Christian Thielemann

Christian Thielemann

Friday, December 04, 2015

Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata – Marlis Petersen, Giuseppe Varano, James Rutherford – Tecwyn Evans, Peter Konwitschny (Oper Graz 2011, HD 1080p)

Πασίγνωστες άριες και ντουέτα ντύνουν μία από τις πιο αγαπητές ιστορίες μεγάλου έρωτα, ματαιωμένου από τις κοινωνικές συμβάσεις. Η όπερα «Λα Τραβιάτα» περιγράφει τον έρωτα μιας εταίρας με γόνο καλής οικογένειας του Παρισιού. Η σχέση προκαλεί την αντίδραση της οικογένειας του νέου, το ζευγάρι χωρίζει και ξανασυναντιέται λίγο πριν το θάνατο της κοπέλας. Πρόκειται αδιαμφισβήτητα για ένα από τα αριστουργήματα του παγκόσμιου ρεπερτορίου της όπερας.

Η πρεμιέρα της «Τραβιάτα», το 1853 στο Θέατρο La Fenice της Βενετίας αναφέρεται συνήθως ως μία από τις μεγαλύτερες αποτυχίες στην Ιστορία της Όπερας. «Η Τραβιάτα ήταν ένα φιάσκο, μην ψάχνεις να βρεις δικαιολογία, απλώς έτσι είναι», έγραφε την επομένη κιόλας, στις 7 Μαρτίου 1853 ο Βέρντι στον εκδότη του, Τίτο Ρικόρντι. Ενάμιση αιώνα αργότερα, το αριστούργημα του Βέρντι αναγνωρίζεται ως ένα από τα πιο δημοφιλή έργα του ρεπερτορίου με εκατοντάδες παραστάσεις κάθε χρόνο στις όπερες όλου του κόσμου και με χιλιάδες θεατών να τις παρακολουθούν εκστατικά.

Από το Πρόγραμμα της Εθνικής Λυρικής Σκηνής, 2015


Η παράσταση δόθηκε στην Όπερα του Γκρατς στην Αυστρία, στις 11 Μαρτίου 2011. Η διάσημη Γερμανίδα υψίφωνος Μάρλις Πέτερσεν, πλαισιωμένη από σπουδαίους σολίστες, κάνει – όπως ήταν αναμενόμενο – ένα εντυπωσιακό ντεμπούτο στον ρόλο της Βιολέτας. Τη Φιλαρμονική Ορχήστρα του Γκρατς και τη Χορωδία της Όπερας του Γκρατς διευθύνει ο διακεκριμένος Νεοζηλανδός μαέστρος Tecwyn Evans. Τη σκηνοθεσία υπογράφει ο επιτυχημένος Γερμανός σκηνοθέτης έργων όπερας και θεάτρου, Peter Konwitschny. Τα κοστούμια και τα πολύ λιτά σκηνικά έχει σχεδιάσει ο επίσης Γερμανός και πολύ γνωστός για τις δουλειές του στο Θέατρο Μπολσόι στη Μόσχα, τη Μετροπόλιταν Όπερα στη Νέα Υόρκη και την Εθνική Όπερα της Αγγλίας στο Λονδίνο, Johannes Leiacker.














La traviata, opera in three acts by Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi (libretto in Italian by Francesco Maria Piave) that premiered in Venice at La Fenice opera house on March 6, 1853. Based upon the 1852 play by Alexandre Dumas fils (La Dame aux camélias), the opera marked a large step forward for Verdi in his quest to express dramatic ideas in music. La traviata means "the fallen woman" or "the one who goes astray" and refers to the main character, Violetta Valéry, a courtesan. The opera features some of the most challenging and revered music in the entire soprano repertoire; the aria "Sempre libera" at the end of Act I is especially well known.

Linda Cantoni (britannica.com)


The first ever production of La Traviata by Peter Konwitschny of the Graz Opera is a highlyfocused, intelligent reading of the music that was widely acclaimed by audiences. With a reduced stage set and daring cuts in the score, the production concentrates on the tragic story of the courtesan Violetta sung by celebrated Marlis Petersen who made her sensational debut in the title role. With this production of La Traviata, director Peter Konwitschny achieved a resounding success.



Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)

La Traviata (1853)

Opera in Three Acts / Όπερα σε Τρεις Πράξεις

Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, based on "La dame aux Camélias" (1852), a play adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas, fils.

Violetta Valéry..........Marlis Petersen, soprano
Alfredo Germont..........Giuseppe Varano, tenor
Giorgio Germont..........James Rutherford, baritone
Flora Belvoix..........Kristina Antonie Fehrs, mezzo-soprano
Annina..........Fran Lubahn, soprano
Gastone..........Taylan Memioglu, tenor
Baron Douphol..........Ivan Oreščanin, baritone
Marquis d'Obigny..........David McShane, baritone
Dr. Grenvil..........Konstantin Sfiris, bass

Graz Philharmonic Orchestra and Graz Opera Chorus
Μουσική διεύθυνση – Conductor: Tecwyn Evans

Stage Director: Peter Konwitschny
Stage and Costume Design: Johannes Leiacker
Lighting Design: Joachim Klein
Television Director: Myriam Hoyer

Austria, Oper Graz, March 11th, 2011 (11 Μαρτίου 2011)

(HD 1080p)
















Στην «Τραβιάτα» ο Βέρντι επιτυγχάνει ένα λεπτομερές ψυχογράφημα της ηρωίδας του. Ανάλογα με τις μεταπτώσεις στην ψυχολογία της, ο Βέρντι συνθέτει για τη φωνή με διαφορετικό τρόπο στην κάθε πράξη. Στην Α' Πράξη η ηδονική ελευθεριότητα και το λαμπερό πλην παρακμιακό Παρίσι περιγράφονται με μουσική που απαιτεί δεξιοτεχνικές ικανότητες της υψιφώνου που ερμηνεύει τον ρόλο του τίτλου. Στη Β' Πράξη η γαλήνη της ζωής στη φύση και τα βαθιά συναισθήματα της ηρωίδας αποδίδονται με τη θερμή φωνή της λυρικής σοπράνο, ενώ η τραγική κατάληξη του ματαιωμένου έρωτα αναδεικνύεται με τις σκούρες αποχρώσεις της φωνής που εκφράζουν τον πόνο και την απόγνωση.

Κάθε σημείο της μουσικής της «Τραβιάτα» συνδέεται άμεσα με την εξέλιξη της δράσης και την τραγική κατάληξη. Η δημοφιλέστατη εισαγωγή λειτουργεί σαν χρονικά ανεστραμμένη αναδρομή: ξεκινά σκοτεινά με το θέμα της Βιολέτας λίγες ώρες πριν το θάνατό της και σταδιακά φωτίζεται, καθώς η μουσική «θυμάται» τον άτυχο έρωτα. Γίνεται όλο και πιο φωτεινή και καταλήγει στην αρχή της ιστορίας, στις πρώτες ανέμελες μέρες καθώς η αυλαία σηκώνεται στη λαμπερή δεξίωση από την οποία ξεκίνησαν όλα. Τα χορωδιακά μέρη συνεισφέρουν εξίσου στη δημιουργία δραματικής έντασης: το χορωδιακό των ταυρομάχων προαναγγέλλει έμμεσα την εξεύρεση ενός θύματος, ενώ το αντίστοιχο καρναβαλικό δηλώνει την αμφισημία της κατάστασης υπογραμμίζοντας αφενός την τραγικότητα της στιγμής, αλλά και την υποκρισία της κοινωνίας απέναντι στην «παραστρατημένη».

