Giuseppe Verdi

La traviata

17 July - 23 August 2014
Festival 2014
This production has now finished. See La traviata on stage at a venue near you as part of our autumn Tour

A DVD of this production will be released in early 2015, pre-order your copy now

‘For Venice I’m doing La dame aux camélias, which will probably be called La traviata. A subject for our own age,’ wrote Giuseppe Verdi in January 1853. A year earlier, he had been in Paris for the premiere run of Alexandre Dumas fils’play, a fictionalised fantasia on the author’s turbulent affair with the Parisian courtesan Marie Duplessis, who had died of tuberculosis, aged 23.

During the 1850s, Verdi found himself increasingly drawn to stories of complex, ambiguous outsiders who challenge the limits of society. La traviata continues a series of intimate, personal ‘domestic’ operas by Verdi, including Luisa Miller, Stiffelio and Rigoletto.

In La traviata, we hear Verdi’s music naturally evolving to accommodate the growing realism of his characters and settings. While remaining true to his bel canto roots, Verdi creates music which bends, stretches and grows with Violetta, a heroine of unprecedented depth and dimension who runs the gamut from glittering coloratura to melting lyricism to dramatic declamation. In their Glyndebourne debut, Russian soprano Venera Gimadieva portrays this iconic role, opposite American tenor Michael Fabiano as Alfredo.

The late Verdi scholar Julian Budden described La traviata as, ‘essentially a myth, none the less universal for being modern … and having had its roots in personal experience.’ For this new production, director Tom Cairns returns to create a world that melds the archetypal and the modern, and the great Verdian Sir Mark Elder conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

A new production for the 2014 Festival
Sung in Italian with English supertitles

La Traviata (recorded at the 1987 Festival) is available on DVD in the Glyndebourne shop

Supported by Handel and Yvonne Evans

La traviata will be broadcast LIVE 10 August 2014 at 5.30pm.
Find your nearest venue listed below.

Act I

At a party she is hosting, the courtesan Violetta Valéry is introduced to young Alfredo Germont. Violetta suddenly feels ill but assures her guests that she is fine. Alfredo, left alone with Violetta, confesses that he has loved her from afar for a year. She initially dismisses him, but is touched by his sincerity. After Alfredo and the other party guests leave, Violetta reflects on her feelings for him and on what life would be like if she accepted his love. But she cuts short her fantasy and rededicates herself to the pursuit of pleasure. 

Act II / Scene 1

For three months, Violetta and Alfredo have been living together in the country. Alfredo learns that Violetta has been selling her possessions in order to pay their expenses, so he leaves for Paris to make other financial arrangements. Germont, Alfredo’s father, unexpectedly visits, demanding that Violetta leave Alfredo so that his sister’s impending marriage will not be threatened by scandal. Violetta first objects but finally, in spite of her love for Alfredo, promises to renounce him forever. She writes Alfredo a letter ending their relationship, but before she can depart, Alfredo returns and is confused by her agitated state. After Violetta leaves, he reads her letter. Germont returns and tries to comfort his son, but Alfredo decides to confront Violetta.

Act II / Scene 2

At a soirée given by Violetta’s friend Flora Bervoix, the guests are surprised by Alfredo’s arrival. Violetta soon appears with Baron Douphol, her new lover. Alfredo gambles with the gentlemen, pretending not to notice Violetta, who is alarmed by his belligerent behaviour. Fearing for his safety, Violetta begs Alfredo to leave, but he demands that she leave with him. When Violetta refuses, Alfredo summons the other guests and publicly humiliates Violetta. Germont arrives and denounces his son’s behaviour. The Baron challenges Alfredo to a duel. 


Violetta is now gravely ill, and Dr Grenvil confides to Annina, her servant, that Violetta will not live much longer. Violetta rereads a letter from Germont informing her that Alfredo fled after wounding the Baron in the duel, but that he now knows of her sacrifice and is hurrying to her side. Alfredo arrives, begging Violetta’s forgiveness. The lovers dream of resuming their life together, but fate intervenes.

