In his first Live in HD transmission as Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera, Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin led a new production of La Traviata on December 15, 2018, and it’s this performance which the Met Opera is streaming online as part of its week-long celebration of the works of Giuseppe Verdi.
Verdi’s three-act opera, with an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, is based on the 1852 play La Dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils, which in turn was based on Dumas’ 1848 novel of the same name. Inspiration for the novel came from an actual ‘lady of pleasure’ whom Dumas had known and adored. The opera, which premiered at La Fenice in Venice on March 6th, 1853, became one of Verdi’s most frequently performed during his lifetime – and continues to be so today.
The role of the tragic heroine Violetta Valéry – the ‘fallen woman’ of the title – is taken by soprano Diana Damrau, whom the New York Times described as “an extraordinary Violetta, singing with big, plush yet focused sound …”.
Her lover Alfredo is sung by tenor Juan Diego Flórez in his first Verdi role for the Company, and whose “exquisite legato and mezza voce have held up gorgeously in the four seasons since he last sang at the Met”, according to the Observer.
Quinn Kelsey – described by Seen and Heard International as “a Verdi baritone of the first rank” – is Alfredo’s father, Count Germont, who cannot stand the shame of his son’s relationship with a courtesan and sets about destroying their relationship. It’s only as he watches the suffering of his son as Violetta is dying that he accepts the consequences of his actions.
This production, with its “Striking visual elements” (The Philadelphia Inquirer), is by Tony Award-winning theatre, film and television director Michael Mayer .
With Yannick Nézet-Séguin leading the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Verdi’s La Traviata is available to view on the Met Opera website from 7.30 pm EDT on Friday, August 28, until 6.30 pm EDT the following day.