Often considered the predominant opera-writer of the nineteenth century, rivaled only by Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi’s compositions have long been staples of the operatic canon. Whether the epic Egyptian romance of Aida, the comic meanderings of Falstaff or the gothic horrors of Rigoletto, Verdi enlivened every type of narrative with his expressive orchestration and emotive arias. Few composers have so carefully matched plot to music; many of Verdi’s innovations are so tied into his drama that few composes afterwards have managed to utilize them.
La traviata (1853), Italian for ‘The Fallen Woman,’ is one of Verdi’s mid-career masterpieces. Based on La dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas, fils – one of the most sensational bestsellers of its age – it tells the tragic tale of Violetta. A noble courtesan famed for her extravagant parties and glamourous lovers, as the opera opens she has recovered from tuberculosis. While celebrating, she meets the gallant bourgeois Alfredo, and soon falls in love. But the honeymoon doesn’t last long – when Alfredo’s father asks Violetta to leave his son for the sake of his daughter’s reputation, a simple but extraordinarily affecting tragedy is set into motion. Verdi’s score perfectly embodies the action on stage, and recognisable songs such as the lovestruck duet ‘One day, happy and ethereal’ and the gamboling brindisi ‘Drink from the joyful cup’ gain power from their theatrical context.
|What||English National Opera: La Traviata|
|Where||English National Opera, London Coliseum, St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4ES | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Charing Cross (underground)|
09 Feb 15 – 13 Mar 15, 7:30 PM – 9:40 PM
|Website||Click here to book via the ENO’s website.|