Creative team

Conductors Mark Elder / David Afkham (13, 16, 20 and 23 August)
Director Tom Cairns
Designer Hildegard Bechtler
Choreographer Aletta Collins
Lighting Designer Peter Mumford
Video and Projection Designer Nina Dunn 

Cast includes

Violetta Valéry Venera Gimadieva
Alfredo Germont Michael Fabiano
Giorgio Germont Tassis Christoyannis
Gastone de Letorières Emanuele D’Aguanno
Doctor Grenvil Graeme Broadbent

London Philharmonic Orchestra
The Glyndebourne Chorus

Venera Gimadieva as Violetta in La traviata, Glyndebourne Festival 2014, Photo: Richard Hubert Smith
Michael Fabiano as Alfredo and Tassis Christoyannis as Giorgio in La traviata, Festival 2014, Photo: Richard Hubert Smith
Venera Gimadieva as Violetta in La traviata, Glyndebourne Festival 2014, Photo: Richard Hubert Smith
Venera Gimadieva as Violetta in La traviata, Glyndebourne Festival 2014, Photo: Richard Hubert Smith
Venera Gimadieva as Violetta and cast in La traviata, Glyndebourne Festival 2014, Photo: Richard Hubert Smith
Venera Gimadieva as Violetta and cast in La traviata, Glyndebourne Festival 2014, Photo: Richard Hubert Smith
Venera Gimadieva as Violetta and Michael Fabiano as Alfredo in La traviata, Festival 2014, Photo: Richard Hubert Smith
Venera Gimadieva as Violetta and cast in La traviata, Glyndebourne Festival 2014, Photo: Richard Hubert Smith
Michael Fabiano as Alfredo in La traviata, Festival 2014, Photo: Richard Hubert Smith

‘Glyndebourne's impeccable new Traviata is a palpable hit.’
Rated 5* by The Observer

‘...a Traviata that glances to the past while stepping resolutely into opera’s emotional and dramatic future.’
Rated 4* by The Independent

‘This is a thoroughly captivating night.’
Rated 4* by the Daily Mail 

‘All musical elements fused to make great, stylish music drama of Verdi's intimate tragedy’
Rated 5* by The Arts Desk

'...exquisitely conducted by Mark Elder…there can be no doubt of his mastery of the opera’s dramatic shape and instrumental palette, flawlessly rendered by the London Philharmonic.'
Rated 4* by Daily Telegraph

'Three ideally cast lead singers and Glyndebourne choristers carrying all before them were blest, in Mark Elder, with a conductor capable of shaping and exploring the music so that it gleamed like new.’
Rated 4* by What's On Stage


I was kindly taken to see La Traviata on the 7th October. The singing was amazing. Slightly disappointed in the modern costumes but the thing that myself and my two friends found very disappointing was (we were sitting on the right in the circle on the first floor)that a lot of the action took place in the right hand corner of the stage (with a big blank space in the middle of the stage) and we could not see a thing.Why this was allowed to happen we do not understand when the rest of the stage was practically empty.

We have been coming to Glyndebourne now for many years. The production and performance of La Traviata we saw on 20th August was right up there with the best of anything we have seen with you. Truly moving!

Sometimes one knows a few minutes into an operatic production that it is going to be an amazing experience : one that, in Stendhal's words leaves you "drenched" (musically speaking of course and nothing to do with the unkind weather on August 13). Last night's Traviata was such a production. Superb orchestra conducted by David Afkham; one of the most perfect Violettas we have ever seen : warm, sympathetic , with a lovely voice and an exceptional acting talent, Venera Gimadieva has it all. The two Germonts were also excellent and fully deserved the enthusiatic applause they got.
But the staging was too paired down, with no sense of Paris in the nineteenth century (or any century). Years ago I saw the Visconti production of this opera, at Covent Garden, which gave an all-time demonstration of how space could be filled to create more space. Here the empty spaces seemed to be too small even to have a proper ballet in the gambling scene : a pity! The costumes also lacked conviction and did not appear to belong to any particular period.
But for all that, the orchestra and the singers carried all before them and we came away feeling that we had had a truly great Glyndebourne evening.
Warned in advance that Glyndebourne is putting on a string of minor operas next year, can we hope that those who make the decisions will continue to put on "signature" operas such as this production of Traviata?

Hello Eleanor
Thank you for your comments - the streaming can be found on this page Refersh the page if you can't see it straight away or you can view it online at The Telegraph website

Thank you very much for taking the time to submit your comments. We have formally logged your feedback regarding your restricted view seats and notified our Technical Director of the issue you have raised. Please could I ask you to email me with a telephone number and convenient time and I would be very happy to discuss further.
Kind regards
Head of Customer Service

Well I have read the above comments. How sad that so many have to pick this apart as if they were a critic!!

It was truly wonderful. Violetta was just amazing. What a voice! And as for the LPO under Mark Elder's control, truly sublime!

My message to the "unhappy" know what to do next year then!!

