A Courtesan Is Forced To Renounce Her One True Love In Florida Grand Opera"s "La Traviata"

The surprising virtue of FGO's 11th retelling of Verdi's "La Traviata" is that for all the performers singing high E's at the top of their lungs, for all their falling to their knees in sorrow or illness, and for all their oversize passions, it's believable.

Take that from Bill Hirschman of Floridatheateronstage.com, whose prose flows neatly from the "Hasta, Alfredo" lead-in on Sun Sentinel's dollar.

"Honor is due Maria Alejandres, who debuted at FGO last year in "Romeo et Juliette". Her Violetta not only conquers the coloratura passages of the first act, when she is a party girl living for the moment in the shadow of fatal disease, but also the lyric soprano demands of the third act, when tuberculosis catches up with her.

"She brings a deep passion to the second act, when her lover's father pressures her to renounce Alfredo. Alejandres is unusually effective following her superb rendition of "E Strano." She is resolved to return to her hedonistic lifestyle, but physically stumbles when the transfixing sound of Alfredo wafts in from off stage."

The performance schedule is so tightly compressed that the three lead roles are double-cast. The "second team" will include Suzanne Vinnik, making both her FGO and Violetta debuts; American tenor John Bellemer, who has sung the role of Alfredo before: and Joo Won Kang, a young Korean baritone who has worked in San Francisco, playing the father. To identify who appears at which performances, visit FGO.org.