Opera in three acts
Performed in Italian with Russian subtitles
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, based on Alexandre Dumas-fils’s play La Dame aux Camélias
The opera was written in 1853. This version was first performed in Perm in 2016
A co-production by Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre, Unlimited Performing Arts (Denmark), Landestheater Linz (Austria) and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg (Luxembourg)
A blockbuster operatic melodrama from the most “calm and collected” stage director of our time — a disciple of experimental theatre, the outstanding American director Robert Wilson. His strange, abstract, surreal pictures engender gasps of adulation. The fact that Wilson is to stage an emotional opera from Verdi is already intriguing.
The source of the plot of La traviata is a novel by Alexandre Dumas fils, which he subsequently adapted for the stage. A courtesan appearing on stage as the main heroine, who sacrifices her love for a young aristocrat for the sake of his happiness and career, was perceived by the Minister of Police as undermining public morals. The matter was complicated by the fact that the inspiration behind the character of the courtesan was a real person — a demi-monde lady, known in the salons of Paris, and Dumas fils’ mistress. As a result, the play was banned from the stage in France for a long time. Verdi provoked no less public outcry subsequently and was responsible for putting a heroine with such questionable social status on opera stage for the first time.
Gastone, viscount de Létorières
Violetta Valéry, a courtesan, famous in Parisian high society, throws a party in her home after a long illness. Along with her doctor Grenvil, the other guests at the feast are Flora Bervoix and Marchese d'Obigny, Violetta's current lover Barone Douphol, and Gastone de Letorières. Gaston introduces a new secret admirer to Violetta — Alfredo Germont. Alfredo sings a brindisi — a drinking song in which he glorifies love, while the hostess toasts in honour of the joys of life.
Suddenly, Violetta almost faints and exits the hall, leaving everyone to dance. Alfredo follows her. He is worried about Violetta's health and implores her to let him take care of her. She rejects his declaration of love in a playful manner.
Dawn is breaking. The party is coming to an end, the guests leave. Violetta realises that her conversation with Alfredo has touched her deeply. His voice can still be heard in the street... She thinks that she is falling in love. But, considering the idea reckless, she decides that her destiny is a life full of heady pleasures.
Winter has come. Violetta and Alfredo are together. They have moved to a country house outside of Paris. Alfredo learns from Violetta's maid Annina, that Violetta is selling all her belongings to secure their country idyll, and is determined to prevent this.
While Alfredo is away, his father, Giorgio Germont, arrives at the house. He wants to take his son home. The elder Germont tells Violetta that his daughter’s wedding is at risk because of Alfredo's misalliance. Violetta realises that her attempt to leave her previous life behind is failing. And even though she understands that she does not have long to live, Violetta succumbs to Germont and promises to part with Alfredo under the condition that after her death he learns of her sacrifice.
With Annina's help, Violetta informs Barone Douphol that she is prepared to come back to him and accompany him to Flora Bervoix's ball. She writes a letter to Alfredo, explaining that she does not love him anymore. Handing the letter to a messenger, Violetta leaves for Paris.
In vain Giorgio Germont attempts to console his son and his requests to return home are futile. Alfredo is determined to confront Violetta. Seeing Flora’s invitation, he guesses where he might find his beloved.
At Flora's masked ball arranged by Gaston, at first the gypsies predict the future, then the Spanish matadors perform. As soon as a game of cards begins, to everyone's astonishment, Alfredo arrives. Violetta, who has arrived a little earlier accompanied by the Barone, is stunned.
Alfredo wins a large amount of money from the Baron. In response to Violetta turning him down, Alfredo publicly humiliates her, throwing money at her feet as compensation for her time and efforts. Giorgio Germont, who witnesses the scene, rebukes him for his imprudence. The other witnesses reproach him too. Despite her pain, Violetta refuses to reveal the real reason behind her actions. Alfredo realises his mistake but the Baron has already challenged him to a duel.
Annina tends to the sick Violetta at her bedside. Dottore Grenvil tells Annina that Violetta has merely a few hours left to live.
Violetta asks Annina to go to the post office to see if there are any messages. A letter from Giorgio Germont arrives, in which he reports that Alfredo lightly injured the Barone in the duel and then travelled abroad.
Alfredo learns the truth about Violetta's sacrifice from his father and rushes to her in order to ask for forgiveness. A carnival is underway on the streets of Paris.
When Alfredo arrives, Violetta regains hope. She wants to go outside but is too weak. The doctor, called by Annina, cannot do anything to help her. Violetta gives Alfredo her portrait and asks him to marry another woman when the time comes and to tell his future bride about her sacrifice in the name of love. A moment later, she dies.