La Traviata

North West and Spark Opera join forces to stage Verdi's seminal story of love, hypocrisy and self-sacrifice at the Millennium Forum

Giuseppe Verdi’s operatic masterpiece La Traviata will be staged in a unique collaboration between the North West and Spark Opera companies at the Millennium Forum in August 2015.

Drawing together a cast of international professional singers, live orchestra and an 80-strong chorus, La Traviata (the Fallen Woman), tells the tragic love story of Violetta and Alfredo through evocative arias and choruses.

The production is being brought to Derry~Londonderry by two opera powerhouses; international soprano Ann Jennings, founder of Donegal based North West Opera, and Kate Guelke, a young, inspirational directorial talent and founder of Belfast-based Spark Opera.

Making high quality, live opera accessible to a regional audience is very much a key aim of both opera companies. The cross-border collaboration has secured funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, which has enabled the commissioning of a professional orchestra, international operatic soloists, a full stage production team and the welcome return of Nader Abbassi, the internationally acclaimed conductor. 

Nader, previously of the Cairo Opera, was engaged by North West Opera on their sellout success Carmen at the An Griánan Theatre.

Both Jennings and Guelke are driven by the philosophy that opera is for everyone. 'People listen to opera all the time without realising it,' says Jennings, rejecting the view that opera is elitist. 'Operatic works have been plundered by TV, film and advertising because they are powerful pieces of music which can evoke drama and strong emotions.'

Guelke adds that to experience the true strength of opera you really need to go to a live performance: 'Experiencing a full production opera live is totally unique,' she says. 'Trained professionals fill an auditorium with their voices, without the aid of microphones, which adds a dimension that you simply cannot appreciate even from good recordings.

'La Traviata is one of the most performed operas in the world and is so popular due to its marriage of drama and fantastic music. Even if you aren't an opera buff I can guarantee you will recognise some of the melodies. Opera is for everyone and we are bringing a top notch production right here to your doorstep.'

La Traviata will be performed at the Millennium Forum on the August 7 and 8. For booking information visit For more opera, performing arts and music events in your area see our What's On section.