Richard Eyre’s classic production conveys the indulgent social whirl of 19th-century Paris. It provides a vivid setting for Verdi’s gorgeous score – its many highlights include Violetta’s introspective ‘Ah fors’è lui’ and ecstatic ‘Sempre libera’; the duet ‘Pura siccome un angelo’, as Giorgio Germont begs Violetta to leave Alfredo; and ‘Parigi, o cara’, in which the lovers poignantly imagine a life that will never be theirs. The role of Violetta (the ‘fallen woman’ of the title) is one of Verdi’s most complex and enduring characters – and one of his most beloved.
'A toast to the pleasures of life!’ – so sings Violetta, her new admirer Alfredo and her party guests in the opening scene of Giuseppe Verdi’s La traviata. But beneath the surface glamour of Violetta’s Parisian life run darker undercurrents: her doomed love for Alfredo and the tensions the lovers encounter when they break society’s conventions. La traviata, inspired by Alexandre Dumas fils’s play La Dame aux camélias – itself based on the true story of the courtesan Marie Duplessis – is one of the most popular operas, combining drama, profound emotion and wonderful melody.
Alfredo and the courtesan Violetta fall passionately in love. But Alfredo’s father, Giorgio Germont, disapproves of their relationship.
Germont convinces Violetta that she must leave Alfredo, for the family’s sake – not realizing that Violetta is very ill. Alfredo is distraught, believing that Violetta has left him out of self-interest. When Violetta is on her deathbed Germont understands the extent of her sacrifice. He confesses all to Alfredo, who is with Violetta as she dies.
★★★★ ‘notable above all for its focused dramatic integrity and subtlety of insight.’ The Guardian
★★★★ ‘Sensitive, subtle and still the best around.’ The Telegraph
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