This is only its third year, but the Finger Lakes Opera has already become a go-to summer music place in our area. FLO's 2015 production of Donizetti's "L'elisir d'Amore" was a treat, and the organization has expanded its summer bill by adding a revue of songs by a musical theater great (last year's saluted Rodgers and Hammerstein). For this weekend's festival, FLO brings together two very different composers who definitely had the popular touch: Irving Berlin and Giuseppe Verdi.
"I Love a Piano" is an evening of great songs by Berlin, the composer-lyricist of "White Christmas," "Annie Get Your Gun," "Call Me Madam," and songs for Astaire and Rogers, Ethel Merman, Ethel Waters, the Marx Brothers, and many, many more. Aaron McAllister and Gary John La Rosa are musical and stage directors, respectively.
Verdi's "La Traviata" presents grand opera's favorite Fallen Woman, the Parisian courtesan Violetta Valery, in an irresistibly romantic tragedy. Soprano Danielle Talamantes, who has sung at the Met and in Carnegie Hall, plays the courtesan who dies for love, one of opera's great roles. Tenor Yi Li plays her lover Alfredo Germont, and baritone Mark Walters plays his father. Fenlon Lamb is the stage director and Gerard Floriano the music director.
Finger Lakes Opera, on the SUNY Geneseo campus, will present "La Traviata" on Friday, August 12, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, August 14, 2 p.m., at Wadsworth Auditorium ($30-$75). "I love a Piano" will be performed Thursday, August 11, 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, August 13, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., at the Alice Austin Theater in Brodie Hall ($20-$30). 245-5650; fingerlakesopera.com