La Traviata is an Opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi, set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave – a love story shrouded in sacrifice and misunderstanding.
The title La Traviata means literally The Fallen Woman, or perhaps more figuratively, The Woman Who Strayed.
It is based on La Dame aux Camélias, a play adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas. fils.
It recounts Dumas’ true-life affair with the beautiful demi-mondaine, Marie Duplessis.
A courtesan called Violetta is stuck in a round of endless parties until, Alfredo, a geeky writer, convinces her to live in the country. Deeply in love, all is blissful contentment until some home truths convince her to leave Alfredo and head back into the arms of another…
Shadowing Violetta is the disease that so often afflicts morally questionable 19th-century women: consumption.
Verdi’s music encompasses an astonishing range of moods and emotions, from Alfredo’s fresh-faced charms to Violetta’s vivid effervescence, which is perfectly captured in ‘Sempre libera’, a vocal showpiece to rival any other.
A tragic and resonant tale of society and morality, La Traviata combines compelling characters with hugely powerful, moving and instantly recognisable melodies, making it still, 160 years after its 1853 debut, one of the most emotionally engaging and popular Operas of all time.