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La Traviata at South Hill Park

Published: 23 Feb 2012 09:300 comments

Park Opera resides at South Hill Park and is composed of musicians, families, friends and members of the borough's community working together to create tragic, occasionally humorous, and pitch-perfect interpretations of the traditional choral dramas.

IN GOOD VOICE: The Park Opera team

Here, one of the founding members, Sallie Ward, tells The Guide what we can expect from their latest spectacle,Verdi's La Traviata.

"It's an absolutely wonderful opera, one of the most popular in the world. Much of the music is used in films and as background music. One of the most famous songs in the whole thing is sempre Libera... It's the most difficult of all songs to sing, so it's going to be very exciting to see."

La Traviata is a love story, set in 19th Century Paris detailing the tragic romance between the beautiful 'fallen woman' Violetta and young Alfredo.

It has been more than 30 years since the group was founded and some time since they last performed the famous opera, but it's obvious that they have lost none of the love and passion behind the form, putting on productions such as Purcell's Dido and Aeneas which they "knew wouldn't sell", just to indulge in the brilliance of the form.

Not following the usual script, the members sing entirely in English to make it more accesible to their audiences and Sallie added: "The blessing of being in the Wilde Theatre is you can hear every word. You shouldn't miss anything at all."

Of the costumes, made by a designer who spent 18 years working for the English National Opera, Sallie told us: "Verdi deliberately did a modern dressed version so we're going to do something very sumptuous and gorgeous with the costumes to match the fantastic cast, tenors and sopranos."

Sallie continued to talk of the dedication the team has to helping the Arts Centre, that has been their home from the outset, since it suffered a loss in funding, and noted: "We are going to put something about making donations in the programme. If the venue disappeared it would be heartbreaking for us."

See La Traviata until Saturday (February 25) Tickets from £16.50. Call 01344 484123 or visit www.southhillpark.org.uk to book.

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