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Giuseppe Verdi

La Traviata

Librettist: Francesco Maria Piave
Based on La Dame aux Camélias by Alexander Dumas

Cast of Characters

  • Violetta Valéry, (soprano) a Courtesan
  • Flora Bervoix, (mezzo-soprano) her friend
  • Annina, (soprano) Violetta's maid
  • Alfredo Germont, (tenor) Violetta's lover
  • Giorgio Germont, (baritone) his father
  • Baron Duphol, (baritone) Violetta's protector
  • Gastone, (tenor) Viscount de Letorières.
  • Marquis d'Obigny, (bass) Flora's protector
  • Dr. Grenvil, (bass) Physician
  • Party Guests, dancers, servants, maskers and a gardener.

Setting

Paris and the surrounding area in August 1850 through February 1851.

Premiere

6th March 1853; Teatro La Fenice, Venice, Italy.

Plot

At a party in Violetta's house, Alfredo is introduced to Violetta whom he has admired from a distance. Together they offer a toast to the revelers. The crowd leaves to dance, but Violetta, who feels faint remains. Alfredo joins her and expresses the deep concern he feels for her. She cuts him off telling him to look for love elsewhere. Alfredo begins to leave when Violetta gives him a flower and tells him to come back when it is wilted - tomorrow.

Five months later, Violetta and Alfredo have moved to a country house near Paris. Annina, who has been absent, returns and informs Alfredo that she has been away to make arrangements to sell her mistress' belongings to pay for her new life here with him. Alfredo leaves to secure money so that Violetta does not have to. Violetta arrives and soon after, so does an invitation to a party at Flora's that evening. A visitor arrives who announces himself to be Alfredo's father. He questions her virtues, but at the same time is impressed by her lady-like manners. She shows him the receipts of the sale of her belongings which helps to establish her as a lady of dignity and character instead of a fortune hunter as Giorgio first believed. She tells him that her love for Alfredo has redeemed her, but Germont says she must sacrifice Alfredo. It seems that Alfredo's scandalous affair with her has made his sister's chance for a respectable marriage very slim. Violetta refuses to give Alfredo, up but the elder Germont persists. She finally gives in and after Germont leaves, she writes a note for Alfredo.

Suddenly, Alfredo appears and she begs him to love her as she leaves for Paris and Flora's party. Moments later, Alfredo receives the letter from a gardener and realizes that his dream has ended. The elder Germont arrives to comfort Alfredo, but when Alfredo finds the invitation to Flora's party, he rushes off to the party. Full of rage, Alfredo denounces Violetta in front of the guests. Remorseful and shamed, he leaves. A month later, they are re-united after the elder Germont tells alfredo of his earlier request of Violetta to leave him. The re-union, however, is short-lived as Violetta's succumbs to consumption.

Memorable Sections of Music

Libiamo ne' lieti calici
Un dì felice, eterea
Sempre Libera
Amami, Alfredo
Di Provenza il mar

Act II scene two: the Party Scene
Addio del passato
Parigi, o cara
Gran Dio! morir sì giovine.

Copyright © 1996, Stephen L. Parker

Trumpet