Violetta Valery, the main character of the Opera La Traviata, written by the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi, is inspired by La dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils, Marguerite Gautier, who was in turn, inspired by the real character of Alphonsine Duplessis, is maybe the forbidden dream of every soprano. All the greatest interpreters have had their chance with this extraordinary and vocally complex character (it is said you need two voices to sing it, one lyric-leggero in the first act and one purely lyric in the other two). It remains in the history the “tragic” Traviata of 1951 at Teatro alla Scala, with a not in shape Renata Tebaldi, where everything went wrong, including the corks of the champagne bottles falling on the orchestra pit, during the party of the first act. Even more troubled was, four years after, in 1955, the one put on stage by Luchino Visconti with Maria Callas. It was set in later years, around 1880, in a Proustian atmosphere (which was considered too modern at the time and was largely criticized) where the popular soprano “dared” to untie her hair and kicked her shoes during the first act, and died while standing on her feet with the hat on, in the last act. Moving closer to our times, think about the prostitute Vivien (Julia Robert) who is brought to the opera by the millionaire Richard Gere. They in fact watch La Traviata and she dissolves into tears, saying to the astonished lady sitting next to her: “It was so good, I almost peed my pants!". Mission accomplished Violetta!.
Synopsis La Traviata
Paris, mid nineteenth century. There's a party at Violetta Valéry's house. She is a popular courtesan whose health is compromised by consumption. Among the guests there's the count Gastone de Letorières who introduces his friend Alfredo to Violetta. He explains Alfredo has been admiring her for a long time and during her last illness, he had gone to her house asking news about her. Duphol, Violetta's habitué lover, notices her interest in the new encounter. She tells him off for not being genuinely worried about her, like young Alfredo has proven to be. Violetta suggests to the guests to move to the next room to listen to some music. Looking at herself in the mirror, she sees her pale face and notices Alfredo, who's stayed behind to wait for her. He confesses her he's been in love with her for a year, since he first met her. Violetta suggests they start just a friendship but when Alfredo's about to leave, she offers him a flower, asking him to bring it back to her the day after. When the guests have all left, Violetta notices Alfredo's words have moved her and maybe she is in love for the first time.
Libiamo ne' lieti calici, Violetta, Alfredo and Chorus' Aria
Un dì felice, eterea, Duet between Violetta and Alfredo
È strano! È strano...Follie! Delirio vano è questo...Sempre libera, Violetta's Aria
Alfredo and Violetta have been happily living in a countryside villa. Alfredo finds out from Annina, the maid, that Violetta is selling her jewellery in order to pay the house bills. Alfredo promises to go to Paris to sort out the business and asks Annina not to mention it to Violetta. Violetta receives Giorgio Germont, Alfredo's father, visit. He asks her to make a sacrifice: he has another daughter soon to be married and if Alfredo doesn't come back home, her wedding will be in danger. Violetta suggests to take some time apart from Alfredo but it's not enough for Giorgio, who asks her to leave him for good. Violetta decides to leave Alfredo. Left alone, she writes to the baron Douphol, then to Alfredo, announcing him her decision. When she's finished writing the letter, Alfredo arrives. He's upset because he knows the father has gone to visit and suggests to Violetta to go and meet him. She asks him to declare his love for her then leaves. Alfredo is puzzled by her escape and when he sees the letter on the table, he understands she has gone to her friend Flora's party. Angry, he decides to follow her, not caring his father requests to stay.
De' miei bollenti spiriti, Alfredo's Aria
Pura siccome un angelo, Duet between Violetta and Germont
Che fai?/ Nulla / Scrivevi?... Amami Alfredo, Duet between Violetta and Alfredo
Di Provenza il mar, il suol, Germont's Aria
Mi chiamaste? Che bramate?, Duet between Violetta and Alfredo
Qui testimon vi chiamo
Violetta's health condition has gone worse, she can't get out of bed anymore.Violetta, in her room, reads a letter Giorgio Germont has written to her to inform her he has told the truth to his son Alfredo, who is coming back to her from a long trip. Alfredo arrives, his father is at his side deeply sorry. Violetta asks Alfredo to come closer and gives him a medallion with an image of herself, asking him to remember her. Then she dies before their eyes, in a touching finale.