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September 13, 2012

Curtain opens on Montreal opera season

MONTREAL — From classics to blockbusters to contemporary productions, the Opera de Montreal celebrates its 33rd season beginning this weekend.

This year’s season, which opens Saturday with “La Traviata,” also includes “The Flying Dutchman,” Die Fledermaus,” “Dead Man Walking” and “Manon.”

“We wanted to give the opera lovers of the area a menu that was extremely varied,” said Artistic Director Michel Beaulac. “So there are some legends and some things more true to life, but all have elements that will appeal to just about everybody.”

‘LA TRAVIATA’

Beaulac says the season opener classic “La Traviata” by Giuseppe Verdi “talks about the everyday life of its times.

“It’s like reality TV in the mid 19th century,” Beaulac said.

“La Traviata” tells the story of Violetta, a courtesan in love with Alfredo, a young man who comes from a very good family.

“It’s the story of these women who would live off their suitors,” Beaulac said. “Everyone is in love with Violetta. Everyone wants to date her. But she’s tired of the situation.”

Violetta soon falls in love with Alfredo, but his family disapproves.

“It’s a very authentic, true-to-life story,” Beaulac said. “And it was very revolutionary at the time Verdi wrote it because it underlined that style of life.”

Beaulac adds that “La Traviata” is one of Verdi’s most poignant and popular operas.

“And popular operas are not popular for nothing,” Beaulac said. “People recognize that. When the music really fits with the character and the emotion and drives into your soul and mind and heart, then it’s a hit. This story is so universal, so timeless.”

“La Traviata” is performed Saturday and again Sept. 18, 20 and 22.

‘THE FLYING DUTCHMAN’

Next is “The Flying Dutchman,” which is just in time for German composer Richard Wagner’s bicentennial of his birth — he was born in 1813.

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