Opera by Giuseppe Verdi
The music critics describe “La Traviata” as Verdi's boldest opera. It is not by chance that the censorship once forced the action to be postponed a century ago in order to protect good morals. In fact, the composer exposes the prejudices of the society, in which he himself lives.
Violetta makes her way into her world as a courtesan, but falls in love with the young nobleman Alfredo Germont. His father, Giorgio, makes the mistake of judging her, not by her human nature, but by her profession. When she breaks up with Alfredo, she does it not only for his good, but also because of his family's reputation.
The premiere took place on 6 March 1853 at Teatro La Fenice in Venice. In Bulgaria it was staged by the Opera Society in 1910. The conductor of the first production was T. Hadzhiev, and stage director was K. Mihaylov – Stoyan.
Violetta Valéry’s house in Paris. After a long illness, the beautiful courtesan returns to festive social life. Her friends have come to celebrate her recovery. Viscount Gastone has brought with him his friend Alfredo Germont, an honest young man who has just arrived from the province. Alfredo falls in love with Violetta at first sight. He gives a rousing toast. Violetta is moved. In the next saloon begin the dances. Everybody makes for there. Violetta sets out, but having felt some sort of weakness, she sits down to rest. Alfredo stays by her side. He reproaches her for the way of life she has been leading. In order to hide her excitement, Violetta replies to his ardent words with jokes. After that she presents him a camellia and invites him to visit her again the next day. The guests begin saying farewell. Happy, Alfredo leaves too. Violetta cannot stop thinking about Alfredo. She wonders weather this love wouldn’t bring her only suffering.
Violetta and Alfredo’s home in the vicinity of Paris. Already three months, both lovers have been living together happily. They have spent all their money and Violetta, secretly of Alfredo, has started selling her belongings. The young man learns that from Annina and sets out to Paris to find money. Left alone, Violetta is indifferently taking a look on her post. With a letter, Flora invites her friend to a masked ball. But Violetta is no longer attracted by these parties. Unexpectedly, Giorgio Germont arrives. Alfredo’s father blames Violetta – she is ruining his son’s life, and their love affair compromises the family’s honour. Violetta is trying to defend her love. She tells Germont about her heavy illness. Only her love to Alfredo gives her power to still live. Moved by her feelings, the father explains his behaviour – his daughter has to get married soon, and her brother’s love to a courtesan could hinder the marriage. Violetta is ready to become a sacrificial offering and give up her happiness. She goes away having left a letter for Alfredo. The young man returns and reads her letter. He cannot believe that Violetta has left him forever. In vain his father is trying his best to console him. Alfredo interprets Violetta’s note in a different way. He has read also Flora’s letter. Full of doubts, the young man sets out to Paris.
A masked ball by Flora. The hostess has welcomed also her last guests. Everybody is making merry. Alfredo arrives too. Deeply excited, he sits along the gambling table. With animation the guests comment the unexpected parting of Violetta and Alfredo. In that moment enters Violetta, accompanied by her old suitor baron Douphol. The unexpected meeting with her beloved intensifies her suffering. Douphol feels uneasy and sits opposite to Alfredo. Both start playing cards. Alfredo wins continuously. After the game, he meets Violetta, but she doesn’t dare to tell him the real reason for their parting. Her confused talking increases his doubts. Not in a state to master himself, he throws before everybody’s eyes demonstratively in Violetta’s feet the money he has won by playing cards. Deeply wounded, Violetta faints. In that moment enters Giorgio Germont and when he learns what his son has done, he reproaches him angrily before everybody about his cruel action. Desperate, Alfredo gets away.
Violetta’s bedroom. The young woman’s health after the scandal at Flora’s place has declined sharply. She doesn’t want to see anybody. In vain doctor Grenvil tries his best to encourage her. Violetta knows that he himself doesn’t believe what he says. The ill young woman has made Annina give everything away. Now Violetta is reading again Giorgio Germont’s letter. The father has confessed the truth to his son and he waits him to come back soon. Outside the carnival goes on. All of a sudden, in the bedroom rushes Annina. He hurries to tell Violetta the good news – Alfredo has come. Full of hope, Violetta is impatiently awaiting his arrival. Soon Alfredo enters. Both of them are happy again. The young man asks Violetta to forgive him. He would never ever leave her alone. But it is already late – Violetta expires in his arms.