Partly in honor of Giuseppe Verdi’s bicentennial birthday on October 10, 2013, the Atlanta Opera is presenting one of his operas this season, La Traviata (the misguided girl).

This opera is a good one to check out regardless of whether you are an opera pro or not. At the time it was considered controversial when it made its debut in the mid 1800’s.  The topics were considered too controversial and since it took on the look with modern stage, many of the critics hailed it as a disaster. However, what do critics really know?

The story is quite simply this: Violetta Valéry (Mary Dunleavy) is a mature siren who is hosting a fabulous party.  She is quite beautiful and charming. In comes Alfredo Germont (Boris Rudak) who has an instant attraction to Violetta. He is much younger but what does love know about age?

The two quickly fall for each other until Alfredo’s father Giorgio Germont (Weston Hurt) asks for Violetta to dump his son. Their relationship will dishonor his family and his daughter might not be able to find a suitor.

Violetta does that, and gives Alfredo the boot with a “Dear John” letter.  Alfredo can’t believe it until he sees her with the Baron Douphol (Brent Davis) at another party. This then begins a vicious love triangle, where Violetta pretends to love the Baron when she really loves Alfredo.

All the while, Violetta has a nasty bug and coughs a lot, but during this time Alfredo duels and injures the Baron and comes back to seek Violetta, only to find that her cough has gotten worse, now she is too ill to run off with him and dies in his arms.

This opera is tragic, but most are, however the lesson to take away is if you like and love someone then be with them no matter what other people think.

You got to celebrate those moments because you don’t want to get to the end of your life and run out of time to love the one that warmed your heart.

On a side note, a little Oscar glitter sparkles on the Atlanta Opera as Mary Dunleavy had a small cameo in the much celebrated Steven Spielberg Lincoln movie. She was in a small scene where in the movie the President and Ms. Lincoln were fighting and they were an at opera. Dunleavy was singing in the background. (check her for a clip: ) Daniel Day-Lewis who played Lincoln got an Oscar for best male actor, his third.  Dunleavy is the star of this show and her voice is angelic.

Atlanta is home to a vibrant cultural scene and this is one way to enjoy a beautiful art form in our fair city.

Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata is playing for two more performances on Friday March 8 and Sunday March 9, 2013.  For more information and other performances visit:

Two other opera opportunities in Atlanta are:

Georgia State University Opera Theatre presents Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw from April 19-21 – or call (404)413-9849

Next week, check out The Secret Agent by the Capitol City Opera Company from March 15-17, 2013 at the Conant Performing Arts Center on the campus of Oglethorpe University. Visit This company has young performers so it gives you a chance to see the next generation of stars as they rise up the rungs within the opera world.  Bravo!