What would you give up for love?
Always the belle of the ball, Violetta, the most elegant courtesan in all of Paris, has her choice of wealthy admirers falling at her feet. She lives for the glamorous lifestyle of high society, but when she finds herself deeply in love with the penniless aristocratic poet Alfredo, she is willing to give everything up for him. Can she be accepted just as a woman who has fallen in love, or is she to remain a ‘fallen woman’ whose love has no future?
Based on Alexandre Dumas fils’s novel, La Dame aux Camélias, Verdi’s timeless opera features some of the most evocative arias and melodies including the instantly recognisable Brindisi (the drinking song) and the beautifully poignant finale, Addio del passato. Elegant and highly charged, WNO’s five-star production will leave you in no doubt why this heart-wrenching tale of thwarted love, scandal and self-sacrifice makes La traviata a favourite with audiences across the world.
Order a programme
WNO's new productions and new commissions are supported by the John Ellerman Foundation. Leading production support from the Colwinston Charitable Trust. Supported by Dunard Fund and WNO Donors.
Cast & Creative
Violetta, a courtesan under the protection of Baron Douphol, is giving a party. She is introduced to Alfredo Germont, a young man of solid Provençal family who confesses to being already in love with her. As she leads her guests off to dance, Violetta is overcome by a coughing fit. Her frivolous friends are unconcerned, Alfredo is not. He again protests his love but she discourages him. Left alone when her guests finally depart, Violetta finds herself unexpectedly touched by the young man’s passionate declaration. Despite this she convinces herself that her only choice is to continue to pursue a life of hectic pleasure.
A country house near Paris, three months later
Violetta has given in to her feelings and she and Alfredo are now living together in the country, where her health has improved. When he accidentally discovers from her maid, Annina, that Violetta has been selling her possessions in order to pay their bills, Alfredo is overcome with shame and leaves for Paris in order to raise the necessary money.
Violetta is surprised by an unheralded visit from Giorgio Germont, Alfredo’s father. Having assumed that his son has been squandering his inheritance on Violetta, he is shocked to discover that she has been paying for everything. He begs her to break away from his son as their relationship is threatening his daughter’s prospects of marriage into a respectable family. Germont persuades Violetta that she must make the sacrifice in order to protect the future happiness of both his son and daughter. A distraught Violetta finally agrees and sends word to Baron Douphol, signalling her return to Paris. When Germont leaves she writes a farewell note to Alfredo, to be given to him when she has gone.
When Alfredo reads the note he rejects his father’s attempts to console him and rushes back to Paris, determined to avenge himself for what he believes to be Violetta’s betrayal
Flora’s house in Paris, the same night
Another party is under way. Alfredo arrives alone, expecting to find Violetta back in her old circle. His fears are realised when she appears, on the arm of Baron Douphol. The two men play at cards and Alfredo wins a large amount of money. Desperate to prevent them fighting, Violetta tries to persuade Alfredo to leave the party. He refuses and forces her to say that she loves the Baron. In a fury, Alfredo calls all the guests to witness the repayment of his debts and flings his winnings in Violetta’s face. She collapses. Germont witnesses his son’s outburst and reproaches him for his cruel behaviour.
Violetta's sickroom, a few months later
Violetta is dying, friendless and in penury, with only Annina for company. She reads a letter from Germont telling her that he has told Alfredo the truth and that they are both coming to beg her forgiveness.
The two lovers are reunited and plan feverishly for a happier future, but it is too late. Violetta dies in Alfredo’s arms.