‘A toast to the pleasures of life!’ – so sings Violetta, her new admirer Alfredo and her party guests in the opening scene of Giuseppe Verdi’s La traviata. But beneath the surface glamour of Violetta’s Parisian life run darker undercurrents: her doomed love for Alfredo and the tensions the lovers encounter when they break society’s conventions. La traviata, inspired by Alexandre Dumas fils’s play La Dame aux camélias – itself based on the true story of the courtesan Marie Duplessis – is one of the most popular operas, combining drama, profound emotion and wonderful melody.
Richard Eyre’s classic production conveys the indulgent social whirl of 19th-century Paris. It provides a vivid setting for Verdi’s gorgeous score – its many highlights include Violetta’s introspective ‘Ah fors’è lui’ and ecstatic ‘Sempre libera’; the duet ‘Pura siccome un angelo’, as Giorgio Germont begs Violetta to leave Alfredo; and ‘Parigi, o cara’, in which the lovers poignantly imagine a life that will never be theirs. The role of Violetta (the ‘fallen woman’ of the title) is one of Verdi’s most complex and enduring characters – and one of his most beloved.
This is a ‘recorded live’ version of the 2016 Royal Opera House production of the opera (see Programme Notes for full details)
That was a Traviata to rival the Solti/Gheorghiu/Nucci performance – beautiful and moving.
Magic sound; great picture