Reverence and restoration: Opera West! and Opera Southwest revisit opera's greatest hits

Sarah Asmar as Violetta and Kirk Dougherty as Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata

Nothing ignites passionate debate between opera fans more than updated settings of beloved operas. Some see them as a necessary means to inject theatrical vitality into an often-inert art form, while others deplore them as virtually sacrilegious, demanding to see productions that their composers would have recognized.

Those from the latter camp have a lot to be happy about over the next 10 days, with traditional stagings of Giacomo Puccini’s Madame Butterfly in Santa Fe and Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata in Albuquerque.

The former is produced by Opera West!, a newcomer to New Mexico’s music scene, while the latter comes from Opera Southwest, which is in its 49th season. [The similarity in their names is an unfortunate but potentially rectifiable situation.] Both operas will be performed in smaller venues with ticket prices that start around $20, and both are sung in Italian.

Reverence and restoration: Opera West! and Opera Southwest revisit opera's greatest hits

Alejandra Martinez shares the title role of Madame Butterfly

Reverence and restoration: Opera West! and Opera Southwest revisit opera's greatest hits

Jose Heredia plays Pinkerton

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