Violetta is seated on a sofa talking to the Doctor and other friends, who come and go. Some of the guests turn to meet a group of new arrivals, amongst whom are the Baron and Flora, on the arm of the Marquis. ALL Yes, pleasure adds zest to life. The servants prepare the table. The servants, meanwhile, have laid the supper table. The servant nods assent.
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Like Violetta in the opera, Duplessis had conquered Parisian society with her wit, charm, and beauty, but her reign was a brief one—she died of tuberculosis in at age Verdi attended the play in in Paris , where he was spending the winter. The composer had already read the novel and had begun to conceive of an opera based on the story. La Fenice had been clamouring for a new work; although the theatre would supply funding and performers, Verdi was afraid its singers would not do the opera justice.
He was right. Of the primary cast members, only the soprano who played Violetta Fanny Salvini-Donatelli was adequate as a singer. Unfortunately, she was 38 years old and overweight.
When La traviata premiered, audience members openly mocked the idea that she could possibly be a desirable courtesan, let alone one wasting away from tuberculosis. The scale is intimate and bourgeois, not heroic or noble. Verdi was adamant that the opera be set in the present day that is, the s , with modern costumes.
Opera companies would not comply, insisting on setting the story in the early 18th century. The story feels immediate, and the melodies are beautiful. Practically speaking, the demands on orchestra and singers do not overburden the resources of even modest opera companies.
Violetta, a Parisian demimondaine, is hosting a party. Gastone tells her that during her recent illness, Alfredo had inquired after her daily. Violetta, amused, cannot understand why and teases her lover, Baron Douphol, that he did not do the same.
The Baron explains that he has known her only a year, but she retorts that Alfredo has known her only a few minutes. Flora tells the annoyed Baron that it would have been better for him to have kept silent. Gastone, meanwhile, urges the shy Alfredo to speak; Violetta pours him a glass of champagne as encouragement. Gastone asks the Baron to propose a toast; the Baron refuses, so Gastone turns to Alfredo, who hesitates until Violetta assures him that it would please her.
Violetta invites everyone to go to the ballroom for dancing but is stricken with dizziness. Her friends try to help her, but she insists that she will be fine and sends them all into the ballroom. Alone, she looks at herself in the mirror and is shocked to see how pale she is. Alfredo comes up behind her to ask if she is feeling better. She tells him that she is, but he replies that she must take better care of herself; he says that if she were his, he would always watch over her.
When she brushes this off, saying that no one takes care of her, he answers that no one loves her but he. Now Violetta laughs at him, and he chides her for being heartless. When she replies that perhaps she does have a heart, he responds that if she did, she would not make fun of him, for he has loved her deeply for a year. Gastone drops in from the ballroom to see what is going on, and Violetta assures him there is nothing.
Alone once more, Violetta makes Alfredo promise not to speak of love again. He is about to leave in a huff when, taking pity on him, Violetta gives him one of her camellias and asks him to bring it back when it has faded. Alfredo is thrilled, but Violetta still cannot believe that he really loves her. They say their goodbyes just as the guests come crowding into the salon to make their own farewells.
But she casts aside the thought as foolishness. La traviata. Article Media. Info Print Print. Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. See Article History. Britannica Quiz. Famous Musical Works: Fact or Fiction? Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription.
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DM's opera site. Composers Operas Links Forum About. In the background a door, opening to another room. There are two other lateral doors; to the left, a fireplace with a mirror over the mantel. In the centre of the room, a huge table richly laden. Violetta is seated on a sofa, talking with Dr Grenvil and other friends. Some of her friends go to greet various guests as they arrive.
La Traviata - Libretto d'opera
Violetta, at a party in her house, is moved to learn that the young Alfredo Germont is in love with her. There are, however, hints already that she is suffering from consumption. They set up house together in the country, but Violetta secretly sells her jewels to meet the expenses they now incur. Alfredo learns of this from Violetta's maid, Annina, and goes to Paris to raise money. In his absence his father arrives, seeking to persuade Violetta to leave Alfredo, whose behaviour prejudices the marriage chances of his sister, as well as his own prospects.
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