|Lady Of The Camellias|
Royal Opera singer visits Chiswick House
Internationally acclaimed soprano Ailyn Pérez visited Chiswick House Camellia Festival which opens to the public, March 1st and runs to 30th.
Ms Pérez, who sings the role of Violetta in The Royal Opera’s production of La traviata (based on Alexandre Dumas fils’s play and novella La Dame aux camélias – The Lady of the Camellias) this May, visited the heritage collection of camellias at Chiswick House. The camellia plays a vital role in Verdi’s La traviata, as it affirms Violetta’s relationship with her lover Alfredo in Act I.
Image by Anna Kunst
Ailyn Pérez first sang the role of Violetta for The Royal Opera in 2010 in Japan, when she stepped into the role midway through a performance, taking over from a colleague who became unwell during the first act. It is now one of her her signature roles.
When Verdi’s opera had its premiere in 1853, camellias were the height of fashion as the luxury flower, worth hundreds of pounds, which is why Chiswick House’s Camellias, many of which were planted back in 1828, were and continue to be, so important to this day.
The famous Parisian courtesan Marie Duplessis, made these prestigious flowers her emblem, and it was her story which inspired Dumas fils’s La Dame aux camélias, the play and novella on which Verdi’s La traviata is based.
The Chiswick House Camellia collection includes rare and historically important examples of japonicas, among which is the unique Middlemist’s Red, originally brought to Britain from China in 1804, one of only two in the world known to exist – the other being in New Zealand.
All funds raised from the Festival support Chiswick House & Gardens Trust, a registered charity dedicated to the preservation and continued enhancement of Chiswick House Gardens, which are open free to the public every day from 7am until dusk.
Clare O'Brien, director of the Chiswick House and Gardens Trust with John Watkins of English Heritage
The Chiswick House Camellia Festival 2014
Chiswick House, London, W4 2QN
Dates: 1st March – 30th March 2014
Conservatory opening hours: Daily 10.30 am – 4pm (Closed Mondays)
Chiswick House: exclusive ‘Festival’ weekend openings 10am – 4pm
Advance bookings and information: www.chgt.org.uk
Tickets: £8 including free Camellia Show guide.
Memberships: English Heritage & National Art Pass £5
Children under 16: Free
TicketWeb or call 0844 477 1000
For details of group bookings (discounts for 10+) and group tours Tel: 020 8742 3905.
February 28, 2014