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date: 14 November 2018

Traviata, La

A Dictionary of Opera Characters

Joyce Bourne

Traviata, La (The Fallen Woman) 

(Verdi). Lib. by Francesco Maria Piave; 3 acts; f.p. Venice 1853, cond. Gaetano Mares.

Paris and nearby, 1850: Among the guests at Violetta Valéry's party in August, are her physician Dr Grenvil, her friend Flora Bervoix (escorted by the Marchese d’Obigny), Violetta's escort Baron Douphol, Alfredo Germont, and other friends. Alfredo tries to persuade her to give up her life as a courtesan and go away with him. They go to live in a country house near Paris. After three months, Alfredo hears from her maid, Annina, that Violetta has sold most of her possessions to support them. He leaves for Paris to sort out his affairs. In his absence, Violetta is visited by Alfredo's father, Giorgio Germont. He tells her of his daughter, whose prospects of a good marriage are threatened because of her brother's association with a courtesan. He begs Violetta to give up Alfredo for ever. Alfredo returns from Paris and Violetta tells him she is going out for a while. Annina brings him a letter from her, in which she writes that she is returning to her old admirer, Baron Duphol. Germont père tries to comfort his son, but Alfredo sets his heart on revenge. At a party given by Flora, Violetta attends with Duphol. Alfredo is present and wins at the gaming tables. In front of all the guests, he throws his winnings at Violetta in return for her services. His father disowns him. The following February Violetta is dying from consumption, nursed by Annina. She has received a letter from Alfredo's father. Giorgio has told his son of Violetta's sacrifice for their family and Alfredo is on his way to her. There is a passionate reunion as they express their love for each other and their dreams of the future. But it is too late—Violetta dies.