The Utah Opera last staged La Traviata in 2006. It takes the audience back to the eighteenth century Paris and has all the elements of an engrossing theatrical production; an engaging story line, grand parties, grander sacrifices, memorable characters and some of the greatest operatic music pieces ever written. This emotional, dramatic masterpiece will be staged at the renovated Capitol Theater, which offers the audience a wonderful setting to experience the magic of Verdi’s La Traviata.
Verdi had visited Paris around late 1851 to early 1852 and by chance attended Alexander Dumas, fils’ La dame aux Camélias (The Lady of the Camellias). The play left an impression on him and he began to think of an operatic representation of the story. Verdi could not immediately work on this opera since he had other unfinished assignments. He finally completed La Traviata in 1853. The opera was set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, who worked closely with Verdi to ensure the correct emotion was portrayed by the words. The initial title of the opera was supposed to be Violetta, in reference to the main character, but was eventually changed to La Traviata.
La Traviata is set in the middle of the nineteenth century in Paris. It revolves around Violetta, a famed courtesan, and her story of doomed love. The opera begins by introducing Violetta, the mistress of a wealthy baron, who throws a lavish party to celebrate her recovery from tuberculosis. There she is introduced to Alfredo, who tells her that he has been her longtime admirer and expresses his love for her. Smitten by his charm, Violetta wonders whether he truly is the love of her life. She decides to leave the Baron and moves into a secluded country home with Alfredo, with whom she has fallen head over heels in love. But one day Violetta’ s maid reveals to Alfredo that Violetta has been forced to sell much of her belongings to support the lavish life style the couple leads. Shocked, Alfredo decides to go to Paris to sort out his financial problems.
When Alfredo leaves, his father, Giorgio arrives and reasons with Violetta that she must break off her relationship with Alfredo because it brings disgrace to his family and Alfredo’s sister will never get married. Extremely hesitant at first, Violetta’s defense breaks down at Giorgio’s insistence. With a heavy heart, she decides to permanently leave Alfredo, but he, mistaking her intentions, flows into a violent jealous rage, one which leads to tragic consequences. One of the all time great tragedies, this is one experience no theater lover should miss out on. So hurry up and buy tickets to the show, for watching a world class opera being performed by a world class team is a treat.