Opera in three acts (four scenes) 1
Libretto by F. Piave
Flora Bervois, her friend
Annina, maid Violetta
Georges Germont, his father
Gaston, Viscount de Litorières
The Marquis of Aubigny
Joseph, the servant of Violetta
Servant of Flora
The commission agent
Friends Violetta and Flora, guests, masks, servants.
The action takes place in Paris and its environs in the middle of the XIX century.
HISTORY OF CREATION
The plot “Traviata” is borrowed from the drama of A. Dumas-son “The Lady with the Camellias.” The prototype of the heroine was the famous Parisian courtesan Marie Duplessis, whose beauty and uncommon mind attracted many outstanding people. Among her admirers was Dumas, then a beginning writer. Their rupture and the subsequent journey of Dumas rumor attributed to the insistence of his father – the famous author of The Three Musketeers. Returning to Paris, Dumas did not find Marie Duplessis alive –
Verdi made the heroine of his opera a woman rejected by society; he specifically stressed this name (“Traviata” – in Italian, fallen, stray). The composer showed the nobility and spiritual beauty of Violetta, her superiority not only over the frivolous environment that surrounds her, but also over the virtuous representative of a secular society – Alfred’s father. Hot sympathy for the victim of social inequality, ruthless condemnation of hypocritical bourgeois morality, showing on the operatic stage of modern life – all this violated the usual tradition and was the main reason for the failure of the opera.
However, Verdi firmly believed that “La Traviata” would achieve recognition. A year later, the opera was once again set in Venice and was a huge success. For this production, Verdi agreed to remove modern costumes: the action was moved to a more remote era, a century and a half ago (soon, however, he restored the modern drama environment). After a while “Traviata” became one of the most famous operas in the repertoire of the world musical theater. Dumas, having met “La Traviata”, said: “In fifty years no one would have remembered my” Lady with Camellias, “but Verdi immortalized her.”
In the house of the courtesan Violetta Valerie reigns noisy fun: fans Violetta celebrate her recovery. Among the guests is Alfred Germont, who recently came to Paris from the province. At first sight he fell in love with Violetta with pure enthusiastic love. His fervent feelings cause surprise and ridicule of those present. At the request of the guests, Alfred sings a drinking song – the hymn of love and joy of life. The sounds of the waltz are heard from the next room; guests rush there. With Violetta, suddenly feeling bad, Alfred remains. He warmly persuades Violetta to change the way of life, to believe his feelings. At first, Violetta answers with jokes at Alfred’s passionate confessions. However, the flower gives him a farewell, appointing a date for tomorrow. The guests diverge. Left alone, Violetta recalls Alfred’s sweet speeches with emotion. For the first time in her brilliant and frivolous life she encountered a genuine feeling; in her heart a reciprocal love has kindled.
Violetta and Alfred left Paris, secluded in a country house. Here, in the rural quiet, they found their happiness. Tranquil dreams of Alfred interrupts the arrival of Anna’s maid, who utters that Violetta secretly sells her things. Amazed and ashamed by the victim’s beloved, he goes to Paris to settle money matters. Violetta absent-mindedly scans the received letters. In one of them – an invitation from an old friend of Flora to the ball-masquerade. Violetta indifferently puts it aside. Appears father of Alfred – Georges Germont. He accuses Violet of driving her son to death, destroying the reputation of their family. Violetta is in despair: her love for Alfred is her only joy. And she did not have much time to live: she was mortally ill. Yielding to the insistence of Germont, Violetta decides to sacrifice her happiness. She writes a farewell letter to her lover. Returning Alfred is surprised by the excitement and tears of Violetta, and after her departure finds a letter that plunges him into despair. Germon calls his son to return to his native Provence, to the family, but he does not listen to him. Suddenly, Alfred notices the note of Flora left on the desk. Now he no longer doubts that Violetta left him forever. Covered with jealousy, he hurries to Paris to avenge his betrayal.
