Florida Grand Opera (FGO), in its 82nd continuous season, features three of the lyric stage’s most popular titles. United by the universal appeal of their very different scores, grounded in the lives of real people, and steeped in romance both gritty and glittery, this trio takes audiences from the elite salons of Paris to dusty Sicilian towns before returning to Paris’ chilly garrets.
The 2023-2024 season kicks off with Giuseppe Verdi’s “La traviata,” Nov. 11, 12 and 14 at the Arsht Center and Nov. 30 and Dec. 2 at the Broward Center.
Violetta is a renowned Parisian courtesan who attempts to deny her ongoing battle with tuberculosis. When young Alfredo declares his love for her, however, she cannot resist, and abandons her career in favor of a quiet country life with him. The lovers’ idyll is interrupted when Alfredo’s father shows up to demand that they separate for the sake of his young daughter, lest the family’s reputation be tarnished.
Ecuadoran stage director Chia Patino makes her FGO debut and conductor Joe Illick, former Artistic Director of Greater Miami Opera, returns to the FGO podium for the first time since 1994.
“I pagliacci” (“The Clowns”) is another tale rooted in reality, this time from composer/librettist Ruggero Leoncavallo’s childhood. His father, a magistrate, presided over a case which involved an actor murdering his unfaithful wife on stage during a performance or a squabble over a village girl in which a Leoncavallo family servant was killed, according to music historians who differ on the accounts.
“I pagliacci” runs January 27, 28, and 30 at the Arsht Center and February 8 and 10 at the Broward Center. Stage director Jeffrey Marc Buchman and conductor Gregory Buchalter once again join forces to guide the production’s artistic direction.
The season concludes with “La bohème,” April 6, 7 and 9 at the Arsht Center and May 2 and 4 at the Broward Center. Based on a set of loosely connected stories by Henri Murger entitled “Scènes de la vie de bohème,” this Romantic opera by Giacomo Puccini explores the lives of young artists struggling to make ends meet in the Latin Quarter of Paris.
The opera showcases Puccini’s most memorable melodies, including the tenor anthem “Che gelida manina,” the soaring love duet “O soave fanciulla” and Musetta’s Waltz. Matt Cooksey, FGO’s director of artistic operations, directs and conductor Joseph Mechavich returns for the first time since leading “Werther” in 2019.
For tickets and more information, go to FGO.org.