La traviata at Miller Outdoor Theatre
May 19th & 20th, 2023
Enjoy opera under the stars!
Join us for FREE performances of La traviata under the stars at Miller Outdoor Theatre! Pack a picnic and bring the entire family to experience opera in one of Houston’s best outdoor venues.
A courtesan and a bourgeois retreat from high society to live together in the country, but after she leaves him at his father’s request, he learns the truth and rushes back to her side, only to find her on her deathbed. La traviata holds the crown as the world’s most popular opera. Much of its appeal, as with all of Verdi’s mature works, lies in the sheer number and quality of show-stopping tunes. Each of the three principal roles—Violetta, Alfredo, and his father, Giorgio Germont—have recognizable tunes that have permeated popular culture. In the brief Act I prelude, listen to the way Verdi introduces us to two of the opera’s critical melodies in reverse chronological order: first the fragility of an ill woman, followed by a broad, falling melody of unfettered love. The first melody remains fixed, while the second transforms throughout the opera as Violetta’s story unfolds.
This production will be sung in Intalian with projected English translation.
Setting: In and near Paris, around 1850.
ACT I: A party is taking place at the house of Violetta Valéry, a famous and wealthy courtesan. She is gravely ill and tries to conceal this fact from the guests. Gastone introduces his friend Alfredo Germont, telling Violetta that Alfredo is a secret admirer. As the others go to another room to dance, Violetta begins coughing violently. Alfredo stays behind and tells Violetta he is in love with her, but she offers him only friendship. She gives him a flower, however, and asks him to return when it has withered. Alfredo, realizing she has just invited him to come back the next day, joyfully takes his leave. When all her guests have departed, Violetta can’t get Alfredo out of her mind: she is torn between the feelings Alfredo has stirred within her and her desire to remain always free.
ACT II, SCENE 1, THREE MONTHS LATER: Violetta’s desire for genuine love has led her to give up her extravagant lifestyle in Paris. She and Alfredo live a simple existence in the country. Violetta has been quietly selling her property to pay their expenses; when Alfredo finds out, he leaves immediately for Paris to obtain some money. While he is gone, Giorgio Germont, Alfredo’s father, comes to visit Violetta. He asks her to give up Alfredo, explaining that their scandalous relationship is threatening his daughter’s chance of a good marriage. Violetta agrees to sacrifice her own happiness for the sake of Alfredo’s family name. In a letter, she explains to Alfredo that she is leaving him but does not tell him why. After she has gone, Alfredo finds a party invitation to Violetta from her friend Flora. He decides to go to the party in hopes of finding her.
ACT II, SCENE 2: Alfredo is at Flora’s party—a Spanish-themed costume ball—and the guests begin to gamble. Violetta arrives with a new companion, Baron Douphol, who challenges Alfredo to a game. Alfredo accepts and beats Douphol repeatedly. Violetta warns Alfredo that he is in danger from Douphol, and Alfredo says he will leave—if Violetta will come with him. Violetta knows that Alfredo will not accept his father’s request to spare the family name. Because she can’t reveal the true reason she left him, Violetta says she is in love with Douphol. In front of his father and all the party guests, Alfredo angrily throws his winnings at Violetta’s feet and announces that he has now paid his courtesan for her services. Douphol challenges Alfredo to a duel.
INTERMISSION ACT III, SOME MONTHS LATER: Violetta’s illness has brought her to the point of death. Only her physician and her maid remain at her side. Violetta reads a letter from Germont telling her that Alfredo wounded Douphol in the duel, and that he told his son the truth about why Violetta left him. Alfredo comes to beg her forgiveness. The two dream of a happy future together, but it is too late.
Cast & Creative
Costume and Puppet Designer
Houston Grand Opera Orchestra and Chorus
City of Houston through the Miller Theatre Advisory Board
The Wortham Foundation, Inc.