Ο Τζουζέππε Βέρντι, ο διασημότερος συνθέτης του ιταλικού Ρομαντισμού, γεννήθηκε στη Ρονκόλα της τότε Γαλλικής Αυτοκρατορίας, ένα χωριό κοντά στο Μπουσέτο της Ιταλίας, και πέθανε στο Μιλάνο το 1901. Σπούδασε μουσική στο επαρχιακό Μπουσέτο και στη συνέχεια στο Μιλάνο. Τα πρώτα του έργα γράφηκαν μέσα στο επαναστατικό κλίμα της εποχής, απηχώντας ιδεολογικά τον αγώνα για την απελευθέρωση των ιταλικών κρατιδίων από τους Αυστριακούς και την ενοποίησή τους σε κυρίαρχη χώρα. Η ενασχόληση του Βέρντι με την πολιτική τον ανέδειξε σε εθνικό σύμβολο. Ως ακροστιχίδα το σύνθημα "Viva Verdi" σήμαινε «Ζήτω ο Βίκτωρ Εμμανουήλ βασιλιάς της Ιταλίας» (Viva Vittorio Emanuele Re D' Italia). Το 1861 ο συνθέτης εξελέγη μέλος του πρώτου ιταλικού κοινοβουλίου. Διασημότερες όπερές του είναι οι «Ναμπούκο» (1842), «Μάκμπεθ» (1847/ 1865), «Ριγκολέττο» (1851), «Τροβατόρε» (1853), «Τραβιάτα» (1853), «Η δύναμη του πεπρωμένου» (1862), «Αΐντα» (1871), «Οθέλος» (1887) και «Φάλσταφ» (1893).

Με τη μουσική του ο Βέρντι εξέφρασε σε αισθητικό επίπεδο το πνεύμα του ώριμου Ρομαντισμού και σε πολιτικό επίπεδο την επιθυμία των συμπατριωτών του να δουν την Ιταλία ελεύθερη και ενωμένη. Αγαπήθηκε από το πλατύ κοινό και απέκτησε εξαρχής δημοτικότητα που παραμένει αμείωτη μέχρι σήμερα. Στις ιστορικές, πολιτικές και κοινωνικές συνθήκες του 19ου αιώνα, ο Βέρντι υπήρξε ο συνθέτης που έζησε εκείνη τη μοναδική στιγμή στην Ιστορία της μουσικής, κατά την οποία η υψηλή τέχνη έγινε ταυτόχρονα και λαϊκή.

Το ποιητικό κείμενο της τρίπρακτης όπερας «Λα Τραβιάτα» υπογράφει ο Φραντσέσκο Μαρία Πιάβε (1810-1876). Βασίζεται στο θεατρικό έργο «Η κυρία με τις καμέλιες» (1852), του Αλέξανδρου Δουμά υιού (1824-1895) και αφορά την ιστορία της Μαρί Ντυπλεσί (Marie Duplessis, 1824-1847), διάσημης «εταίρας» της παρισινής κοινωνίας, με την οποία σχετιζόταν ο ίδιος ο Γάλλος συγγραφέας. Ως μυθιστόρημα το έργο δημοσιεύτηκε το 1848, μόλις ένα χρόνο μετά το θάνατο της 23χρονης Ντυπλεσί από φυματίωση. Στο Παρίσι, πιθανώς τον Φεβρουάριο του 1852, ο Βέρντι παρακολούθησε τη θεατρική εκδοχή, επίσης του Δουμά υιού. Συνεπαρμένος, αποφάσισε για πρώτη φορά να απευθυνθεί στο κοινό μέσα από ένα θέμα σύγχρονο, στοχεύοντας σε ένα είδος κοινωνικής κριτικής. Η παγκόσμια πρώτη παρουσίαση της όπερας πραγματοποιήθηκε στις 6 Μαρτίου 1853 στο περίφημο Θέατρο La Fenice της Βενετίας. Στη συνέχεια ο Βέρντι επεξεργάστηκε αρκετά μέρη κυρίως της Β' Πράξης και παρουσίασε εκ νέου το έργο του στις 6 Μαΐου 1854, και πάλι στη Βενετία, στο Θέατρο San Benedetto.















Α' Πράξη

Στην κατοικία της Βιολέτας Βαλερύ στο Παρίσι, Αύγουστος, περ. 1850.

