Hubbard Hall Opera is on the Move: “La Traviata” at Proctor’s Feb 7-17

Rachele Schmiege, soprano and Chris Lucier, tenor (above) will be heard in this La Traviata, as will bass-baritone Aaron Taylor (not shown here).

Rachele Schmiege, soprano and Chris Lucier, tenor (above) will be heard in this La Traviata, as will bass-baritone Aaron Taylor (not shown here).

Verdi’s La Traviata Set for Six Performances at Proctor’s in Schenectady
Plus Special Open Rehearsal in Cambridge, NY

by Larry Murray

Moving an opera production from Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, New York to Proctor’s in Schenectady is no small task, but for New York’s opera lovers, it’s the best news in decades. It seems that the fast growing Hubbard Hall Opera Theatre is going to do what even the grand Metropolitan Opera of New York can’t do anymore, actually tour a live production. Professional singers backed up with a 22 piece orchestra, full costumes and state of the art sets in the original kind of high definition that only comes when the performance and voices are live and right in front of you on stage with a full orchestra in the pit.

It is fortunate that the Hubbard Hall Opera Theater (HHOT) has chosen Verdi’s most popular opera, La Traviata, for six performances February 7-17, since the Met hasn’t yet telecast that one yet. (It’s promised for the big flat screen in April). The HHOT opera – which of course is in natural 3-D, will take place at the GE Theater at Proctors, 432 State Street Schenectady, NY. In addition to live music, the performances are fully costumed and staged and sung in Italian (with supertitles), in front of a fifty foot hi-definition screen with will be used for stunning projected set designs by Caite Hevner.

La Traviata is partially sponsored by the Golub Foundation and will be conducted by Maria Sensi Sellner and directed by Heidi Lauren Duke. This dream team is responsible for taking HHOT’s 2011 production of Don Pasquale to 2nd place in the American Prize- a national competition for performing arts (Read about it here), and is back with us by popular demand.

The GE Theater at Proctors (which allows popcorn and cola to be consumed during the performance as all good movie theaters should, as well as champagne, as only the best do) will open its doors on Thursday, February 7, 8, 14 and 15 at 7:30pm and February 10 and 17 at 2pm. Tickets are a steal: $40 general admission/$30 HHP members, children and students, and may be obtained online at or by calling the box office at (518) 346-6204.

La Traviata in rehearsal at Hubbard Hall Opera/.

La Traviata in rehearsal at Hubbard Hall Opera/.

Preview on February 1 in Cambridge, New York

On Friday, February 1st, there is an open piano dress rehearsal of La Traviata at Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, NY: 25 East Main Street, Cambridge, NY, at 8pm. You may reserve tickets for the piano dress online at

About the Opera and Soloists

Verdi’s poignantly tragic La Traviata chronicles the ill-fated romance of Violetta Valéry and Alfredo Germont. Forced to decide between a tenuous independence and her true love, Violetta aims for the fairy tale romance. However, Alfredo’s father brings a dose of sobering reality to the party which puts the faith of both lovers to the ultimate test.

(l to r) Rachele Schmiege, Aaron Taylor and Chris Lucier.

(l to r) Rachele Schmiege, Aaron Taylor and Chris Lucier.

Boston-based soprano, Rachele Schmiege, has sung throughout the United States and Europe and makes her debut here as Violetta Valéry. Chris Lucier, who travels to us from Connecticut, has been lauded by the New York Times as a “standout” tenor voice. He comes to us as Alfredo Germont freshly having won the 2012 Amici Vocal Competition Professional Division. Robert Aaron Taylor, originally from Chattanooga, TN, brings his sonorous bass-baritone to the role of Giorgio Germont, the disapproving father. Mr. Taylor has performed leading roles in houses across the country and critics have lauded him as a voice not to be missed.

HHOT Artistic Director Alix Jones calls La Traviata “a classic opera romance” and “a perfect choice for bringing opera down off of its ivory tower.”

Says Heidi Lauren: “It is this famous untouchable piece and what we do is to pop the bubble with these unexpected elements of modernity. It’s really a lot of fun!”

Alix Jones adds: “People often see opera as this art form that is untouchable and set in stone, but by scaling it back down to a human level the audience can really experience the vibrancy that comes with being so close and in touch with the emotions of these young singers and the raw power of their voices.”

About Hubbard Hall Opera Theater (HHOT)

Founded in 2008 by Alix Jones, HHOT has since presented five critically acclaimed productions with orchestra, Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte (2008); Bizet/Brooks’s La Tragedie de Carmen (2009); Humperdink’s Hansel and Gretel (2010); Donizetti’s Don Pasquale (2011) and Mozart’s Magic Flute (2012). Upcoming season includes special guest concerts at the Saratoga Arts Fest, a summer orchestra production of Barber of Seville at Hubbard Hall, and a touring Carmen next fall.

Building off of the rich tradition of arts in the Cambridge Valley, HHOT seeks to bring yet another element of culture to an already bustling center. Its mission is to provide classically trained singers and instrumentalists in New England and upstate New York greater opportunities to perform key roles in a nurturing environment alongside seasoned professionals. We also strive to give rural audiences the chance to enjoy an affordable opera close to home.

Hubbard Hall is an historic opera house located at 25 E. Main St. in Cambridge, NY. For more information, visit

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