La Traviata is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi, set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave − it is a love story of sacrifice and misunderstanding.
The title La Traviata means literally The Fallen Woman, or perhaps more figuratively, The Woman Who Strayed.
La Traviata is based on the play La Dame aux Camélias, the novel by Alexandre Dumas, fils which recounts Dumas’ true-life affair with the beautiful demi-mondaine, Marie Duplessis.Read more
The first performance of the La Traviata was on 6th March 1853 at the La Fenice Opera House in Venice
It was jeered at times by the audience, who directed some of their mockery at the casting of soprano Fanny Salvini-Donatelli in the lead role of Violetta. Though she was an acclaimed singer, they considered her to be too old (at 38) and too overweight to credibly play a young woman dying of consumption. Verdi had previously attempted to persuade the manager of La Fenice to re-cast the role with a younger woman, but with no success. Nevertheless, the end of the first act was met with applause and cheering; but in the second act, the audience began to turn against the performance, especially after the singing of the baritone (Felice Varesi) and the tenor (Lodovico Graziani). On the following day, Verdi wrote to his friend Muzio in what has now become perhaps his most famous letter: “La Traviata last night a failure. Was the fault mine or that of the singers? Time will tell.”Read more
“In art, as in love, we must first be honest”. said Giuseppe Verdi.
Verdi had virtually the same life span as Queen Victoria. He was as much the King of the Italian opera world as she was Queen of England, Empress of India.
He was born into a poor family. His natural ability became apparent at an early age; he was transfixed by music. By the time he was an altar boy in the local church, he was completely enthralled by the sounds of the humble church organ.
He owed his musical education to a wealthy merchant from Busseto and, when rejected by the Milan Conservatoire, he returned to Busseto in 1836, where he completed his first opera Rocester. The work has since been lost but Verdi’s reputation soon became established with Nabucco in 1842.Read more