Metropolitan Opera 2016-17 Preview: Sonya Yoncheva Set To Enchant In Verdi’s ‘La Traviata’

By Francisco Salazar

Willy Decker’s production of Verdi’s “La Traviata” opens on Friday, marking the final revival of the acclaimed production.

Sonya Yoncheva reprises her acclaimed Violetta which critics said, “was a creation full of searching details.”  The soprano has been hailed as one of the great Violettas of our time and has sung the role in Munich, Paris, Zurich and London.

Michael Fabiano makes his Met role debut as Alfredo and Thomas Hampson will return to the production he originated back in 2005 at the Salzburg Festival.

The opera will be conducted by Nicola Luisotti.

The second cast will feature the great Italian soprano Carmen Giannattasio, Atalla Ayan, George Petean and Plácido Domingo.

The Opera

Verdi’s “La Traviata” has captivated audiences around the world for many years even though its premiere in La Fenice was a huge failure. Today it is part of the repertory canon and contains many  of the most famous melodies in the repertoire. Among the many popular pieces in the work are “Libiamo,” the drinking song which is performed often as an encore at concert performances and “Sempre Libera,” one of the most iconic soprano cabalettas.

Many of the greatest sopranos have sung the role to great acclaim, most famously by Maria Callas. It was later conquered by Joan Sutherland, Beverly Sills, Teresa Stratas, Anna Moffo and most recently Anna Netrebko, Diana Damrau, Anna Netrebko, Olga Peretyatko and Marliss Petersen.

Popular Recordings

Maria Callas was one of the most famous interpreters of the work but never made a single studio recording. However, she has three live recordings that are available through Warner Classics, which have been reissued numerous times. Antonietta Stella also has a very famous recording with Giuseppe di Stefano and Ileana Crotubas’ has a version with Plácido Domingo from Deutsche Grammophon. Renata Scotto also has a very impressive recording with Riccardo Muti, which contains no cuts. Other sopranos who have recorded the work include Monserrat Caballé, Mirella Freni, Joan Sutherland, Anna Moffo and Rosanna Carteri.

The current Met production is available with Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón from Salzburg. Thomas Hampson is included in that DVD.  Another recommended DVD is Angela Gheorghiu’s Royal Opera House recording which marked her breakout in the opera world. There is also a recent recording with Diana Damrau from the Opera de Paris and a recording featuring Natalie Dessay.