Opera fans will be flocking to see La traviata in Melbourne in May – and if you’ve never seen an opera, this is a good one for first-timers because they can probably hum some of the tunes already.
‘La traviata’ means ‘the fallen woman’ and it is a tale of scandal, honour, sacrifice and love. In a nutshell, Violetta is a courtesan to the rich and she enjoys a shallow life of wine, song and reckless abandon until she meets Alfredo and falls head over heels in love rather than head over heels from drinking… Alfredo is head over heels in love with her as well but duty and family honour rears its stuffy head… and to cut a three act opera short, love triumphs briefly but cures for consumption back then were hard to come by… Oops! Spoiler alert… hope I haven’t given too much away!
And what great tunes Italy’s Joe Green, aka Giuseppe Verdi, had floating around in his head! Verdi was born 200 year ago, which in itself says that his hits are ageless. The You Tupe clip below is of Pavarotti singing Brindisi (The Drinking Song) – yep, they even wrote songs about drinking back then!
‘Back then’ was when Verdi was aged 40 for the premiere of La traviata in 1853 (photo). It wasn’t the best night out for the composer because the audience took to jeering occasionally. Their main gripe was the casting of the female lead, soprano Fanny Salvini-Donatelli. She could hold a tune but many (including Verdi) considered her too old (38) and too overweight for the role of a young lass dying of consumption. Oops! Apologies again… Anyway, the day after the premiere, Verdi wrote to a friend saying, “La traviata” last night was a failure. Was the fault mine or the singers’? Time will tell.”
Time has told and the Melbourne dates are for six shows only May 17, 20, 22, 24, 27 and 29 at the beautiful Her Majesty’s Theatre.
If you are travelling from out of town for a performance, Rydges Melbourne is just across the road from Her Majesty’s in Exhibition Street and Rydges on Swanston only a short taxi ride away on the fringe of the city for all your accommodation needs.
Here’s the clip: