Video Pick of the Week: Tatyana Ryzhkova Plays Arcas’ ‘Fantasia on opera La Traviata—written by Spanish composer Julian Arcas.
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The opera was originally titled Violettaafter the main character.
It was first performed on 6 March at the La Fenice opera house in Venice. Piave and Verdi wanted to follow Dumas in giving the opera a contemporary setting, but the authorities at La Fenice insisted that it be set in the past, “c. It was not until the s that the composer and librettist’s original wishes were carried out and “realistic” productions were staged.
For Verdi, the years to were filled with operatic activity. First, he had agreed with the librettist Salvadore Cammarano on a subject for what would become Il trovatorebut work on this opera could not proceed while the composer was writing Rigolettowhich premiered in Venice in March In addition, personal affairs in his home town limited his activities that spring, but after Rigoletto ‘ s success in Venice, an tarviata commission was offered by Brenna, the secretary of La Fenice.
After Verdi’s return from Paris a contract was signed in Maywith performances scheduled for Marchalthough no subject was chosen at that time. Verdi and Giuseppina Strepponi had visited Paris from late and into March As a result of this, Verdi biographer Mary Jane Phillips-Matz reports, the composer immediately began to compose music for what would later become La traviata. On their return to Italy, the composer had immediately set to work on Trovatore for the January premiere in Rome, but at the same time seemed to have ideas for the music for Traviata in his head.
Francesco Maria Piave was to be engaged to write the new libretto traviara the two men tried to come up with a suitable subject, arxas the composer complained that his librettist “had not yet offered him an ‘original’ or ‘provocative’ idea”. Writing to Piave, he added that “I don’t want aras of those everyday subjects that one can find by the hundreds.
As the months dragged on into October, it was agreed that Piave would come to Sant’Agata and work with the composer. One subject was chosen, Piave set to work, and then Verdi threw in another idea, which may have been La traviata. However, within a short time, a synopsis was dispatched to Venice under the title of Amore e morte Love and Death. A subject for our own age.
La traviata – Wikipedia
When back at Sant’Agata in late January Verdi was reminded that his contract called for him to be in Venice within a week or two and for the premiere to be held on the “first Saturday in March “.
Verdi was distraught, for he held rtaviata to the notion that the opera could be staged in modern dress—as Stiffelio had been done—Piave was sent back to Sant’Agata to no avail: Verdi was filled with premonitions of disaster upon atcas arrival in Venice on 21 February for rehearsals and he made his unhappiness clear to the singers.
The audience arcaw at times during the premiere, directing some of their scorn at the casting of soprano Fanny Salvini-Donatelli in the lead role of Violetta. Though she was an acclaimed singer, they considered her to be too old at 38 and overweight to credibly play travoata young woman dying of consumption. Verdi had previously attempted to persuade the manager of La Fenice to re-cast the role with a younger woman, but with no success. Nevertheless, the first act was met with applause and cheering at the end; but in the second act, the audience began teaviata turn against the performance, especially after the singing of the baritone Felice Varesi and the tenor Lodovico Graziani.
The next day, Verdi wrote to his friend Emanuele Muzio in what has now become perhaps his most famous arcaas Was the fault mine or the singers’? While there were demands for productions from impresarios in various Italian cities, Verdi was loath to allow them unless he could be sure of the strength of the singers, and in spite of their pleas, the composer refused.
As Budden notes, it came to be Venice “that made an honest woman of Violetta”  when Arcaa allowed a performance at the Teatro San Benedetto. Some revisions took place between and Maymostly affecting acts 2 and 3, but the opera was given again on 6 May and was a great success, largely due to Maria Spezia-Aldighieri ‘s portrayal of Violetta. Draw your own conclusions! It was first performed in England on 24 May in Italian at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London,  where it was considered aras questionable, and “the heads of the Church did their best to put an injunction upon performance; the Queen refrained from visiting the theatre during the performances, though the music, words and all, were not unheard at the palace”.
Today, the opera has become immensely popular and is a staple of the standard operatic repertoire. Gastone, a viscount aarcas, has brought acas him a friend, Alfredo Germont, a young traviat from a provincial family who has long adored Violetta from afar.
While walking to the salon, Gastone tells Violetta that Alfredo loves her, and that while she was ill, he came to her house every day. Alfredo joins them, admitting the truth of Gastone’s remarks. Baron Douphol, Violetta’s current lover, waits nearby to escort her to the salon; once there, the Baron is asked to give a toast, but refuses, and the crowd turns to Alfredo, who agrees to sing a brindisi — a drinking song Alfredo, Violetta, chorus: Libiamo ne’ lieti calici — “Let’s drink from the joyful cups”.
From the next room, the sound of the orchestra is heard and the guests move there to dance. After a series of severe coughs and almost fainting, Violetta begins to feel dizzy and asks her guests to go ahead and to leave her to rest until she recovers. While the guests dance in the next room, Violetta looks at her pale face in her mirror. Alfredo enters and expresses his concern for her fragile health, later declaring his love for her Alfredo, Violetta: At first, she rejects him because his love means nothing to her, but there is something about Alfredo that touches her heart.
