Esma Çakır / Napoli, Nov 6 () - Italy-based Turkish director Ferzan Özpetek has directed Guiseppe Verdi’s famous opera “La Traviata” for a second time, premiering the piece on Nov. 3 at Europe’s oldest theater, the Real Tiatro di San Carlo in Naples.
The gala drew great interest from opera lovers, including famous Turkish actress Tuba Büyüküstün, as well as renowned figures from the Italian cinema sector.
During the gala of the three-act opera, inspired by Alexandre Dumas’ novel “The Lady of the Camellias,” the leading roles, Violetta and Afredo, were played by Maria Grazia Schiavo and Spanish tenor Ismael Jordi, respectively.
Özpetek staged “La Traviata,” whose libretto was written by Francesco Marie Piave, in 2012 on the same opera stage and received positive reactions from critics. He also staged the opera “Aida” in 2012 in Florence.
In the current rendition, Özpetek remains largely faithful to the classical story, depicting an East-West synthesis in Paris in 1910.
At the same time, water pipes and Ottoman costumes were used in the first scene of the opera, which features a party at Violetta’s house.
Changes in opera made by Özpetek
For the latest rendition of the opera, Özpetek said he removed some oriental factors that he had used in his first version of “La Traviata.”
“There was a general rehearsal a few days ago. People’s reactions were very nice. I am pleased that they appreciate it. It is bad that people are crying, but I liked it here,” he added.
When asked why he chose Naples for the opera once again, Özpetek said: “[I did this] because they wanted to stage the opera once again. The first one was very good. It was staged in Hong Kong and Bari. It is very interesting that it returned to the stage after a short time.”
Özpetek also highlighted the relation between Violetta and the piece’s father figure, the play’s father-son relationship, as well as a surprise in the final scene.
“When I listened to the music of ‘La Traviata’ three years ago, I noticed that the music of the scenes of father and Violetta was very different. I asked ‘why?’ to myself and thought that the father was Violetta’s lover in the past,” he said.
Özpetek said the final scene had a very pleasant surprise. “It impresses the audience. I am happy with it. The curtain comes down and the audience gets a surprise because Violetta stays with them. The other actors were irritated a bit but then said ‘OK’ because the name of the opera is ‘La Traviata and Violetta,’” he said.
Speaking of his further projects, Özpetek said he was planning a film whose shooting will start in March 2016.
Actress Tuba Büyüküstün attends gala
Büyüküstün, who is expected to be the lead actress in Özpetek’s new film, viewed the opera from the opera box, expressing her contentment with the piece.
As for the film project, she said: “The project was set to start in October but was postponed until March for some reasons. In this way, we get a chance to know each other better. We are trying to make the most of it.”
Büyüküstün did not give any hints as to her role or the identities of the other actors in the film.
Büyüküstün is set to receive a best actress award on Nov. 7 at the International Giuseppe Sciacca Awards at the Vatican.
“I was very surprised when I first heard about the award. How do they know about me? Why are they giving it to me? I failed to understand. But it is very nice to receive an award from the Vatican,” the actress said.
The opera “La Traviata” will be on stage through Nov. 13 at the Real Tiatro di San Carlo.
Özpetek is staging the opera in collaboration with triple-Oscar winner art director Dante Ferretti, costume director Alessandro Lai and famous conductor Nello Santi. The role of Violetta will be alternately played by Schiavo, Irina Lungu and Cinzia Forte Maria Grazia, while Alfredo will be played by Jordi, Stefan Pop and Merunas Vitulskis.