviews.

Two other principal characters are Flora, Violetta’s friend who is also a courtesan, portrayed by Amanda Li. Baron Douphol, Violetta’s protector is played by Ben May. Both Ms. Li and Mr. May are faculty members of the Music Department in SUNY Oswego. Amanda created and/or premiered operatic roles in San Francisco, Hong Kong, and other cities in the United States and Europe. Amanda teaches voice, and Ben is the director of choral music at the college.

Gastone de Letorieres, Alfredo’s friend, is played by Thomas Gilbo, currently a junior at SUNY Oswego, who has appeared in several musicals and operas on campus. Marchese d’ Obigny, friend of Flora, is sung by Ben Spierman, also one of the company’s co-artistic directors. Annina, Violetta’s maid, is portrayed by Megan McGarvey, professional actor and singer in many regional and national touring theater productions and multiple film, TV, and commercial

projects, who is now serving as an adjunct professor in the college’s Theater Department. Dottore Grenvil, Violetta’s physician and friend, is performed by Adam Fine, who is no stranger to Oswego audiences in previous operas and can be heard on a nationally syndicated radio program, aired weekly on WCNY Classic FM. Giuseppe, Violetta’s servant, is sung by Eric Lamp, who has had a 35 year career in NYC as actor, singer, and dancer; he also serves as the costume designer for this opera.  The Messenger is played by Daniel Williams, a multi-talented musician as singer, accompanist, and director for musicals throughout Central New York. 

Chorus members, who serve as Friends, Gypsies, and Matadors, are local musicians: Meg Adelman, Sarah Adelman, Gemma Barberio, Ben Capilets, Nicholas Cusano, Nijel Dubuisson, Elizabeth Dunn, Grace Gorczynski, Cameron Humphrey, Sean Hurley, Madelyn Kane, Eric Lamp, Pam Kuczawa, Griffin Marriner, Mackenzie Shields, Christopher Toussaint, and Daniel Williams.

Orchestra members are: Violins: Noah Fields, Caroline Chatterton, and Emily Baer; Viola: Sofia Moon; Cello:  Jordan Gunn; Double Bass: Brian McIlroy; Flute: Kristen Jorgensen; Oboe: Trevor Jorgensen; Clarinet: Deb Farden; Bassoon: Judy Marchhione; Horn: Margie Hawthorne; Trumpet: Terry Caviness

The two artistic directors of La Traviata, Juan La Manna (of Oswego) and Benjamin Spierman (of New York City), are the ones who made this production possible. Their combined talents and backgrounds, along with their vast experiences in the world of opera, dedication, and hard work have combined all the dimensions of music and drama into a unified operatic production.

Tickets are available at the SUNY Oswego Box Office in the Marano Campus Center, or online at tickets.oswego.edu, or by phone at 315 312-3073.

Prices are $30 for general admission, $25 for senior citizens, and $10 for students.

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