Discount Glitz

Opéra de Montréal opens its 33rd season with Verdi’s La traviata

Lead soprano Myrto Papatanasiu in La traviata Photo courtesy Opera de Montreal

Romantic suspense, heartbreaking tragedy and the tale of one woman’s ultimate demise are the basis of Giuseppo Verdi’s La traviata, which opens Opéra de Montréal’s 2012-2013 season at Place des Arts on Friday. Known for its flowery melodies, famous waltz and epic dramatics, this show is a good education for those new to the world of opera.

According to Pierre Vachon, the Opéra de Montréal Director of Communications, Outreach and Education, opera is important to anyone hoping to acquire an in-depth knowledge of the arts.

“Live performance makes the difference,” said Vachon. “You feel the energy. Something is going on around you.”

To the skeptic, Vachon compares the opera to being present at a sporting event, as opposed to watching it on television.

He stresses the exciting ritual of attending a live opera performance. Unlike attending a film, opera has a certain culture attached to it. This ritual usually constitutes dressing up and dining at your favourite restaurant before making your grand entrance at the Place des Arts. However, Vachon said that opera does not have to be an exclusive or extravagant experience.

“You can come and dress how you feel,” said Vachon, adding that many regular patrons wear jeans.

La traviata, tells the story of an affluent woman, named Violetta, and her downfall in 18th Century Paris—a passionate flurry of financial woes, lustful romances and, ultimately, illness. This year’s performance is set just prior to the First World War during the “mad years of Europe” which, according to Vachon, provides an appropriate backdrop for the opera’s emotional plot.

The cast features award-winning Greek soprano Myrto Papatanasiu, who plays the fallen courtesan, alongside Italian tenor Roberto De Biasio, and Italian Baritone Luca Grassi.

Apart from La traviata, the 2012-2013 Opéra de Montréal season is presenting Richard Wagner’s 1843 epic The Flying Dutchman. There are also pre-show talks by Vachon introducing the operas an hour before the show for $5.

The Opéra de Montréal is ramping up efforts to attract people ages 18 to 30 years old by offering savings on their ticket prices. When you commit yourself to two regular season shows, tickets for each drop to $30. Five shows is a bit of a commitment at $150. Considering the effort and preparation it takes to stage operas of this caliber and length—_La traviata_ is three hours—these options are actually bargains.

La traviata by Opéra de Montréal begins Sept. 15 at Place des Arts (260 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W.) / $30 for 18-30 year-olds with purchase of two tickets / For more info: or call their box office 877-385-2222