Glyndebourne is always a highlight of the year. And AGAIN, you did not disappoint!! Just bring Porgy & Bess back will you? I will never forget Willard & Cynthia.

My third viewing on 13th August and I see four more. The conception has now had time to sink in. Usually I find the Germonts the most insufferable characters in the whole of opera but here they really do spring to life. The scenery and direction are just classic. Gorgeous to look at and utterly focussed. The final scene can cloy in a poor production. Here I find it exhilarating rather like the death of the main character in the rather similarly staged Janacek Makropulos Case here at Glyndebourne. Please revive soon and add it to the list of probables for the 2034 centenary season.

I was lucky enough to get a pair of returns so that my partner I were able to see La Traviata last night (8th Aug). Now we knew that the seats were marked 'restricted visibility' but in the past, productions have been staged to give even the trickiest of seats something of a view. Not though in this production. So much of the action took place cramped over in the far right hand side of the stage that big sections of the audience were unable to see a thing. For much of the third act, this latest Traviata was really something of a travesty - a huge stage, empty apart from a chair, for Violetta's bed was hidden away underneath the right hand circle - if you were unfortunate enough to be on that side of the seating plan, you couldn't see a thing. In the Gaming Room scene, where Alfredo throws his winnings at Violetta, I had to assume that was what happened, as again you could see neither of the main performers. At least at times we could see something - there must have been people further back from us who wondered what they had paid to see (or more importantly, not see).
The music and singing were sublime - I would disagree strongly with the broadsheet critics, for I thought Alfredo was superb. But, one does expect a little more in the way of attention to detail. Moving the action 6 - 8ft further out onto the stage would have transformed the experience for a significant section of the audience.
Nor is this problem something 'new' to last night. Talking with the staff at the event (who were equally top class)the problem has already been complained about, so why has no remedial action be taken. It is not a big thing to ask for - to see 'most' of the show. But missing key scenes, no - that is not what you expect when you come to Glyndebourne.
From David Henshall.

coming on Saturday 16 August.

Comments indicate something for everyone. I am sure it will satisfy me,too.7

I understand that the filmed stream of Traviata from the 10th August was meant to be online for 7 days after it went live but I can't seem to find it - when will this be put up?

I am a professional craftsman. I was taken to a screening of la traviata last night. Wonderful.

We thought the singing, conducting and orchestral playing outstanding on the evening we attended(8th August). Pity about the staging, bare with little sense of place. Opera is supposed to be a visual as well as a musical experience and its overall impact, for us, was definitely weakened by the way it was staged.

Hello Jo,
It will be available on our website for seven days after the broadcast.

As I won't be able to watch the online broadcast of La Traviatq on August 10th will I be able to watch it after then, or download it to watch later ?

Perfect ! Congratulations and thank you.

A superb production, when Mark Elder is conducting the music gives me goosebumps. Violetta and Alfredo were excellent, not just their voices but such expressive acting, as were the rest of the cast. The music did so much more than accompany, it was exquisite in its own right without intruding.

You will be able to view La Traviata on our website - there will be a link on the home page on the day. It is also available on the telegraph website and around the country in cinemas. The listings can be found at the top of this page and by clicking the In cinemas tab. Thanks.

How do you view the streaming performance of "La Traviata" on Sunday 10th August? I cannot see any links or a section of the website where you can do this (:

