La Traviata, Opera by G. Verdi
There are few operas in the repertoire that can compete with the magic and fame that Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata commands. The love story of the quick-witted and disarmingly beautiful elite courtesan Violetta Valéry and the naïve bourgeois youth Alfredo Germont can scandalise and mesmerise all at once. It has a contemporary feel, also due to later productions’ convention of embedding the action into the present. La Traviata has acquired a timeless quality that fits the historic venue of Arena di Verona perfectly: a classic opera on a millennia-old stage, bathing in each other’s glory. But there is more: This performance of La Traviata comes in an attractive package with a 25-minute sightseeing train ride through beautiful Verona with all its major sights and a complementary audio guide in eight languages. Experience the City of Love and one of opera’s most tragic romances in one irresistible double feature!
Today this sounds like a bad joke, but when La Traviata premiered at Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice on 6 March 1853, the performance was a disaster. Poor casting choices, especially in the case of the leading lady Violetta, made audiences boo and jeer. However, Verdi did not lose confidence in his work and took great care with the follow-up production, exerting much more creative and casting control. As a result, the next performance of La Traviata at the Venetian Teatro San Benedetto on 6 May 1854 was the indubitable success that the work always deserved. In the hands of capable and well-rehearsed singers, Verdi’s astounding melodies could finally reach audiences’ hearts. The world-famous ‘Brindisi’ from the opening scene and Violetta’s show-stopping, defiant aria ‘Sempre libera’ are just two of many stand-out numbers that make the opera an evergreen favourite.
La Traviata’s origins lie in the 1852 play La Dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils, derived from his own novel of the same title from 1848. Based on the tragic life of the young courtesan and central figure of Parisian high-life Marie Duplessis, the play was an international sensation. Francesco Maria Piave produced the libretto for Verdi’s opera. In it, the smoldering Violetta Valéry holds the French capital’s leading men in the palm of her hand, yet her numerous conquests and affairs have made her cynical about romance. Enter the young Alfredo Germont who is determined to show her that there is still time for true love. Will his dedication overcome Violetta’s disillusionment and society’s scorn?
La Traviata at Arena di Verona comes with a special treat: a train ride across the city’s most famous sights with a multi-language audio guide. The ‘trenino’ leaves from Piazza Brà, the city square dominated by the ancient Roman Arena. In the span of 25 minutes, you get to see Verona’s historic monuments like the Porta Borsari and the Gavi Arch from Roman times, the 11th-century cathedral complex Duomo di Verona, or the medieval Piazza delle Erbe. Crossing the bridge over the Adige River, spectacular views towards the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Lourdes and the Castel San Pietro. You can enjoy the ‘trenino’ ride on the day of the performance or one day before or after. Trains leave in 30-minute intervals for your convenience, and the trip through the old town is bound to make your experience of La Traviata at the city’s beloved Arena di Verona complete.