Κατά τη διάρκεια δεξίωσης, ο Γκαστόνε, υποκόμης του Λετοριέρ, συστήνει στη Βιολέτα – νεαρή γυναίκα ελευθέριων ηθών, γνωστή στην παρισινή υψηλή κοινωνία – άλλον ένα θαυμαστή της: τον Αλφρέντο Ζερμόν. Έπειτα από πρόποση του ίδιου νεαρού, οι καλεσμένοι περνούν στην αίθουσα χορού. Η Βιολέτα, με εμφανή συμπτώματα φυματίωσης, μένει πίσω. Της παραστέκεται ο Αλφρέντο, ο οποίος της εξομολογείται τον μεγάλο του έρωτα. Όταν όλοι αποχωρούν, η Βιολέτα αναρωτιέται αν αυτός ο νέος με τα αγνά αισθήματα θα μπορούσε να τη λυτρώσει από τον τρόπο ζωής της.


Β' Πράξη

1η Σκηνή – Εξοχική κατοικία στα περίχωρα του Παρισιού, Ιανουάριος, περ. 1851.

Η Βιολέτα και ο Αλφρέντο συζούν κιόλας τρεις μήνες. Όταν εκείνος μαθαίνει ότι η αγαπημένη του πουλάει τα υπάρχοντά της για να τους συντηρεί, αποφασίζει να επιστρέψει στο Παρίσι προκειμένου να τακτοποιήσει τις υποθέσεις του. Κατά την απουσία του, ο πατέρας Ζερμόν επισκέπτεται κρυφά τη Βιολέτα. Της ζητά να εγκαταλείψει τον Αλφρέντο. Υποστηρίζει ότι η σχέση του γιου του με μία «εταίρα» απειλεί το μέλλον της κόρης του, η οποία και ετοιμάζεται να παντρευτεί. Συντετριμμένη, η Βιολέτα πείθεται να θυσιάσει τον έρωτά της. Όταν ο επιστρέφει Αλφρέντο, τον αποχαιρετά προφασιζόμενη πως φεύγει για λίγο. Αργότερα με ένα γράμμα τον πληροφορεί ότι τον εγκαταλείπει. Ο Ζερμόν προσπαθεί να καθησυχάσει τον γιο του, ωστόσο εκείνος, μη γνωρίζοντας την αλήθεια, ορκίζεται εκδίκηση.


2η Σκηνή – Στο μέγαρο της Φλόρας Μπερβουά στο Παρίσι.

Οι καλεσμένοι διασκεδάζουν. Καταφτάνει ο Αλφρέντο και κατόπιν η Βιολέτα συνοδευόμενη από έναν παλαιότερο θαυμαστή της, τον βαρόνο Ντουφόλ. Ο Αλφρέντο παίζει χαρτιά και κερδίζει μεγάλα ποσά. Ενώ οι καλεσμένοι έχουν αποσυρθεί για το δείπνο, ο Αλφρέντο και η Βιολέτα συνομιλούν μόνοι. Εκείνη φοβάται για τη ζωή του και τον παρακαλεί να φύγει. Για να τον πείσει, του λέει πως αγαπά τον βαρόνο. Ακούγοντας τα λόγια αυτά, οργισμένος, ο Αλφρέντο την προσβάλει μπροστά στους καλεσμένους. Πετά με περιφρόνηση στα πόδια της τα χρήματα που κέρδισε στα χαρτιά, λέγοντας πως την αποπληρώνει για τις υπηρεσίες που του παρείχε στο παρελθόν. Ο πατέρας του τον επιτιμά για την ανάρμοστη συμπεριφορά του, ενώ ο Ντουφόλ ρίχνει το γάντι στον νεαρό.


Γ' Πράξη

Στο υπνοδωμάτιο της Βιολέτας, Φεβρουάριος.