What a contrast.
Richard Morrison in The Times & Andrew Clements in The Guardian could have been watching two different operas (on possibly two different nights) rather than the one opera and the self-same opening night.
My party attended the second night of ‘La Traviata’ (although we have spoken to those who shared seats with Messrs. Morrison & Clements) and .. .. we saw a “Times” performance.
Rather than Venera Gimadieva’s “huge presence, compelling to watch, with a voice of thrilling security and range” we listened to a voice ‘brash’ and ‘harsh’ in the upper register because it was, above all .. LOUD ..
‘Cor, Guv, it goes through you like a gale off the ‘ackney Marshes !’
Luckily we stayed for the second half when, having just about kept-up with the ‘boys in the band’ who seemed intent on accompanying the singers whatever signals Mark Elder was sending to his bookmaker, he managed to rein-in his wayward soprano and we heard a fine balance between the voices and between voices & instruments which had been lacking previously.
Is there no-one who could have sat in the auditorium during rehearsals and reported back-stage with sage advice ?
The Chorus get to wear some deliciously ‘posh frocks’ - in a staging which was all-too static (remember the weaving movements of a stage full of Meistersingers ? the gymnastics of high-flying trapezes in Rusalka ? the fires of hell in Don Giovanni ? the flying bicycles of Rinaldo ?) - while here we have to be content with a nod to the heroine’s life-style .. she’s on the bed .. she’s off the bed .. she’s back on the bed, again; which is repeated in the second half with .. she’s dying; no, she’s up and walking around; no, she’s climbing the wall; and now, she’s back on the bed, again.
Tenor Michael Fabiano (and a fine Tenor he is, too) acted the complete handbook of Italian tenor poses for us – hands clasped to chest, hands way-out to sides, head thrown back, etc – that is, when he could be heard above ‘La Venera’.
Tassis Christoyannis gave us an object lesson for fans of Soap-operas of detaching the identification of the actor and the role they play with how they portray that role. His was the performance which told us most about his character – a physically abusive father, manipulating the members of his family, and using any and all means to force his objectives upon them.
Along with the producers of ‘Pretty Woman’ (a similar plot-line to ‘La Trav.’ and home of the excellent quotation “..Peoples’ reactions to opera the first time they see it is very dramatic; they either love it or they hate it: & if they love it they will always love it.” I regret Verdi not developing “Amami, Alfredo!” into a full-blown aria of its own. It is arguably the best tune in the whole show. I have been quoted as saying “ is the classic ‘less is more’ tune .. why, any idiot could have written it .. so why didn’t I ?”
Whether my party received ‘value-for-money’ at £250 per seat with such a one-sided opening half is for us to decide (perhaps we received rather more than we could handle ?). Whether the generosity of the Evans’ support for this production was amply rewarded, given the two chandeliers ‘borrowed’ from the Wallop restaurant, an awfully large amount of quilted headboard fabric on display, and only a single bed for poor Violetta to work from is, of course, for them to decide.
Using the sporting analogy in Soprano vs Tenor, this was truly ‘an opera of two halves’ and, in this fixture, “The boy done good”.

A wonderfully moving and engrossing evening.

The updating was well thought-out and sympathetic. All the singers were excellent and utterly convincing. The orchestra played magnificently under Mark Elder, who bought out nuances in the score that I had not previously heard. It was almost as though I hadn't previously seen the opera as all memories of other productions were wiped away.

Would be very happy to see this production again. Congratulations!

Please contact the Box Office to check for any availability or returns on 01273 815 000. Thanks

we would like to purchase two tickets for La Traviata on Wednesday 20th Aug anyone wants to sell thank you

A superb opening performance - the best production so far this Festival and another Glyndebourne triumph.

Opening night revelatory in every sense. Singing playing designs and direction all impossible to fault. I loved the final waft of the scenery.
The gossamer textures Mark Elder coaxed from the LPO were delicious. I was at the front of the Upper Circle and even the quietest playing was clearly audible, something that would not be achievable in larger houses. So our thanks yet again to the late Sir George Christie for his vision in giving us such a perfect opera house.

How good it is to have friends .. and even better to have good friends .. friends that have obtained tickets for La Trav. which we were unable to do, and so we shall meet up at Glyndebourne-2014 after all.
There will be "no worries" about the performance; Handel and Yvonne Evans do not seem to put a foot wrong in what they support (oh, that we were able to do likewise).

Hello David,
We will be live streaming Der Rosenkavalier on 8 June and La Traviata on 10 August on our website and via the Telegraph website.

My wife and I saw Michael Fabiano as Alfredo at the Santa Fe Opera last summer. He was brilliant in every way, with a voice of stunning beauty and lyricism. Best of luck to him and your entire production!

Showing productions in UK cinemas is fine - what about the rest of the world? ROH covent Garden is streaming performances to the web. How about that Glyndebourne?

As a curtain raiser to the Glyndebourne season I have been sampling the wares of ROH. Their Traviata which I saw on 30th April is 20 years old, nearly as old as the heroine, and with Diana Damrau and Dmitri Horostovsky in the cast is still attracting 100% sell out audiences. With very good reason. I hope Glyndebourne's effort will be good enough to revive in 2034 on the Glyndebourne centenary. The opera itself is good enough to revive every year.

If tickets have sold out for a performance of your choice, don't forget you can apply to our returns club or please telephone the Box Office on +44 (0)1273 813813 to check for returned tickets.

My husband and I will be visiting in London in July, 2014. We would like to purchase tickets for La Traviata on Thursday, July 24, 2014. Can you help us with this request? Thank you.

I'm in Brazil and I want to by 2 tickets (age 72 and 66) for La Traviata in august 20, wednesday.
How can I by it?

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