Sonya Yoncheva sings one of opera's most beloved heroines, the tragic courtesan Violetta, a role in which she triumphed on the Met stage in 2015, opposite Michael Fabiano as her lover, Alfredo, and Thomas Hampson as his father, Germont. Carmen Giannattasio sings later performances of the title role opposite Atalla Ayan, with the great Plácido Domingo as Germont. Nicola Luisotti conducts.
In a remarkable career spanning six decades in the theater, Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901) composed 28 operas, at least half of which are at the core of today’s repertoire. Francesco Maria Piave (1810–1876) was Verdi’s librettist during his productive middle period, who also worked with him on Ernani, Macbeth, Rigoletto, and La Forza del Destino, among others. Alexandre Dumas fils (1824–1895) was the son of the author of The Three Musketeers. The play La Dame aux Camélias is based on his own novel of the same name.
With La Traviata, Verdi and Piave fashioned an opera from a play set in contemporary times—an exception in the composer’s long career. Dumas’sLa Dame aux Camélias was a meditation on the author’s youthful affair with the celebrated prostitute Marie Duplessis, known as a sophisticated and well-read woman whose charms and tact far surpassed her station. The play is still staged today in its original form and exists in several film incarnations, most notably Greta Garbo’s Camille (1936).