Στη φθισική Βιολέτα απομένουν μονάχα λίγες ώρες ζωής. Διαβάζει ξανά ένα γράμμα του πατέρα Ζερμόν: Την ενημερώνει ότι ο γιος του κατέφυγε στο εξωτερικό, αφού τραυμάτισε τον βαρόνο κατά τη μονομαχία, αλλά θα επιστρέψει πολύ σύντομα στο πλευρό της, προκειμένου να ζητήσει συγγνώμη, καθώς γνωρίζει πλέον για την αυτοθυσία της. Απ' έξω ακούγονται οι χαρούμενες φωνές των καρναβαλιστών. Ο Αλφρέντο εμφανίζεται εγκαίρως, και οι δύο νέοι ξανασμίγουν πανευτυχείς. Ονειρεύονται να φύγουν μαζί από το Παρίσι. Μόλις όμως η Βιολέτα σηκώνεται για να ντυθεί, καταρρέει. Ο γιατρός σπεύδει κοντά της, αλλά είναι πια πολύ αργά. Καταφτάνει επίσης ο Ζερμόν, εκλιπαρώντας τη για συγχώρεση. Η Βιολέτα δίνει στον Αλφρέντο ένα μενταγιόν με το αναμνηστικό της πορτρέτο, με την ευχή να παντρευτεί μια σύντροφο αντάξιά του. Κατόπιν ξεψυχά στην αγκαλιά του αγαπημένου της.

Από το Πρόγραμμα της Εθνικής Λυρικής Σκηνής, 2015


Dumas, in his novel of 1848 and the play based on it, recalls an actual "lady of pleasure" (the scandalous Marie Duplessis) whom he had known and adored. 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 1847 at age 23. Verdi attended the play in 1852 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 called the night a fiasco, yet he did not allow himself to be overly distressed, writing to a conductor friend, "I do not think that the last word on La traviata was uttered last night". Within two months he was vindicated: the revival that opened May 6, 1853, at the Teatro San Benedetto in Venice, with more suitable singers and a few small revisions in the score, was an unqualified success.

La traviata's subject and setting were novel for opera in the middle of the 19th century. The scale is intimate and bourgeois, not heroic or noble. The heroine is a fallen woman who earns redemption through sacrifice – a notion that was somewhat risqué at the time – although not forbidden by censors. Verdi was adamant that the opera be set in the present day (that is, the 1850s), with modern costumes. Opera companies would not comply, insisting on setting the story in the early 18th century. (The first performance set in the period Verdi specified took place in 1906, after Verdi's death and well after the setting could be called contemporary.)

More than other Italian opera composers of the time, Verdi unified the music and underscored the drama through the use of techniques such as repeated phrases (Violetta's "Ah, fors'è lui" echoes Alfredo's declaration of love and continues as a love theme), instrumentation (high violins underscore Violetta's character from the overture onward), coloratura ornamentation that reflects Violetta's agitation (thus justifying what otherwise can seem empty virtuosity), and musical continuity (through blurring the line between recitative and aria).

During Verdi's lifetime La traviata was one of the most frequently performed of all operas, and it has continued to be through to the present. 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.

Betsy Schwarm (britannica.com)
















Act I

Violetta's salon in Paris.

La traviataVioletta, a Parisian demimondaine, is hosting a party. A number of young men arrive in the wake of Flora, another courtesan, and Flora's lover, the Marquis d'Obigny. Violetta's friend, the Viscount Gastone, introduces young Alfredo Germont to her. Gastone tells her that during her recent illness, Alfredo had inquired after her daily. Violetta, amused, cannot understand why and teases her lover, Baron Douphol, that he did not do the same. The Baron explains that he has known her only a year, but she retorts that Alfredo has known her only a few minutes. Flora tells the annoyed Baron that it would have been better for him to have kept silent. Gastone, meanwhile, urges the shy Alfredo to speak; Violetta pours him a glass of champagne as encouragement. Gastone asks the Baron to propose a toast; the Baron refuses, so Gastone turns to Alfredo, who hesitates until Violetta assures him that it would please her. He then leads everyone in a lively drinking song ("Libiamo"), and the attraction between the two becomes clear.

