La Traviata – Giuseppe Verdi
A sincere love is the protagonist of La Traviata, Giuseppe Verdi’s opera in three acts based upon the 1852 play by Alexandre Dumas fils (La Dame aux camélias).
Violetta Valery, a young Parisian courtesan suffering from tuberculosis, leads a comfortable and luxurious life under the protection of Baron Douphol. During a party, Alfredo Germont confesses his love for her but Violetta rejects him stating that love means nothing to her and, despite his state of health, she loves her live.
Violetta sings the famous aria “Sempre libera” at the end of Act I, but left alone she feels that Alfredo has awakened her desire to be truly loved.
The second Act begins with Violetta and Alfredo living together in their country house. However, Violetta's past still has consequences: it threatens Alfredo’s sister impending marriage and ruins the reputation of the whole family. Violetta is forced by Alfredo's father to make a sad decision in the name of the love she feels for Alfredo. Once again love is the main feeling of this opera, a love stronger than prejudice, illness and even the unjust final.
La Traviata premiered in Venice at La Fenice opera house on March 6, 1853 and Verdi called the night a fiasco: unfortunately, he was right! Audience members openly mocked the soprano who played Violetta, Fanny Salvini-Donatelli, so adequate as a singer but unfit for the role of a courtesan because of her age (38 years old) and because she was also overweight.
Verdi didn’t give up. He wrote to a conductor friend, “I do not think that the last word on La traviata was uttered last night.” Verdi was right again! Within few months and with some revisions the opera reached its success.
Today La Traviata has become the true emblem of the opera and is the most played opera in the world in the 2017-2018 period.