La Traviata (which translates to The Fallen Woman) is one of the most popular and frequently performed operas, today, in great part because Giuseppe Verdi’s opera in three acts—written after he’d seen the 1852 play La Dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils (who’d based it on his semi-autobiographical 1848 book of the same name, which, in turn, he’d based on his real-life affair with his mistress, the courtesan and demimondaine, Marie Duplessis)—features one of opera’s most brilliant scores, filled with romance and pathos, set against scenes both grand and intimate. * **
As summarized by the English National Opera, “La Traviata tells the story of the tragic love between the courtesan Violetta and the romantic Alfredo Germont. Played out against the hypocrisy of upper-class fashionable society, Alfredo and Violetta’s love threatens to shame his family. When his father directly appeals to Violetta to relinquish her one chance of happiness, Violetta submits, and her act of self-sacrifice leads to her paying the ultimate price.”
If this sounds familiar, it should, as the case can be made that La Traviata was the basis not only for Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge; but also, for Gary Marshall’s 1990 rom-com juggernaut, Pretty Woman (albeit with a decidedly happy Hollywood ending). In fact, during one of the most memorable series of scenes in the much-beloved film, ‘Edward’ (Richard Gere) flies ‘Vivian’ (Julia Roberts, clad in the now-iconic scarlet Vicky Tiel dress, with white opera-length gloves, and topped off with that heart-shaped ruby-and-diamond parure by FRED) to San Francisco to attend the opening night of La Traviata; where he explains that, “People’s reactions to opera, the first time they see it, is very dramatic: They either love it or they hate it. If they love it, they will always love it. If they don’t, they may learn to appreciate it, but it will never become part of their soul.”
Then, the curtain goes up, and we (the moviegoers) view Vivian and Edward watching the opening party scene, followed by “Sempre Libera,” then the soaring “Amami Alfredo,” and the grand finale (with soprano Karin Calabro and tenor Bruce Eckstrut portraying Violetta and Alfredo, respectively). And, if that’s not meta enough for you, during the movie’s ending, when Edward, standing out of the moonroof of his white limousine (a metaphorical white steed), comes to rescue Vivian, we hear a reprise of “Amami Alfredo.” ***
Now, by popular demand, a special encore of La Traviata, recorded live from the Met, earlier this season (as part of their Live in HD series), is being screened by Fathom Events and the Metropolitan Opera, in select cinemas across the country, on Wednesday, February 15, at 1pm and at 6:30pm. In Las Vegas, you can see the Met’s La Traviata at Regal Village Square (9400 W. Sahara Avenue) and at Century 16 South Point (9700 South Las Vegas Boulevard).
This production of La Traviata—recorded at the Met in November 2022, and directed by Tony Award–winner Michael Mayer, with Maestro Daniele Callegari on the podium—stars soprano Nadine Sierra in a tour-de-force performance (described by BBC Music Magazine as “accomplished, accurate, and absolutely in character, also exemplifying her considered phrasing and easy access to her top register”) as Violetta. Joining Sierra you’ll see tenor Stephen Costello as her lover, Alfredo, and baritone Luca Salsi as Alfredo’s disapproving father, Germont.
And, as a special treat for opera lovers, everywhere, the transmission is hosted by world-renowned soprano Renée Fleming, who is no stranger to Verdi’s magnum opus, having very famously portrayed Violetta in Richard Eyre’s production of La Traviata at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, during the Royal Opera’s 2008/9 season; and then opened the Met’s 125th-anniversary season (also in 2008) with a showcase in which she performed three arias, including Act II of La Traviata (culminating in “Amami Alfredo”), in a costume created for her by Christian Lacroix.
So, add some culture and color (or, in this case, coloratura) to your February, and get your tickets to see the Met’s production of La Traviata, on the big screen.
The Metropolitan Opera’s LA TRAVIATA
Regal Village Square | Century 16 South Point
Wednesday, February 15 | 1pm and 6:30pm
Click HERE for info and tickets
Get into it!
[Editor’s Notes: * La Dame aux Camelias is better known in the English-speaking world as Camille // ** Marie Duplessis was also a paramour of the composer, Franz Liszt, and was married to Count Edouard de Perregaux, making her a Countess upon her death, at 23, in 1847 // *** ‘Sempre Libera’ translates to ‘Always Free,’ while ‘Amiri Alfredo’ translates to ‘Love me, Alfredo’]