In three acts by VERDI.
Text taken from the French by PIAVE.
The original of the libretto is Dumas' celebrated novel "La dame aux
The opera is like all of Verdi's works full of melody and there are
numberless special beauties in it. The prelude which opens the opera
instead of an overture, is in particular an elegy o
a noble and
interesting kind. But as the text is frivolous and sensual, of course
the music cannot be expected to be wholly free from these
The scene is laid in and near Paris. Alfred Germont is passionately in
love with Violetta Valery, one of the most frivolous beauties in Paris.
She is pleased with his sincere passion, anything like which she has
never hitherto known, and openly telling him, who she is, she warns him
herself; but he loves her all the more, and as she returns his passion,
she abandons her gay life and follows him into the country, where they
live very happily for some months.
Annina, Violetta's maid dropping a hint to Alfred that her mistress is
about to sell her house and carriage in town in order to avoid
expenses, he departs for the Capital to prevent this.
During his absence Violetta receives a visit from Alfred's father, who
tries to show her that she has destroyed not only his family's but his
son's happiness by suffering Alfred to unite himself to one so
dishonored as herself. He succeeds in convincing her, and,
broken-hearted, she determines to sacrifice herself and leave Alfred
secretly. Ignoring the possible reason for this inexplicable action,
Alfred is full of wrath and resolves to take vengeance. He finds
Violetta in the house of a former friend, Flora Bervoix, who is in a
position similar to that of Violetta.--The latter, having no other
resources and feeling herself at death's door a state of health
suggested in the first act by an attack of suffocation, has returned to
her former life.
Alfred insults her publicly. The result is a duel between her
present adorer, Baron Dauphal and Alfred.
From this time on Violetta declines rapidly, and in the last act, which
takes place in her sleeping-room, we find her dying. Hearing that
Alfred has been victorious in the duel, and receiving a letter from his
father, who is now willing to pardon and to accept her as his
daughter-in-law, she revives to some extent and Alfred, who at last
hears of her sacrifice, returns to her, but only to afford a last
glimpse of happiness to the unfortunate woman, who expires, a modern
Magdalen, full of repentance, and striving tenderly to console her
lover and his now equally desolate father.