For a modern audience, La Traviata offers everything we think of when we think of the opera: a consumptive heroine, velvet dresses and heaving bosoms, lavish party scenes and touching intimate moments. The music is rousing, the stage crowded, the story at once romantic and tragic — a perfect escape from our own lives.
Yet the story of La Traviata, so exotic and literary for us, was devastatingly close to Verdi’s own life.
Shortly after the death of his young wife and children, Verdi took up with his own “traviata”, or fallen woman — a celebrated soprano who daringly defied convention in favour of freedom and a life of luxury. When Verdi gives Violetta that flying aria celebrating a life of liberty, was he thinking of his brave and beautiful mistress?
When the proud Germont sings of his love for his beautiful daughter, was the composer thinking of his own children?
When Violetta lies in her bare apartment, overcome by her relentless disease, was Verdi thinking of his late young wife?
Whatever the composer dwelt upon as he wrote the stirring music of La Traviata, it was a powerful muse. When La Traviata premiered, the show stopped four times in Act 1 alone — a rapturous audience demanding Verdi take the stage and bow for the beauty he had brought to the stage.
This season, it will be thrilling to see Lorina Gore step into the role of Violetta, with exciting young tenor Rame Lahaj making his Australian debut.
Verdi specialist Renato Palumbo returns to conduct after his triumph with Rigoletto in 2014.
The champagne is flowing, celebrations are in full swing. Lights, music and dancing fill the air and Parisian party girl, Violetta, is the life and soul of the party. And as she contemplates a life of love, it seems as though the party will never end.
Watch the trailer
A Listening Guide to La Traviata
|Set Designer||Michael Yeargan|
|Costume Designer||Peter J Hall|
|Lighting Designer||Nigel Levings|
|Violetta Valéry||Lorina Gore|
|Alfredo Germont||Rame Lahaj|
|Giorgio Germont||José Carbó|
|Flora Bervoix||Dominica Matthews|
|Baron Douphol||Pelham Andrews|
|Marquis d'Obigny||Luke Gabbedy|
|Dr Grenvil||Gennadi Dubinsky|
|Giuseppe||Jin Tea Kim|
Running time: approximately 2 hours & 50 minutes, including two 20-minute intervals.
Performed in Italian with English surtitles.