The debut of the new production of La Traviata at the Teatre dell’Opera di Roma marks a lot of firsts. This will be the first time, for instance, that soprano Francesca Dotto will be performing arias in four-inch heels. It’s a small detail, but a telling one: This is an opera unlike any other.
And that, of course, is down to the fact that this Traviata is the first opera sponsored by the Fondazione Valentino. Dotto, playing the lead role of Violetta, has been costumed by Mr. Valentino himself—a creative endeavor the maestro has dreamt of for decades. Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, the creative directors of Maison Valentino, have chipped in costumes for other members of the Traviata cast. That’s another first. And the production’s director, Sofia Coppola, is likewise making her opera debut—luckily, she could call on her great-uncle, the conductor Aldo Coppola, for advice as she was getting started on the months-long prep work for the extravaganza. Coppola, best known for films such as Lost in Translation and Marie Antoinette, reeled in another movie-world pro to design the sets; that would be Nathan Crowley, whose credits include Interstellar and Christopher Nolan’s artful series of Batman flicks.
These first-timers haven’t stinted on their efforts to make this version of Verdi’smagnum opus into a feast for all the senses. It took 800 hours to make just one of the four dresses Mr. Valentino designed for Dotto. Similar attention has been lavished on the other aspects of the production, which will be conducted by Jader Bignamini of the Verdi Orchestra in Milan. Tickets for the fifteen-show run of La Traviata are already nearly sold out—and the seats for the opening will be filled with a bevy of A-listers, in the classic Valentino style. What the lucky attendees will see is an interpretation of La Traviata that fuses the traditional and the modern in much the same way that Mr. Valentino’s collections for the maison always did, giving the timelessly beautiful an au courant spin. There will be many firsts in this Traviata, but when it comes to creating an enduring vision of romance, for team Valentino, that’s old hat.
Photos courtesy of Teatro dell'Opera di Roma.