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La Traviata - RADA Studios

La Traviata

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE MERRY Opera Company is presenting the world premiere of Jane McCulloch’s new English translation of Verdi’s La Traviata at the RADA Studios, where it runs from November 12 to November 15, 2012.

A powerful love story, Opera UK’s production of La Traviata is set in 1936, in Hitler’s Germany, where the tragic courtesan Violetta is the mistress of a Nazi Officer until she embarks on her doomed love affair with the young Alfredo.

Focusing on a straightforward telling of the story accompanied by chamber musicians – Nicholas Allen (cello), Elisa Bergersen (viola), Neil McTaggart (violin), Niall Webb (woodwind) and Stephen Hose (piano) – OperaUK’s production will, according to the press release, break your heart.

OperaUK’s Artistic Director, Jane McCulloch, also directs and designs. Her previous work as a librettist includes BBC1’s The People’s Passion, featuring Jessye Norman and Sir Thomas Allen, and OperaUK’s The Merry Widow.

McCulloch has also written three musicals, a new children’s opera and over 30 new works for the English Chamber Theatre which she founded in 1985 and for whom she has directed stars including Dame Judi Dench, Sir Derek Jacobi, Timothy West and Fenella Fielding.

McCulloch and OperaUK Music Director, Stephen Hose, have enjoyed critical success for their previous OperaUK collaborations on The Merry Widow, Cosi fan Tutte, A Night at the Opera and The Barber of Seville. Hose’s recent credits include The Merry Opera Company’s staged Messiah and their ‘burlesque’ La Traviata which tours to Malaysia later this year.

The role of Violetta is split between Belinda Evans, who first attracted attention when she was a finalist in BBC TV’s How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? but has now established herself as an opera singer, appearing as Mimi for Opera Upclose’s Olivier award-winning La Bohème; and Alison Guill whose career has taken her from performing as Carlotta in the West End’s The Phantom of the Opera to Opera North’s recent Carousel.

Andrew Morris and Mark Cunningham, who share the role of Alfredo, have between them worked with English Touring Opera, D’Oyle Carte, Opera Holland Park and Pavilion Opera and sung in oratorio at the Barbican, Fairfield Halls and across Europe.

The cast also includes Sarah Barnes, Rachel Farr, Loic Guguen, Daniel Norris, Philip Spendley, Glenn Tweedie and Jacqueline White.

Design Consultant for the production is Michael O’Connor, who was awarded an Oscar for his costumes for The Duchess in 2009 and received an Oscar nomination last year for Jane Eyre.

Tickets: £25, £20 concessions; group bookings of 4 or more £20 each. Available from the box office on 020 7307 5060 or online at

Times: Tuesday to Thursday at 7.30pm; plus Wednesday matinee at 2.30pm.