Opera performances set for Feb. 3 and Feb. 5

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Members of the Painted Sky Opera are preparing for their final opera of this inaugural season, “La Traviata,” and hoping to bring a new generation to the theater.

“We think that the only reason somebody may not like an opera is because they have not seen an opera,” said Barbara DeMaio, executive director of Painted Sky Opera. “If we can get them into the theater, we think they will like it.”

Based on the novel “The Lady of the Camellias,” “La Traviata” is a love story between the main character and a wealthy man named Alfredo Germont.

Taking on the main character of Violetta Valery is Nicole Van Every, a soprano who said singing the part is a dream of hers and that she is hoping to live up to the demands.

“I feel like I am at home in my voice when I sing the part,” said Van Every, who has been practicing four hours every day for the two performances.

“La Traviata” has not been performed in Oklahoma City since 2000, but Van Every said many people will recognize the opera from scenes in the movie “Pretty Woman.”

“Opera can be a very powerful experience,” Van Every said. “People would be surprised to learn that it is a lot more accessible than you might first think. Every opera is essentially telling the human story.”

Performances are at 8 p.m. Feb. 3 and 2 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Civic Center’s Freede Little Theatre. The show lasts 2½ hours with two intermissions.

Tickets are $35 for adults and $20 for students, military personnel and seniors and can be purchased on the Oklahoma City Civic Center website. The opera is rated as mature content. The production will feature a 16-member orchestra.

“I have known many people who told me that they did not like opera, and I have told them to come and see me sing something, and they walked out and they are hooked,” DeMaio said.

“La Traviata” will be performed in Italian, but superscripts will be shown.

‘Music makes us better’

Painted Sky Opera was launched last year with a performance of “La Canterina,” and leaders have made it a mission to reach out into the community by visiting schools and retirement communities across the metro area.

“I am so happy to give opportunities to young singers and to bring opera to my hometown,” DeMaio said. “Music makes us better. Music awakens all of our senses.”

Seeing an increase in the number of community theaters and others arts programs, DeMaio is hoping to continue to see Oklahoma City grow its art community and create a new culture among the younger generations.

Painted Sky Opera will present three performances next season, with one large opera and two chamber works. DeMaio said the lineup will be introduced during the opening night of “La Traviata.”

CAPTION: Nicole Van Every practices with her voice teacher, Kim Josephson, for her lead role in “La Traviata.” [Photo by Eriech Tapia, for The Oklahoman]

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