In today’s fast-paced digital life we often lose touch with the many ways in which we evolved to our current mode of living. Technological changes taking place at an alarming rate are leaving behind eras of social mores, economic structures, and personalized communication that guided our style of living for centuries. The world wide web has significantly replaced countless book and periodical sources as the destination for information on anything about which we want to discover, learn more, research, or simply enjoy.

While this speaks to the amazing growth of human potential, it also brings to light how much we’ve left behind. In the opera world we strive to retain the past in a most unusual way — by using our modern skills to transport audiences to memorable times and places that set the path to our 21st century.

Verdi’s “La Traviata” is a milestone in opera history because it is the first “grown-up” opera to abandon historical, biblical, and royal themes, thus becoming immediately accessible to the public at large. What Verdi really didn’t know was that his genius and courage to give the world a new look at opera would pave the way to the timeless formats of Hollywood film, the Broadway stage, and the romantic passion of live opera production throughout the world. Yes, “La Traviata” was the seed.

This fifth mounting of “La Traviata” in Boheme Opera’s 25-year history will indeed honor Verdi’s romantic realism and outstanding musical score with the added updating of its characters and setting to our modern times — cell phones, laptops, iPads and all. V

Violetta Valery (Lorraine Ernest) is a successful, not so healthy fashionista designer who carries the same baggage as the traditional Violetta, only in today’s exciting “Project Runway” 2014 Paris instead of high-society 1850 Paris. She is pursued by — and falls hard in love with — a spoiled wealthy young man, Alfredo Germont (Jeffrey Hartman), whose father Giorgio (Michael Corvino) must rein in to remind of their family notoriety.

In the end Violetta must make the hardest decision of her life. In the whirlwind of her fashionista lifestyle, surrounded by friends who seem to party endlessly, we clearly see the timelessness of Verdi’s vision as he aims it directly at the heart.

Boheme Opera’s “La Traviata”

is directed by Reegan McKenzie, who joins the company after past productions of “Lucia di Lammermoor,” “Carmen,” “I Pagliacci,” “Cavalleria Rusticana,” “Aida,” and “Madama Butterfly.” Conducting the Boheme Opera cast, chorus, and orchestra is BONJ artistic director Joseph Pucciatti.

Digital set design is by J. Matthew Root with technical consulting by Jason Milstein. Lighting design is by Mike Voytko; costume design is by Ann Ryan; makeup/wig/hair design is by Patricia Del Sordo; choreography is by Risa Kaplowitz of Princeton Dance and Theater Studio.

Pre-Curtain Talks by Maestro Pucciatti are one hour before opera, to be sung in Italian with projected English supertitles. Special needs shuttle service is provided on campus from the Brower Student Center drop-off area.

La Traviata, Kendall Main Stage Theater, the College of New Jersey, Ewing. Friday, March 28, 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 30, 3 p.m. $30 to $50. or 609-771-2775 or Brower Student Center box office weekedays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.

Programs for Boheme Opera NJ’s 25th anniversary season are funded in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Department of State and the Boheme Opera Guild, and by Silver Season Sponsors Investors Bank and Stark & Stark Attorneys At Law.

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