My obsession with contrasting musical arrangements continued last night when I attended the Met Opera to see La Traviata, composed by Verdi. The original story, “La Dame aux Camélias” or known in America as “Camille,” was written by Alexandre Dumas in 1848. He is most recognized for his classics like “The Three Musketeers,” and “The Count of Monte Cristo”:
Dumas was a French nobleman of Haitian descent who was able to to use his father’s station to navigate a time in France when slavery was common practice. The story of Camille was so wonderful and yet sad, , there wasn’t a dry eye in the room!
If you’ve seen the classic American film starring Greta Garbo, you get the gist of the story. Camille or in this case Violetta is a French courtesan (kept woman) who knows she is dying and has committed herself to burning out in a life of partying and pleasure. Alfredo is one of her many suitors who declares his love for her, but the true irony of his character comes from his inability to recognize how ill Violetta is becoming. It’s so clear to everyone but him, which shows his love is immature and naive. In my opinion Violetta’s attempts to hide her tuberculosis are halfhearted and he should have realized what was going on. Still, in the finally moments of her life, Alfredo emits a blind love for the woman, only to have her die in his arms. Grand romances like this are similar to Romeo and Juliet, where the lovers are terribly self centered -consumed with the idea of love and rarely paying attention to the other person. So sad! 😦 Add these elements to the robust melodies of Verdi’s opera and you make for a stunning evening at the theater.
Sonya Yoncheva was the lead soprano Violetta on the night I attended the show. Stephen Costello played Alfredo, Quinn Kelsey and Ludovic Tézier were Germont, and Marco Armiliato conducted.
For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lady_of_the_Camellias