Verdi's La Traviata: A Short Guide to a Great Opera
Verdis now-popular opera was a fiasco in Venice in 1853, attributable perhaps to the prima donna being noticeably obese, despite apparently wasting with tuberculosis. Soon, however, Verdis scandalous love story was on stage contemporaneously at Her Majestys Theatre, Covent Garden and Drury Lane. Piaves libretto depicts Violetta and Alfredo Germont, the Marguerite and Armand of The Lady with the Camelias by Alexandre Dumas (son of the author of The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers). The bestseller was based on the short life of the courtesan Marie Duplessis, mistress of a duke, a viscount and a baron in Paris the oldest profession, prostitution, was the only way many women could survive, as Victor Hugos Les Misrables depicts. Featuring some of Verdis best-loved tunes, such as the Brindisi and Violettas Sempre libera, La Traviata is enduringly popular. Violetta has been sung by international operatic sopranos such as Patti and Melba, and recently Gheorghiu. Some, like Joan Sutherland, have preferred to stay off-stage and make an opera recording. Domingo and Pavarotti have sung the role of Alfredo. Written by MichaelSteen, author of the acclaimed The Lives and Times of the Great Composers, Short Guides to Great Operas are concise, entertaining and easy to read. They are packed with useful information and informed opinion, helping to make you a truly knowledgeable opera-goer, and so maximising your enjoyment of a great musical experience. Other Short Guides to Great Operas that you may enjoy include Rigoletto, Carmen and La Bohme.
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