Tales Of Love And Loss Take Over The Pacific Symphony

Rolando Sanz

Rolando Sanz and Elizabeth Caballero are ill-fated lovers in the Opera La Traviata at Pacific Symphony starting Feb. 20

Composer Giuseppe Verdi’s passionate story of a doomed love affair highlights the third season of Pacific Symphony’s “Symphonic Voices” initiative. Opera returns to Orange County as Music Director Carl St. Clair puts Verdi’s glorious works center stage. La Traviata will be performing Thurs, Feb. 20; Sat, Feb. 22; and Tues, Feb. 25, at 8 p.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.

Guest vocalists joining the Pacific Symphony’s rendition of this Verdi classic piece include Tenor Rolando Sanz as Alfredo Germont and soprano Elizabeth Caballero as Violetta Valéry. Sanz and Caballero have been performing La Traviata around the country as part of the Opera’s 200th Anniversary in 2013.

“This is such a touching Opera of romance, love and loss that gives the performers a range of emotion to display through music and song,” said Sanz. “I looking forward to collaborating with Maestro St. Clair and the musicians of Pacific Symphony through this classic piece by Verdi.”

Sanz, a Yale University School of Music graduate, has performed with many different symphonies around the world in roles including Rodolfo in La Bohème with Palm Beach Opera and Opera Idaho, Nemorino in L’elisir d’Amore with Opera Idaho, Paolo in Rachmaninoff’s Francesca da Rimini with the Princeton Festival, Pinkerton (cov) in Madame Butterfly with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and Duca di Mantua with Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra and Annapolis Opera.

Sanz was recently awarded First Place at the Florida Suncoast Opera Guild Competition, the Grand Prize as well as the Conductor Award and the Audience Choice Award at the Annapolis Opera Vocal Competition, and First Prize at the Marie E. Crump Vocal Competition.

Sanz and his brother, conductor Kristofer Sanz, are co-founders and Artistic Directors of a musical youth mentoring nonprofit called Young Artists of America (YAA). YAA was created to provide talented young musicians with exceptional opportunities to be mentored by professional artists while gaining experience in fully orchestrated performances of large-scale works of opera, musical theater, and oratorio.

“Artistically, my brother and I were always on separate paths with our music. I was following vocal training and he was more instrumental, so we really did not play music together when we were younger,” explained Sanz. “This organization gives us an opportunity to help young artists and come together for a common cause although our schedules do not always permit us to work with the youth organization at the same times.”

Cuban American Caballero has been heard in many theaters throughout North America including the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera, Florida Grand Opera, New York City and many others.

“Caballero and I have really enjoyed performing La Traviata around the country for the Opera’s anniversary,” said Sanz. “There is always a new excitement performing such a powerful piece with a new symphony and in front of a different audience.”

Verdi’s Opera tells the story of Violetta Valery, a Parisian courtesan and an unfortunate heroine who captures our sympathies from the very first chords of La Traviata. Among the many unique qualities of this opera, Verdi gives the audience a character study of a woman more layered and intimately observed than any of his other female characters.

Playing the part of Alfredo, I think it is important to focus on what a romantic he is in his love for Violetta,” said Sanz. “This is so new to her and helps her fall in love with him.”

Her contradictory mix of glittering charm, inner goodness and social disapprobation attracted Verdi, who had known his share of ostracism. Because the darker realities of the courtesan’s life went unspoken in polite society, they were often eclipsed by its luxurious refinements. Courtesans were beautiful women surrounded by beautiful things and even respected as arbiters of fashion, but they were also virtually owned by men who sexually objectified them, sometimes brutally. They were kept only as long as it pleased their patrons to do so.

Also joining the Pacific Symphony to help tell the story of this ill-fated romance is A. Scott Parry and Mark Delavan. Parry productions have spanned an enormous range of repertoire, from “West Side Story” to “Madama Butterfly” and “La Bohéme” to “La Cage aux Folles.” Delavan is sought after throughout the United States and Europe for the most demanding roles in his repertoire including performances of Gianciotto in Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini at the Metropolitan Opera, the title role in Rigoletto for Pittsburgh Opera, Scarpia in Tosca for San Francisco Opera, the Dutchman in Der Fliegende Holländer at the Princeton Music Festival.

A preview talk with Alan Chapman begins at 7 p.m. Tickets for all performances are $25 to $109. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org