By Giuseppe Verdi
IRRESISTIBLE CLASSIC. Verdi’s passionate portrait of a worldly courtesan forced by bourgeois society to give up the man of her dreams enthralls with a wide range of moods packed into a tautly-constructed story. One of the most perfect scores in opera elevates the timeless tale of moral hypocrisy and selfless sacrifice. Peter Konwitschny’s “five star” (Sunday Telegraph) production emphasizes the elegant music and emotional story with clean, simple visuals and striking sophistication. A milestone in opera history – sure to melt the coldest heart.
Anybody who’s anybody tries to get invited to the parties at the home of Violetta Valéry, the city’s most desirable courtesan. Young Alfredo, who’s just arrived in Paris from the deep rural south of France, has been standing outside gazing adoringly at her door for a year. When he is finally invited inside, he seizes the opportunity and passionately declares his love. Despite initial misgivings, she renounces her wild lifestyle and moves with him to the country.
Violetta’s happy idyll is shattered when Giorgio Germont, Alfredo’s father, confronts her. He demands that she leave his son—not so much for Alfredo’s sake, but because Violetta’s scandalous past is tarnishing their family name and preventing Alfredo’s sister from making an advantageous marriage. The old man convinces Violetta that this pure, innocent sister is more deserving of happiness than a “fallen woman” like her.
Violetta, who knows she is dying of tuberculosis, agrees to distance herself from Alfredo, although the pain of the separation nearly destroys both of them. Alfredo publicly insults Violetta, then wounds her new patron in a duel and flees the country. Both Germonts, father and son, are at Violetta’s bedside when she dies: the father, appalled and ashamed by how much pain he has caused; the son, refusing to let his beloved go; and Violetta, who blesses Alfredo and wishes him future happiness with her dying breath.