He is about to leave when she gives him a flower, telling him to return it when it has wilted, which will be the very next day. After the guests leave, Violetta wonders if Alfredo could actually be the one in her life Violetta: But she concludes that she needs freedom to live her life Violetta, Alfredo: Sempre libera — “Always free”.
Video Pick of the Week: Tatyana Ryzhkova Plays Arcas’ ‘Fantasia on Themes from La Traviata’
From off stage, Alfredo’s voice is heard singing about love as he walks down the street. Three months later, Alfredo and Violetta are living together in a peaceful country house outside Paris. Violetta has fallen in love with Alfredo and she has completely abandoned her former life.
Alfredo sings of their happy life together Alfredo: Annina, the maid, arrives from Paris, and, when questioned by Alfredo, tells him that she went there to sell the horses, carriages and everything owned by Violetta to support their country lifestyle. Alfredo is shocked to learn this and leaves for Paris immediately to settle matters himself. Violetta returns home and receives an invitation from her friend, Flora, to a party in Paris that evening.
Alfredo’s father, Giorgio Germont, is announced and demands that she break off her relationship with his son for the sake of his family, since he reveals that Violetta’s relationship with Alfredo has threatened his acas engagement Giorgio: Meanwhile, aras reluctantly fraviata impressed by Violetta’s nobility, something which he did not expect from a courtesan.
She responds that she cannot end the relationship because she loves him so much, but Giorgio pleads with her for the sake of his family. With growing remorse, she finally agrees Violetta, Giorgio: In a gesture of gratitude for her kindness and sacrifice, Giorgio kisses her forehead before leaving her weeping alone.
Violetta gives a note to Annina to send to Flora accepting the party invitation and, as she is writing a farewell letter to Alfredo, he enters. She can barely control her sadness and tears; she tells him repeatedly of her unconditional love Violetta: Amami, Alfredo, amami quant’io t’amo — “Love me, Alfredo, love me as I love you”. Before rushing out and setting off for Paris, she hands the farewell letter to her servant to give to Alfredo. Soon, the servant brings the letter to Alfredo and, as soon as he has read it, Giorgio arccas and attempts to comfort his son, reminding him of his family in Provence Atcas Alfredo suspects that the Baron is behind his separation with Travixta, and the party invitation, which he finds on the desk, strengthens his suspicions.
He decides to confront Rtaviata at the party.
Giorgio tries to stop Alfredo, but he rushes out. At traviatw party, the Marquis tells Flora that Violetta and Alfredo have separated, much to the amazement of everyone who had previously seen the happy couple. She calls for the entertainers to adcas for the guests Chorus: Noi siamo zingarelle venute da lontano — “We are gypsy girls who have come from afar”; Di Madride noi siam mattadori — “We are matadors from Madrid”.
Gastone and his friends join the matadors and sing Gastone, chorus, dancers: Violetta arrives with Baron Douphol. They see Alfredo at the gambling table. When he sees them, Alfredo loudly proclaims that he will take Violetta home with him.
Traviata Fantasía (Arcas, Julián) – IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library: Free Public Domain Sheet Music
Feeling annoyed, the Baron goes to the gambling table and joins him in a game. As they bet, Alfredo wins some large sums until Flora announces that supper is ready. Alfredo leaves with handfuls of money. As everyone is leaving the room, Violetta has asked Alfredo to see her. Fearing that the Baron’s anger will lead him to challenge Alfredo to a duel, she gently asks Alfredo to leave.
Alfredo misunderstands her apprehension and demands that she admit that she loves the Baron. In grief, she makes that admission and, furiously, Alfredo calls the guests to witness what he has to say Questa donna conoscete? He humiliates and denounces Violetta in front of the guests and then throws his winnings at her feet in payment for her services.
She faints onto the floor. The guests reprimand Alfredo: Di donne ignobile insultatore, di qua allontanati, ne desti orror! In search of his son, Giorgio enters the hall and, knowing the real significance of the scene, denounces his son’s behavior Giorgio, Alfredo, Violetta, chorus: Flora and the ladies attempt to persuade Violetta to leave the dining room, but Violetta turns to Alfredo: Alfredo, Alfredo, di questo core non puoi comprendere tutto l’amore Grenvil tells Annina that Violetta will not live long since her tuberculosis has worsened.
Alone in her room, Violetta reads a letter from Alfredo’s father telling her that the Baron was only wounded in his duel with Alfredo. He has informed Alfredo of the sacrifice she has made for him and his sister; and that he is sending his son to see her as quickly as possible to ask for her forgiveness.
But Violetta senses it is too late Violetta: Addio, del passato bei sogni ridenti — “Farewell, lovely, happy dreams of the past”. Annina rushes in the room to tell Violetta of Alfredo’s arrival.
The lovers are reunited and Alfredo suggests that they leave Paris Alfredo, Violetta: Parigi, o cara, noi lasceremo — “We will leave Paris, O beloved”. But it is too late: Alfredo’s father enters with the doctor, regretting what he has done. After singing a duet with Alfredo, Violetta suddenly revives, exclaiming that the pain and discomfort have left her. A moment later, she dies in Alfredo’s arms.