One of the people who liked the play was the great composer Giuseppe Verdi. Right away he set it to music. He called his version of the play La Traviata (The Courtesan). It is one of Verdi’s masterpieces.
Unlike the play, Verdi’s opera was not popular right away. It was first performed in 1853 in
Verdi rewrote some of the music. In 1854 his opera was again performed in
The opera is about a woman named Violetta Valery. Violetta is a courtesan. She is beautiful, smart, funny, friendly, and likes being with rich men. Rich men like being with her very much and give her lots of money for her company.
The opera opens at a party. Violetta has been very sick. Feeling much better, she wants to celebrate.
At the party, Violetta meets a rich young man named Alfredo. Afredo tells Violetta how much he loves her. She’s heard that before, but this time she thinks Alfredo might be different from all the other rich men in her life.
Three months later, Violetta is living happily with Alfredo in a quiet house in the country outside of
Before Giorgio met Violetta, he was sure she was a bad person. To be a good father, he was sure he had to tell Violetta to go away. Now that he has met her, he is not so sure he has done the right thing.
Alfredo follows Violetta to
Later, Giorgio tells Alfredo how good Violetta really is. Alfredo goes quickly to see Violetta to ask her to forgive him. He finds her, hugs her, and tells her how sorry he is for acting so badly.
Violetta is happy to be close to Alfredo once again. But she cannot stay with him. She is sick again, very sick. She tells him of her love and, while Alfredo is holding her, she dies.