La Traviata: an honest courtesan

October 10, 2013 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi. The online newpaper " Music of Russia "presents a series of stories about the life of the great composer, his great artistic heritage and further destiny his works. So today we will talk about the opera called "La Traviata." What do we know of its first performance? Who was the prototype of the main character? What is its history of creation?

The first performance of the opera was on 6 March 1853 at the La Fenice opera house in Venice. In Italian the word “traviata” means "fallen", "stray" (from the verb   traviare — to go astray). The libretto of the opera is based on the novel "La Dame aux Camelias" by Alexander Dumas fils. As you remember, the plot of the novel unravels tragic love story of Courtesans Marguerite Gautier and young aristocrat Armand Duval.

Perhaps, some readers of this novel will see the autobiography of younger Dumas who was in love with Marie Duplessis. Possibly,it was Dumas father who ruined their happiness and forced his son to break off relations with the "fallen woman", which ultimately led to the death of Duplessis. Perhaps, the author of "The Three Musketeers", "Queen Margot" and "Count of Monte Cristo" served as a prototype for father of Armand Duval in the novel "La Dame aux Camelias" and Giorgio Germont in "La Traviata."

Please, note that the words "fallen woman" are put intentionally in quotation marks. The thing is that the courtesan Violetta Valéry is capable of deep and sincere feeling. She really loves Alfredo Germont and is ready to sacrifice herself for the happiness of the beloved, even if he was an ordinary rake, who fails to appreciate this greatest gift.From the first part of the second act, we learn that Alfredo and Violetta are living in the country. Violetta secretly sales her belongings in order to have an opportunity to live comfortably with her lover. Ashamed, the young man returned to Paris in the hope of improving the financial situation. At this time, Alfredo's father comes to Violetta’s house. Germont requires a young woman to break the relationship with his son. The Cruel, he does not even suspect that this love of life prolongs Violetta’ s life, despite the fact that she was terminally ill.

Now in the twenty-first century tuberculosis patients have a chance to recover! Maybe this situation does not seem enough tragic to somebody. However, you should remember that the action takes place in the middle of the XIX century in France. A young woman living in poverty, with no right for happiness, and presence of her beloved in the last minute...

After all, she not his wife, and his father wants the bride of his son to be of noble birth. Though the true "nobility" is independent of the presence of bluebloods! Above all is the nobility of soul of the heroine. She is ready to abandon the last hope of recovery for the benefit of her beloved. Whether it was the true benefit, we can only guess...

Insidious Germont makes Violetta keep silence about this unpleasant meeting. But if the old man soon forgets about it and returns to his business as usual, for Violetta this conversation eventually proved fatal, nearly caused the death of her lover

As you know, because of a quarrel at a ball at Flora Bervua occurred the duel between Alfred and Baron Douphol. As a result of the duel Alfred was wounded and forced to leave the country. But he soon returned. Germont qualms seeing aggravation of Violetta’s illness and tells the truth to his son/

Unfortunately, time is wasted; Violetta love has a tragic end. But even death itself is powerless over true love, may be this is what exactly Giuseppe Verdi wanted to tell us by with enchanting music of the La Traviata" ...

Dina Mukhamedzyanova

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