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
Supported by Handel and Yvonne Evans
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.
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
Violetta Valéry Venera Gimadieva
Alfredo Germont Michael Fabiano
Giorgio Germont Tassis Christoyannis
Gastone de Letorières Emanuele D’Aguanno
Doctor Grenvil Graeme Broadbent
‘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