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Interview

Lyric Opera prepares an untrimmed ‘Traviata,’ and star soprano says payoff is dramatic truth

Latvian soprano Marina Rebeka, making her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut as Violetta, applauds inclusion of rarely heard text and music in new production

For its second tribute in this Verdi year, the Lyric Opera of Chicago will present, so to speak, the whole truth about “La traviata.” And Latvian soprano Marina Rebeka, a young but well-tested Violetta making her Lyric debut, is wholly on board with that.

“We will be singing every note that Verdi wrote, all the da capos, everything,” says Rebeka, an emerging star whose credits now include both the Vienna State Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. “It’s longer, and more tiring for the singers, but it’s also the right thing to do for the integrity of the play. We’re all looking for the plain truth.”

The Lyric’s new production, conducted by Massimo Zanetti and directed by Arin Arbus, will incorporate verses usually cut from several arias. Anthony Freud, the company’s general director, advocates for this untrimmed “Traviata” as “a chance to hear something very rare. Performing the complete score strengthens and deepens Verdi’s masterly characterizations, intensifying the relationships between the characters and the motives for their reactions.”

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