Ball masquerade by Flora. Fun in full swing. At the card table, among the other players, Alfred. Violetta enters with Baron Dufole. Flora joyfully meets her. The motley fuss of the ball is alien to Violette; she is painfully experiencing a break with her beloved. Alfred is looking for quarrels with the baron. Violetta, in anxiety for the life of her lover, tries to prevent a duel. But Alfred calls guests and offends Violet at all, throwing money into her face – a payment for love.
Broken by suffering and illness, abandoned by friends, Violetta slowly fades. Dr. Grenville reassures her, but Violetta knows that the end is near. She tells the maid to give the money to the poor and, left alone, reread the letter of Germont, who informs about the imminent return of his son. Now Alfred knows everything: the father told him about the self-sacrifice of Violetta. From the street comes the merry noise of a carnival. Running excited Annina. She reports that Alfred is back. The happiness of lovers is boundless; they dream of leaving Paris forever and starting a new life. But the forces leave Violetta: her joy is replaced by a violent despair – she does not want to die when happiness is so close! Entered Germont with remorse is convinced that his belated consent to the marriage of his son with Violetta can no longer save her.
“Traviata” is one of the first in the world opera literature of lyrical and psychological operas – an intimate drama of strong and deep feelings. The modern plot, simplicity and routine of the intrigue allowed Verdi to create a truly realistic work, striking with its truthfulness, touching humanity. The opera is richly used rhythms and melodies of everyday music – mostly waltz, then cheerful and graceful, then dramatic and sorrowful.
A small orchestral foreplay recreates the sad face of a dying; The light, melody of love flows wide.
In the first act, two sections: the first draws the carefree world in which Violetta lives, the second contains her lyrical characteristics. A cheerful guest choir introduces into the atmosphere of a noisy festival. The uplifting mood is also preserved in Alfred’s exhilarating drinking song “We’ll Highly Raise Goblet of Fun”, picked up by the choir, and in the impetuous waltz behind the stage. The central episode of the duet is Alfred’s tender confession “On that day happy”, the expressive melody of which repeats itself in the opera several times, acquiring the meaning of the theme of love. The duo is a carefree guest choir. In the great aria of Violetta, a melodious, thoughtful melody in the spirit of a slow waltz, “Do not you strike me in the stillness of the night,” conveys dreams of happiness, it is opposed by the second part of the aria, “To be free, to be careless,” shining by coloratura,
From serene happiness to painful doubts and a dramatic explosion of feelings, the musical drama of the second act develops. Alfred’s aria “Peace and peace in my soul” is painted in light, calm colors. Contradictory moods are embodied in the unfolded duo of Violetta and Germont – a clash of two strong characters. In the aria of Germont “You have forgotten your dearest land,” the noble melodious melody outlines the image of a loving and faithful father.
The third act2 on the nature of music echoes the first, but here the carefree gaiety of the guests is contrasted with the dramaticness of Violet’s experiences. Masquerade choirs of gypsies and Spanish matadors shade the next scene of a card game; on the background of gloomy sound clarinets stand out the sad, pathetic phrases Violetta. The excited explanation of Violetta and Alfred grows into an unfolded mass stage – the culmination of the drama; The act ends with a dramatic octet with the choir.
The fourth act3 sharply contrasts with the preceding one. It opens with a small orchestral introduction, built on the already familiar overture musical theme of the dying Violetta. The echoes of this sad melody accompany Violetta’s conversation with the maid; the theme of love sounds in the violins. The central episode of the act is Violetta’s aria, “Forgive you forever, about the happiness of dreaming” – is permeated with the aching sadness of parting with life. The loneliness of Violetta is emphasized by the unexpectedly bursting noisy carnival chorus. The duet of Violetta and Alfred conveys the excited, quivering feelings of lovers: the bright, dreamy melody “The Edge We Will Leave, Where We Suffered” is replaced by the music of stormy despair “How terrible, it’s bitter to die for death”. In the center of the final is a big quintet. Appeal of Violetta to Alfred “This portrait,
1 The opera is usually placed in four acts.
2 Verdi – the second picture of the second act.
3 Verdi’s third act.