Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave,
after Alexandre Dumas fils´s play La Dame aux camélias
Musical Director: Valery Gergiev
Musical Preparation: Olga Krukovich
Stage Director: Charles Roubaud
Revival Stage Director: Anna Shishkina
Set Designer: Bernard Arnould
Costume Designer: Katia Duflot
Lighting Designer: Igor Karmanov
Choreographer: Dmitry Korneyev
Principal Chorus Master: Larisa Shveikovskaya
Chorus Master: Anna Pipiya
Paris. A party is underway at the home of Violetta Valéry, a well-known demimondaine. Violetta´s admirers are celebrating her return to health. Alfredo Germont is among the guests. He asks Gastone to introduce him as he is in love with her. At the request of the other guests, Alfredo sings a toast in her honour. As the others go to dance, Violetta is taken ill. She asks to be left alone. Alfredo, concerned that the woman he loves is ill, begs her to change her way of life and believe in his love. His love gives rise to Violetta´s hopes for happiness.
A country house near Paris. Alfredo and Violetta live here in contentment. Annina, Violetta´s maid, confesses to Alfredo that her mistress is secretly selling her belongings. Tormented by his conscience, Alfredo leaves for Paris to deal with these financial affairs.
When she returns, Violetta cannot find Alfredo. Giuseppe the gardener gives her a letter from Flora. It is an invitation to a ball. Violetta lays it to one side in indifference – she will not attend.
Suddenly, Alfredo´s father Giorgio Germont appears. He accuses Violetta of ruining his son and soiling the family name. Violetta is in despair: she is mortally ill and has not long to live; her love for Alfredo is her only joy and comfort. Giorgio Germont is surprised at the sincerity of her emotions, but still insists that Violetta leaves his son. Violetta agrees and decides to sacrifice her own happiness.
Alfredo returns from Paris. He is surprised by Violetta´s perturbed manner. For the final time, she tells him of her undying love, then she leaves.
Alfredo is overjoyed. "Ah, this dear one lives only for my love!" he says of Violetta. He is brought a letter; it is a letter of farewell from Violetta, in which she says she is returning to Baron Douphol. Alfredo is shocked.
Giorgio Germont enters. He asks his son to return home to Provence. Alfredo does not listen to his father and he is unable to comprehend Violetta´s actions. Suddenly he notices Flora´s invitation. He now knows where to find Violetta. He must leave for Paris immediately…
The ball at Flora´s. Alfredo is gambling. Violetta enters with Baron Douphol. She is in torment from having abandoned the man she loves.
Alfredo attempts to raise a quarrel with the Baron.
The guests are called to dinner; Alfredo and Violetta are left alone. Alfredo insists that she returns to him, but she is unable to break her promise. Seized with envy, Alfredo calls the guests then throws his money before Violetta – his payment for her love.
Ravaged by sickness and anguish and abandoned by her friends, Violetta is slowly dying. She knows that the end is close. Violetta reads once again a letter from Giorgio Germont. He tells her that Alfredo is due to return and that he now knows everything – he will come to ask her forgiveness.
Excitedly, Annina informs Violetta that Alfredo has come. The lovers are together once more and there would appear to be no bounds to their happiness. They dream of leaving Paris forever and starting life anew.
But Violetta has no longer the strength to live. The hour of her death has come.
An image of the fallen woman (this is how the title of the opera is translated) with a noble heart grew extremely popular in the nineteenth century. The theme of the splendor and miseries of courtesans, besides the novel of Honore de Balzac with the same title, was touched upon by Joseph Eugene Sue in his novel The Mysteries of Paris and by Vsevolod Krestovsky in his novel Slums of St Petersburg. The Characters of those novels have their literary sisters and heirs represented by Dostoevsky’s Sonya Marmeladova, Zhenka from Kuprin’s story The Pit, and Katyusha Maslova from Tolstoy’s Resurrection. In 1848 Verdi was a witness of a scandalous success of the autobiographical novel of Alexandre Dumas, fils, La Dame aux Camelias (The Lady of the Camellias). Dumas told his own story of passion for Marie Duplessis, a famous woman of demimonde (in the book she appears under the name of Marguerite Gauthier). She died of tuberculosis in young age. The book turned out to be so popular that the word camellia soon became a common noun to mark a kept-woman. The opening of Verdi’s opera that was based on the novel’s plot, did not avoid a scandal either. However the unfavorable reaction of the audience was provoked not so much by the story and music but by the performers. Otherwise would it be possible to explain why a bit later La traviata was triumphantly performed in the largest opera theatres, and today it is in the top 10 operas of the world opera repertoire?
The music of Verdi’s opera is saturated with the element of waltz that reigned in European salons of the nineteenth century. This atmosphere was precisely captured in Pushkin’s poetry, “Both dull and yet so flaky just like a twirl of youthful life, the noisy waltzing twirl so swiftly goes around, a coupe after couple is darting by.” A short and bright life of the courtesan Violetta flies by very quickly in that chase for pleasures, just like that twirl of waltz. The waltz for that time is more than a dance. Its emergence made a real revolution. It replaced the arrogant minuet of the previous historic period when dance partners cold only touch tips of their fingers. When the waltz came it immediately gained a reputation of ‘a devil’s dance’ and became a symbol of seduction. Its moves were considered inappropriate because the man was supposed to embrace the woman and hold her like that in front of other people. However it did not stop the waltz from spreading like epidemics and reaching the highest circles of the society.
La traviata is truly an opera-portrait of Violetta. The character of her lover Alfred and his father Giorgio Germont really reveal themselves only by being around her. The role of Violetta is really a part for a Prima Donna and they always stage this opera having in mind a leading soprano in the company. La traviata at the the Primorsky Stage was brought from the historic Mariinsky Theatre Stage. It was produced by the French team with their director Charles Roubaud invited by Valery Gergiev. It is a spectacular show with silver and golden scenery built according to historic designs, using miles of silk and velvet fabric to make luxurious costumes. It was staged in 2002 and the leading role was to be sung by the world famous opera star Anna Netrebko.
World premiere: 6 March 1853, La Fenice, Venice
Premiere of this production: 15 December 2002, Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg
Premiere in Vladivostok: 25 September 2015
Running time: 3 hours 15 minutes
The performance has two intervals
The highlighting of performances by age represents recommendations.
This highlighting is being used in accordance with Federal Law N436-FZ dated 29 December 2010 (edition dated 1 May 2019) "On the protection of children from information that may be harmful to their health"