Home > La Traviata

Verdi, G. (1813-1901)

La Traviata

The Fallen Woman

Composed 1853; revised 1854.
First performed March 6, 1853; May 6, 1854.
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave (in Itarian),
after Dumas.

A Summary of “La Traviata”

Act 1
In around the mid-19th century, in Paris, there is a great party at the salon in the house of Violetta who is the most popular high-class prostitute. A young man, Alfredo, comes to this party, and sings the song of “Brindisi.” He has adored Violetta from long before, and he uses this opportunity to express his feelings for her after singing. Violetta had believed that she had no interest in true love because of her occupation, but she is confused by Alfredo’s pure mind.

Act 2
Violetta goes out of the fashionable society, and she peacefully lives just with Alfredo in the suburbs of Paris. One day, when Alfredo is away, Violetta unexpectedly receives a visit from Alfredo’s father, Germont. He puts pressure on her to break up with Alfredo, because of her past. This upsets the marriage plans of his daughter, that is, Alfredo’s sister. Violetta is filled with sorrow, but she makes up her mind to break up with her boyfriend. She leaves their home without telling him the truth. Alfredo who knows nothing, gets angry at her breaking his trust in her.
That same night, Violetta goes back to the society in Paris, and appears accompanied by a former patron, the Baron. Alfredo pursues her, and arrives at the party. He makes accusations about her in front of all the guests.

Act 3
After a few months, Violetta lies down on her bed alone. In fact, she has been ill with a serious disease for some day. She has known about this since she lived with Alfredo. She is now seriously with death fast approaching. Finally, Alfredo rushes to her bedside. He was given a true account by his father. And Alfredo asks for her forgiveness. They swear to live together, but time is up, Violetta breathes her last breath as she remembers the time she spent with Alfredo.

A Comment on “La Traviata”

This opera, “La Traviata”, is the most famous opera in the world. But, its world premiere at the Teatro La Fenice in 1853 failed. There are several factors that led to the failure of this. For example, the leading role, Violetta, is s high-class prostitute, and Soprano for Violetta was too fat. The composer, Verdi, said, “Future generations will appreciate this opera.” Verdi would be pleased with the present status.

This opera has a gorgeous scene in Act 1. There is a great party at a salon in the fashionable society in Paris. On the other hand, the story of this opera is sorrowful. Violetta is destined to come to a tragic end. The Aria sung by Violetta in Act 3 is very impressive.

This opera is not only famous but also superior in the quality of the music and the story. I recommend this opera for beginners. Beginners will be able to enjoy it. You should pay attention to Act 2 in particuller. Germont puts pressure on Violetta to break up with Alfredo because of her past. The duet by Violetta and Germont is wonderfully composed by the master Verdi.

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