Violetta invites everyone to go to the ballroom for dancing but is stricken with dizziness. Her friends try to help her, but she insists that she will be fine and sends them all into the ballroom. Alone, she looks at herself in the mirror and is shocked to see how pale she is. Alfredo comes up behind her to ask if she is feeling better. She tells him that she is, but he replies that she must take better care of herself; he says that if she were his, he would always watch over her. When she brushes this off, saying that no one takes care of her, he answers that no one loves her but he. Now Violetta laughs at him, and he chides her for being heartless. When she replies that perhaps she does have a heart, he responds that if she did, she would not make fun of him, for he has loved her deeply for a year. But she can offer him only friendship and urges him to forget her (duet: "Un dì felice"). Gastone drops in from the ballroom to see what is going on, and Violetta assures him there is nothing. Alone once more, Violetta makes Alfredo promise not to speak of love again. He is about to leave in a huff when, taking pity on him, Violetta gives him one of her camellias and asks him to bring it back when it has faded. Alfredo is thrilled, but Violetta still cannot believe that he really loves her. They say their goodbyes just as the guests come crowding into the salon to make their own farewells.

Left alone, Violetta wonders if she could ever truly be in love and if it was Alfredo who awakened that unaccustomed feeling in her ("Ah, fors'è lui"). But she casts aside the thought as foolishness. For her, love is an illusion, and she must simply live free and for pleasure alone ("Sempre libera") – even though Alfredo’s declaration of love still rings in her ears.


Act II

Scene 1 – Violetta's country house near Paris.

Alfredo and Violetta have now been living together in the country for three months, and he is filled with happiness ("Dei miei bollenti spiriti"). But his rapture is interrupted by the maid Annina, who informs him that Violetta has had to sell her horses, carriage, and other possessions in order to pay their expenses. Alfredo is shocked and vows to go to Paris and pay the debt, but he forbids Annina to tell Violetta of his plan.

Violetta enters from the garden and asks Annina about Alfredo's whereabouts. Annina tells her only that he has gone to Paris. The servant Giuseppe enters with a letter for Violetta, and she informs him that she is expecting a visitor. The letter is an invitation from Flora to attend her ball that evening, but Violetta has no intention of going. Giuseppe announces the arrival of a gentleman. To her surprise, her visitor is Giorgio Germont, Alfredo's father. He accuses her of bewitching his son, but she reminds him, with dignity, that she is a lady in her own house. He is impressed by her manner but tells her that Alfredo wants to bestow his fortune on her. She responds that he would not dare, for she would refuse; she produces a paper proving that she has been selling her own possessions to pay their expenses. Astounded, Germont softens toward her and regrets that her past has been scandalous. She loves Alfredo now, she says, and God will forgive her for her past. But Germont must ask her to make another sacrifice: to leave his son for the sake of his young daughter, who is about to marry a respectable man ("Pura siccome un angelo").

Violetta thinks that Germont is asking her only to leave Alfredo temporarily, until the marriage has taken place, but, to her distress, he tells her that she must leave him forever. She replies that she would rather die than give up her love. Germont reminds her that, while she is young and beautiful now, she will someday lose her looks, and Alfredo, being a man, will become bored with her, especially since their union will not have been blessed by God. As she bemoans her fate, Germont urges her to be a "consoling angel" to his family. Weeping, she gives in, asking Germont to tell his daughter that she, Violetta, will die giving up her only ray of hope to the young girl. Germont pities her, acknowledging the supreme sacrifice she has made and urging her to take courage. He suggests that she tell Alfredo that she no longer loves him, but she replies that he will not believe it, and that if she simply left, he would follow her. She asks Germont to embrace her as a daughter to give her the strength to do what she must do and to console Alfredo after she has left him. When he asks what she will do, she refuses to tell him but begs him not to allow Alfredo to curse her memory. He promises that her sacrifice will not go unrewarded and leaves with a wish that she be happy.

Violetta writes a letter and gives it to Annina to deliver; the maid is surprised at the address, but Violetta commands her to keep silent and deliver it at once. Then Violetta, with difficulty, writes to Alfredo. She is just finishing the letter when Alfredo, apparently concerned about something, enters and asks her what she is doing. When she hesitates, he demands the letter, but she refuses to give it to him. He asks her to forgive him, for he is worried – his father has left him a rather stern note. But he is confident that when his father sees Violetta, he will love her. Violetta becomes agitated and says that Germont must not find her there. She begs Alfredo to love her as she loves him and rushes off.

