Entertainment & Arts

Sofia Coppola to make opera debut in Rome with La Traviata

Sofia Coppola Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Sofia Coppola impressed the opera house and its patron, fashion designer Valentino Garavani, with her historical feature film Marie Antoinette

Film director Sofia Coppola is to make her live opera debut in Rome later this year.

Coppola, an Oscar-winner for Lost in Translation, will direct a new production of Giuseppe Verdi's tragedy La Traviata at the Rome Opera.

She was enlisted by fashion designer Valentino Garavani, a fan since seeing her lavish 2006 film Marie Antoinette.

The venue and its patron Garavani - known as Valentino - said the drama balanced "the classic and the modern".

Like Marie Antoinette, Verdi's opera is set in 18th Century Paris.

But, based on the play La Dame aux Camelias by Alexandre Dumas fils - the son of The Count of Monte Cristo author Alexandre Dumas - it tells the story, not of a queen but of a young courtesan who sacrifices all for love.

Rome Opera Foundation's general manager Carlo Fuortes said the production of La Traviata would take inspiration from the world of film and would be a "momentous event".

Coppola, the daughter of Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola, won the best original screenplay Oscar for her 2003 film Lost Translation, starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.

Her other notable films include The Virgin Suicides and Somewhere, for which she won the Golden Lion at the Berlin Film Festival.

Nathan Crowley, who worked on two Batman movies, will design the production.

Meanwhile, Valentino will fittingly create the costumes for his collaboration with Coppola. He will be helped by the two designers who took over from him at the fashion house that still bears the Valentino trademark name.

The involvement of the celebrated fashion designer has been a big boost for the Rome Opera House whose finances have been hit hard by the European financial crisis.

It finally returned to break even last year after cutting costs and accepting state funds. The engagement of the world famous designer has added extra kudos, funds, and now celebrity sway.

There will be 15 shows of La Traviata from 24 May to 30 June.

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