La Traviata, a glorious work that deserves to be revisited time and again, was last performed eight years ago at Vancouver Opera. This perennial favourite has been given a brand-new look and features a terrific cast. And, in an unprecedented collaboration, five Canadian opera companies have joined forces to produce lavish sets and costumes inspired by the decadent music hall scene of 1920s Paris. Violetta, a famous Parisian courtesan who is consumed both by love and a life- threatening illness, is sung by Canadian Emily Dorn. Tenor Andrew Haji, who delighted audiences as Nemorino in last year’s production of L’Elisir d’amore, is the love-struck Alfredo.
The performance will last approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes, including 1 intermission.
Sung in Italian with English SURTITLES™
Composed by Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave after the play La Dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils
Giuseppe Verdi's (1813-1901) prolific career spanning six decades made him an icon in his native country of Italy. He produced many successful operas which are at the core of today’s repertoire, and became known for his skill in creating melody and his profound use of theatrical effect. La Traviata's libretto is by Francesco Maria Piave (1810–1876), who also collaborated with Verdi on Ernani, Macbeth, Rigoletto, and La Forza del Destino.
Violetta Valéry knows that she will die soon, exhausted by her restless life as a courtesan. At a party she is introduced to Alfredo Germont, who has been fascinated by her for a long time. Rumor has it that he has been enquiring about her health every day. The guests are amused by this seemingly naïve and emotional attitude, and they ask Alfredo to propose a toast. He celebrates true love, and Violetta responds in praise of free love. She is touched by his candid manner and honesty. Suddenly she feels faint, and the guests withdraw.
Only Alfredo remains behind and declares his love. There is no place for such feelings in her life, Violetta replies. But she gives him a camellia, asking him to return when the flower has faded. He realizes this means he will see her again the following day. Alone, Violetta is torn by conflicting emotions—she doesn’t want to give up her way of life, but at the same time she feels that Alfredo has awakened her desire to be truly loved.
MUSIC YOU NEED TO HEAR
Composed by Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave.
Verdi’s timeless romantic tragedy had its premiere at Teatro La Fenice in Venice in 1853. It was first performed at Vancouver Opera in 1961, and was last produced in 2011. This is the 11th time Vancouver Opera has mounted a main-stage production of La Traviata.
Pictured: Our 1961 production of La Traviata.