Scene 1: Party attrib. Gastone, a viscount , has brought with him a friend, Alfredo Germont, a young bourgeois from a provincial family who has long adored Violetta from afar. While walking to the salon, Gastone tells Violetta that Alfredo loves her, and that while she was ill, he came to her house every day. From the next room, the sound of the orchestra is heard and the guests move there to dance.
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Like Violetta in the opera, Duplessis had conquered Parisian society with her wit, charm, and beauty, but her reign was a brief one—she died of tuberculosis in at age Verdi attended the play in in Paris , where he was spending the winter.
The composer had already read the novel and had begun to conceive of an opera based on the story. La Fenice had been clamouring for a new work; although the theatre would supply funding and performers, Verdi was afraid its singers would not do the opera justice. He was right. Of the primary cast members, only the soprano who played Violetta Fanny Salvini-Donatelli was adequate as a singer. Unfortunately, she was 38 years old and overweight.
When La traviata premiered, audience members openly mocked the idea that she could possibly be a desirable courtesan, let alone one wasting away from tuberculosis. Verdi, GiuseppeGiuseppe Verdi. The scale is intimate and bourgeois, not heroic or noble. Verdi was adamant that the opera be set in the present day that is, the s , with modern costumes. Opera companies would not comply, insisting on setting the story in the early 18th century.
Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription. The story feels immediate, and the melodies are beautiful. Practically speaking, the demands on orchestra and singers do not overburden the resources of even modest opera companies.
Brindisi [From La Traviata]