Sir David McVicar production to tour Scotland this summer

Anush Hovhannisyan as Violetta and Peter Gijsbertsen as Alfredo in the 2017 production of La traviata, Scottish Opera 2017. (Photo: Jane Hobson)

AUDIENCES in Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh have the chance to experience a revival of world-renowned director Sir David McVicar’s (Il trittico 2023) treasured production of Giuseppe Verdi’s La traviata this summer. Opening at Theatre Royal Glasgow on 8 May, this passionate staging began life at Scottish Opera in 2008 and has frequently been seen at the houses of co-producers Teatro Real Madrid, Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, and Welsh National Opera. It brings the Company’s 61st Season to a sumptuous close.

Soprano Hye-Youn Lee performs Violetta – one of her signature roles – in Scotland for the first time. Hye-Youn has appeared, to great acclaim, in numerous productions with the Company including in 2023’s Carmen as Micaëla and in the title role of Daphne, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni in 2022, Madame Mao in 2019’s Nixon in China, and Mimi in 2017’s La bohème. La traviata is conducted by Scottish Opera Music Director Stuart Stratford.

The first-rate cast is a fine balance of international stars and homegrown talent, with the role of the courtesan’s lover Alfredo sung by Ji-Min Park in his Scottish Opera debut. He is joined by Phillip Rhodes (Carmen 2023) as Giorgio Germont, Nicholas Lester (Nixon in China 2019) as Baron Douphol, and Scottish Opera’s current Associate and Emerging Artists, Lea Shaw, Monwabisi Lindi and Ross Cumming.

Reviving the original production is Director Leo Castaldi, with Andrew George as Choreographer and Sirena Tocco as Assistant Choreographer. Set during the Belle Époque, the luscious designs of this gripping Verdi tragedy are by Tanya McCallin with Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, revived here by Robert B. Dickson.

Violetta Valéry lives on borrowed time. In the hedonistic social scene of late 19th century Paris, she squeezes each day for its joys before her illness catches up with her. When the idealistic young Alfredo offers true love, happiness seems possible – but her past has exacted a price.

La traviata has inspired countless retellings, including cult favourite films Pretty Woman and Moulin Rouge! Verdi’s iconic opera is one of the most popular in the world, and with its host of famous songs including ‘Brindisi’ (‘The Drinking Song’), featuring a full chorus and dancers, and Violetta’s moving aria ‘Sempre libera’ (‘Always free’), it is an ideal introduction to those not familiar with the artform. McVicar’s production gets to the core of this tale of doomed love, finding a heartbreakingly human story in the midst of decadent high society.

Scottish Opera Music Director Stuart Stratford said: ‘La traviata is as direct and shocking for us today as when it was premiered in 1853. Not concerned with gods or royalty, the story is about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. Verdi is at the height of his musical and dramatic powers, and has unparalleled control of his forces. He expertly crafts the details and plot of the story, but gives space for unforgettable arias and ensembles which seem frozen in dramatic time, and characterise this opera as being surely one of the greatest in the operatic canon.’

Those who wish to discover more about how La traviata was created can attend Pre-show Talks, which delve into the detail of the opera. Tickets are free but should be booked in advance. Audience members with a visual impairment can enjoy the full opera experience at Audio-described performances, which have a live commentary describing the action on stage without compromising the music. There are free Touch Tours of the set, and a live audio introduction before the start of the performance.

There are also two Access performances of La traviata, in Glasgow and Edinburgh, kindly supported by Scottish Opera’s Education Angels. With Dementia Friendly values at their core, these shortened performances are open to all. Performed by a full cast and orchestra, they also feature a presenter to introduce the story, characters, and music. There are wheelchair spaces and extra staff on hand to help. There is also a smaller capacity to allow everyone space, and brighter lighting levels in the auditorium, giving the audience the flexibility and freedom to move about as required.

Tickets for La traviata, which is supported by Scottish Opera’s ‘Play a Supporting Role’ Appeal, can be booked at

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