Giuseppe hurries in to tell Alfredo that Violetta has taken off for Paris and that Annina had gone before her. Alfredo tells Giuseppe to calm down, as he knows this already. Alfredo surmises that Violetta has gone to sell more of her possessions, but he is confident that Annina will stop her. A messenger arrives with a letter from a lady in a carriage. Seeing that the letter is from Violetta, Alfredo begins to tremble and is thunderstruck when he reads the contents. At that moment, his father arrives. Alfredo, weeping, falls into his arms. Germont urges Alfredo to return to his family in Provence ("Di Provenza il mar, il suol"). But Alfredo, enraged by the thought that Violetta is returning to her old lover, Baron Douphol, refuses to listen. He finds Flora's invitation and rushes off to confront Violetta at the ball.


Scene 2 – Flora's salon in Paris.

At her ball, Flora is looking forward to seeing the masqueraders. She has invited Violetta and Alfredo, but the Marquis tells her that they have separated and that Violetta is coming with the Baron instead. Surprised, Doctor Grenvil recalls that he had just seen them the day before and that they had seemed happy. Several young women costumed as gypsies come in and begin reading the guests' palms. They tell Flora that she has many rivals and that the Marquis is not a model of fidelity. Flora threatens to make the Marquis regret his inconstancy, but the Doctor and some of the gypsies smooth things over. Then Gastone arrives with a group of men dressed as matadors, singing of a brave toreador who loved an Andalusian maiden.

As the guests applaud, Alfredo enters; when asked where Violetta is, he says he doesn't know. He joins other guests at the gaming tables. Meanwhile, Violetta arrives with the Baron, who orders her not to say a word to Alfredo. Seeing Violetta's distress, Flora takes her aside and asks her what has happened. As they talk, Alfredo is winning at cards and loudly proclaims that one who is unlucky in love is lucky at gambling. He also announces that he will go back to the country to enjoy his winnings with the woman who left him. The Baron nearly calls him out, but a warning word from Violetta makes him offer to gamble against Alfredo instead. Alfredo wins repeatedly until supper is announced. As everyone files out, the two vow to continue their game later.

Violetta returns alone, having asked Alfredo to come speak to her. He coldly asks her what she wants. She urges him to leave, as he is in danger. He taunts her, saying that if he kills the Baron in a duel, she will be left without a lover or a keeper. But she responds that she fears only Alfredo's death. Alfredo does not believe her at first, then promises to leave only if she will come with him. She refuses, admitting that she took a sacred oath to leave him. He asks her whether she made the promise to the Baron. With extreme difficulty, she tells him yes, and when he asks whether she loves the Baron, she tells him that she does. Furious, Alfredo calls in the guests; he tells them that she had spent all her money on him and that now he must repay her. He flings his winnings at Violetta, who faints in Flora's arms. All the guests denounce him.

Meanwhile, Giorgio Germont has already arrived and seen what Alfredo has done. He reproaches his son for his poor behaviour. The Baron then challenges Alfredo to a duel. Violetta, recovering under the ministrations of her friends, tells Alfredo that he cannot understand how much she still loves him and what she has done for that love. Alfredo despairs over the way he has treated her. She forgives him as his father leads him away.


Act III

Violetta's bedroom in Paris.

Violetta is asleep. She wakes and asks Annina, who has dozed off in a nearby chair, to bring her some water and to let a little light into the room. As she does so, Annina sees Dr. Grenvil approaching. Violetta is happy at the prospect of seeing a true friend and asks Annina to help her up. The doctor asks her how she is; she says that, although she is suffering physically, she has taken spiritual comfort in religion. The doctor assures her that she will soon be better, but she playfully accuses him of lying. As he says goodbye, she asks him not to forget her. At the door, Annina quietly asks the doctor about Violetta's true condition; he replies that her consumption will give her only a few more hours to live. Violetta asks Annina whether it is a holiday; Annina tells her that it is Carnival time. Violetta thinks of those who are suffering during the festivities and tells Annina to give to the poor half of the money she has left.

