Information

Opera in three acts

Composer Giuseppe Verdi · Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave after Alexandre Dumas d.J.
In Italian with English and German surtitles

Sunday, 25. January 2004
07:00 pm – 10:05 pm
Nationaltheater

Duration est. 3 hours 05 minutes · Intervals between 1. Akt and 2. Akt (est. 07:35 pm - 08:05 pm ) between 2. Akt and 3. Akt (est. 09:10 pm - 09:30 pm )

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Cast

Musikalische Leitung
Zubin Mehta
Inszenierung
Günter Krämer
Bühne
Andreas Reinhardt
Kostüme
Carlo Diappi
Licht
Wolfgang Göbbel
Chor
Sören Eckhoff

Violetta Valéry
Anna Netrebko
Flora Bervoix
Daniela Sindram
Annina
Helena Jungwirth
Alfredo Germont
Roberto Saccà
Giorgio Germont
Paolo Gavanelli
Gaston
Manolito Mario Franz
Baron Douphol
Steven Humes
Marquis d'Obigny
Rüdiger Trebes
Doktor Grenvil
Gerhard Auer
Giuseppe
Michael Gann
Ein Diener Floras
Nikolay Borchev
Ein Gärtner
Nikolay Borchev
Alfredos Schwester
Danielle Clamer
  • Bayerisches Staatsorchester
  • Chorus of the Bayerische Staatsoper

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Men don't fall in love with courtesans! That's the opinion of Alfredo's father after his son moves in with the mortally ill Violetta Valéry. In her love for Alfredo Violetta even agrees. She leaves him, dies poor, ill – still dreaming of the happiness of true love. One of Verdi's most beloved operas continues to hold the mirror up to society and its hypocritical morality. An exemplary production! See it!

 

Scene One

Alfredo Germont, a young man from Provence, is introduced by Gaston, Vicomte de Letorieres, to Violetta Valery, a famous courtesan. She is giving a soiree in her house in Paris. Gaston knows how much Alfredo admires Valery, but initially she pays hardly any attention to Germont.

When Baron Douphol, with whom Violetta is having an affair, refuses to propose a toast in celebration of the evening, Alfredo, urged on by Violetta, declares his willingness to do so. He sings a passionate song in praise of love with Violetta and the party guests joining in.

As the guests go off to dance, Violetta suddenly feels faint and has to remain behind. Alfredo makes a declaration of love. Violetta turns him down with gentle scorn. Touched however by Alfredo's candid overtures, she presents him with a camellia: he may return when the flower has withered, that is, within a day. At dawn the guests depart.

Alone, Violetta reflects on the senselessness of her past life. But still she refues to accept that she is falling in love with Alfredo.


Scene Two

Violetta has retreated to a country-house with Alfredo. Far away from Paris, she wants to enjoy some happiness with her beloved.

Alfredo learns from the servant Annina that Violetta intends to sell her valuables in order to support them.

After Alfredo has left the house in order to procure the necessary money himself, his father pays Violetta an unexpected visit. He asks that she break off the relationship with his son. Giorgio Germont demands this sacrifice because a liaison between his son and a courtesan would compromise his family and endanger his daughter's proposed marriage.

Violetta is prepared to make the sacrifice and leave Alfredo on condition that Giorgio Germont reveal to his son after her death the true reasons behind her actions.

Violetta sends Annina with a message to her friend Flora Bervoix in Paris that she will attend her soiree that evening. Then she writes Alfredo a farewell letter. On the pretext of wanting to prepare for his father's visit, Violetta leaves the unsuspecting Alfredo and returns secretly to Paris.

A few moments later a messenger brings Alfredo Violetta's letter. She informs him that she has decided to return to her former life.

Alfredo's father tries in vain to persuade his son to return to the family. Alfredo rushes off to Paris to Flora's salon.


Scene Three

There is dancing, singing and gambling at the courtesan Flora Bervoix's soiree. Alfredo is looking for Violetta. He appears to be desinterested when asked about his mistress. The guests invite him to take a seat at the gambling table.

Soon after Violetta enters the room on the arm of her former lover, Baron Douphol. At the gambling table Alfredo provokes not only the Baron but also Violetta with his remarks.

After the guests have sat down to dinner, Alfredo is able to speak with Violetta alone. She pretends to be in love with the Baron and implores Alfredo to leave at once, as she is afraid he might lose his life in a duel with Douphol.

In a state of extreme agitation Alfredo summons the guests. In front of the assembled people he throws the money he has won at Violetta's feet. Alfredo's father enters at this moment and rebukes his son for his lack of self-control. The emotional upheaval has drained Violetta. Rejected by the others, she slowly leaves the room.


Scene Four

Some time later. Besides her deteriorating health Violetta is now financially ruined. Doctor Grenvil consoles the dying woman.

In a letterfrom Giorgio Germont,Violetta learns that there has been a duel between Alfredo and Douphol. Germont announces furthermore that his son will be arriving.

Violetta feels that death is imminent. Outside a carnival procession passes by. Annina prepares Violetta to meet Alfredo who has returned.

The lovers embrace passionately. Alfredo pleads with Violetta for forgiveness. Violetta experiences one last surge of life, then succumbs. Doctor Grenvil and Giorgio Germont find a dying woman.

Translation: Christopher Balme
© Bayerische Staatsoper

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Biographies

Zubin Mehta was born in 1936 and grew up in a musical family in his native Bombay. After first studying medicine for two semesters he concentrated on music in Hans Swarowsky's conducting class at the Vienna academy.

Zubin Mehta won the Liverpool International Conducting Competition in 1958 and was also a prize-winner at the Koussevitzky Competition in Tanglewood. By his mid-twenties he had already conducted both the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras and retains close ties with both.

Zubin Mehta was Music Director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra from 1961 to 1967 becoming Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in 1962, a post he retained until 1978. In 1969 he also became Music Adviser to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and was made Music Director of that orchestra in 1977. In 1981 he was made Music Director for life. Zubin Mehta has conducted nearly two thousand concert performances with this extraordinary ensemble on tours spanning five continents. In 1978 he became Music Director of the New York Philharmonic commencing a tenure lasting 13 years, the longest in the orchestra's history and, since 1985, he has been chief conductor of the Maggio Musicale in Florence.

Zubin Mehta made his debut as an opera conductor with Tosca in Montreal in 1964. Since then he has conducted at the Metropolitan Opera New York, the Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, La Scala Milan, and the opera houses of Montreal, Chicago and Florence as well as at the Salzburg Festival.

Zubin Mehta's list of awards and honours is extensive and includes the "Nikisch-Ring" from the Vienna Philharmonic as well as having been made, in 2001, an honorary member of the orchestra. He is an honorary citizen of both Florence and Tel Aviv and was made an honorary member of the Vienna State Opera in 1997. In 1999 Zubin Mehta was presented the "Lifetime Achievement Peace and Tolerance Award" of the United Nations by Lea Rabin. In April 2001 President Chirac created him "Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur". In January 2004 the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra bestowed the title of "Honorary Conductor" on Zubin Mehta.

Zubin Mehta has been Music Director of the Bavarian State Opera and the Bavarian State Orchestra from 1998 to 2006. Quite apart from his commitments and responsibilities for the musical leadership of new productions, repertory performances and concerts associated with this position, he has also led the State Orchestra on two major European tours and the whole opera company on tours to Japan.

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