Coppola’s first opera due to open

American film director Sofia Coppola’s first ever opera is about to open at Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. La Traviata features costume design by iconic fashion designer Valentino Garavani and production design from Nathan Crowley. It premieres on 24 May.

The opera came about after Valentino, who sits on Teatro dell’Opera di Roma’s board, saw Coppola’s 2006 film Marie Antoinette. He approached her to direct an opera for the company, stating that Coppola has, ‘a distinctive sensitivity and musical aesthetic, balancing the classic and the modern.’

Speaking to The Guardian, Coppola said that: ‘I thought what an incredible experience to be able to work in the Rome opera house with the beautiful costumes and the team here, so that motivated me to take a chance and do something that was scary and very unfamiliar.’

Coppola won an Academy Award for her 2003 film Lost in Translation (best screenplay) and has also directed The Virgin Suicides (1999), Somewhere (2010) and The Bling Ring (2013).

Jader Bignamini, associate director of the Verdi Orchestra in Milan, leads the orchestra, with Francesca Dotto and Maria Grazia Schiavo alternating in the role of Violetta, while Antonio Poli and Arturo Chacón-Cruz share the role of Alfredo.

The opera has almost sold out its entire 15-performance run, providing a big financial boost for the cash-poor company. La Traviata runs from 24 May to 30 June.