When Annina leaves, Violetta takes out a letter from Giorgio Germont, reporting that the Baron was wounded in the duel and that Alfredo has gone abroad. Also, Germont has told Alfredo of her sacrifice and promises that both of them will come to her. But it is late, and they have not yet come. Looking in the mirror, Violetta sees how much she has changed and how little hope she has of recovery ("Addio del passato").

Outside, a group of masqueraders celebrates Carnival. Annina returns, anxiously asking her mistress whether she feels better, for she wants to prepare her for a joyful surprise. But Violetta has guessed that Alfredo has returned, and as he rushes in she flings herself into his arms. They beg each other's forgiveness and vow never to part; they will leave Paris and start over ("Parigi, o cara"). Violetta wants to go to a church to give thanks for Alfredo's return, but she is too weak even to dress. Alfredo sends Annina for the doctor. Violetta cannot believe that she must die just when happiness is within her grasp ("Ah! Gran Dio! morir sì giovine").

Giorgio Germont now arrives, followed by Dr. Grenvil and Annina. Germont, keeping his promise, embraces Violetta as a daughter. But she tells him that it is too late, for she is dying, though she is grateful to die among those who are dearest to her in the world. Germont is consumed with remorse. Violetta, meanwhile, presses a miniature portrait of herself into the grieving Alfredo's hand. She asks that if he marries, he give it to his bride and tell her that the one portrayed is in heaven praying for them both ("Prendi: quest'è l'immagine"). Suddenly, she rises; she says that all her pain is gone, that she is strong again and returning to life. As she cries out with joy, she falls lifeless to her bed.

Linda Cantoni (britannica.com)


























































Δείτε επίσης – Watch also

Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata – Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón, Thomas Hampson – Carlo Rizzi, Willy Decker (Salzburg Festival 2005)

Alban Berg: Lulu – Marlis Petersen, Kirill Petrenko, Dmitri Tcherniakov – Bavarian State Opera 2015 (Download the opera)

&

Giacomo Puccini: Madama Butterfly – Kristine Opolais, Roberto Alagna, Maria Zifchak, Dwayne Croft – Karel Mark Chichon, Anthony Minghella (MET 2016 – Download the opera)

Georges Bizet: Carmen – Elena Maximova, Giancarlo Monsalve, Michael Bachtadze, Johanna Parisi – Myron Michailidis, Enrico Castiglione (Taormina Festival 2015, HD 1080p)

Giacomo Puccini: Turandot – Mlada Khudoley, Riccardo Massi, Guanqun Yu, Michael Ryssov – Wiener Symphoniker, Paolo Carignani – Marco Arturo Marelli (Bregenz Festival 2015 – Download the opera)

Engelbert Humperdinck: Hänsel und Gretel – Brigitte Fassbaender, Edita Gruberova, Helga Dernesch, Hermann Prey, Sena Jurinac – Wiener Philharmoniker, Georg Solti (HD 1080p)


Christoph Willibald Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice – A film by Ondřej Havelka – Bejun Mehta, Eva Liebau, Regula Mühlemann – Václav Luks


Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata – Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón, Thomas Hampson – Carlo Rizzi, Willy Decker (Salzburg Festival 2005)


Antonio Vivaldi: Ercole su'l Termodonte – Zachary Stains, Mary-Ellen Nesi, Alan Curtis, John Pascoe (Spoleto Festival 2006)

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Iolanta – Anna Netrebko, Sergei Skorokhodov, Valery Gergiev, Mariinsky Theater 28/9/2009


Giacomo Puccini: Tosca, Act II – Maria Callas, Renato Cioni, Tito Gobbi, Georges Prêtre, Franco Zeffirelli

Dmitri Shostakovich: Katerina Izmailova (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk), 1966 – A film by Mikhail Shapiro – Galina Vishnevskaya, Konstantin Simeonov

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