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October 26, 2011

Midweek Madness: The letter-reading passage from 'La Traviata'

As you know by now, Lyric Opera Baltimore is getting ready for its first bow -- a production of Verdi's "La traviata" Nov. 4 and 6. If all goes well, the new company will fill the void left when the Baltimore Opera Company went bust in 2009.

In order to make sure that you get the maximum out of this "Traviata,"  I thought it would be useful to go over a particularly crucial scene  -- the reading of the letter by the oh-so-tragic character of Violetta in Act 2. I found the ultimate explanation and delivery of said letter-reading and ...

would like to share it here. I am not sure even the fine soprano Elizabeth Futral, who will lead the Lyric Opera cast, could reach this level.

Yes, Midweek Madness fans, it's Mari Lyn time again. If this doesn't move you to tears, nothing will:

Posted by Tim Smith at 6:04 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Clef Notes, Midweek Madness, Opera


Thank you. The genius of Verdi inspires us all.

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
View the Artsmash blog

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