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Celebrated Soprano To Tackle Verdi's 'La Traviata' In Wichita Grand Opera Production

Wichita Grand Opera

Wichita Grand Opera is presenting a performance of Verdi's "La Traviata" this weekend. The part of Violetta will be sung by soprano Larisa Martinez, who will be making her debut in the lead role on Saturday night. 

Interview Highlights

Carla Eckels: Your role as Violetta is a very demanding role. How did you go about embracing that?

Larisa Martinez: Prepare, prepare, practice, practice. I've been working on it a long time now — ever since I auditioned and got the role. You need to have a really good vocal technique so that you can make it to the end.

There is a wonderful video posted of you in Italy taking viewers on a tour of the first theatre where "La Traviata" was staged.

La Fenice in Venice. It premiered in 1853 in that theatre.

How did that make you feel to be there?

Wow, definitely a huge inspiration. It's a really magical place and it made me feel connected to the original ideas and the society where it was played in first. Imagining Verdi giving directions first and thinking that I need to go and study this [and] really go after what he wanted.

Would you say that it's important to have some knowledge of an opera before you actually go to the theatre?

During the time that these operas were written, people used to own the libretto — the story of the opera — and by the time they got there, they already knew what it was about and what was going to happen. They were just letting go and being moved by it.

But this is one opera, even if you don't understand the words — although there [are] going to be subtitles — you should be able to understand what's going on. Verdi did such a great job dramatically, adding the emotion in the music that, even if you didn't know what was happening in the story, you could still be moved by the music.

The Wichita Grand Opera Verdi's 'La Traviata' will be at the Century II Concert Hall on Saturday, April 7, 2018, at 7 p.m.


Carla Eckels is director of cultural diversity and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.


Carla Eckels is Director of Organizational Culture at KMUW. She produces and hosts the R&B and gospel show Soulsations and brings stories of race and culture to The Range with the monthly segment In the Mix. Carla was inducted into The Kansas African American Museum's Trailblazers Hall of Fame in 2020 for her work in broadcast/journalism.