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Opera in Williamsburg
World-Class Opera in Little Williamsburg
Listen to full audio interview here
On April 23, the opera company Opera in Williamsburg will perform its production of Giuseppe Verdi’s classic opera, La Traviata, at the Kimball Theatre in Williamsburg, VA. This one-night-only event features an international award-winning cast, including soprano Emily Duncan-Brown as Violetta, tenor Won Whi Choi as Alfredo, and baritone Jose Sacin as Germont, and Paul Nadler of the Metropolitan Opera will conduct the music. In a place like Williamsburg where opera is not one of its claims to fame, gathering such a group of world-class artists is without a doubt an incredible feat.
So how did it pull it off? How did Opera in Williamsburg manage to bring such talented artists to Williamsburg? The story begins in the summer of 2011, when founder and owner of Opera in Williamsburg Naama Zahavi-Ely attended a production of L’Elisir d’Amore at the International Vocal Arts Institute in Israel. She explains, “I was listening to the end of The Elixir of Love that was directed by Carlos Conde, who is now one of my directors but I didn’t know then that that would be the case, and Emily Duncan-Brown, who is our Violetta, was singing the role of Adina. And she was in the last final aria, which is incredibly beautiful, and I went from thinking, ‘Oh, I wish my friends in Williamsburg could see this,’ to ‘Just a minute, why not?’” From there, through a lot of asking and some chance situations, Zahavi-Ely founded Opera in Williamsburg and showcased two productions, and the connections that she built through these productions led her to bring La Traviata to Williamsburg.
In this episode of Stories in the Sky, Zahavi-Ely talks with Victor Russo about Opera in Williamsburg’s beginnings, the production of La Traviata, and her hopes for her company.
Naama Zahavi-Ely is the founder and owner of the opera company Opera in Williamsburg. You can find more information on Opera in Williamsburg and buy tickets for its production of La Traviata by visiting its website at http://operainwilliamsburg.org/.
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