In one of the greatest operatic love stories, Violetta Valery, a courtesan serving Paris’s high society meets the young Alfredo Germont, who offers her a taste of freedom from this life. Alfredo first met Violetta when she was suffering badly from consumption, and on visiting her every day, his initial affection for her turned into love. He offers her the chance to escape this life and live with him.
Violetta accepts, and they enjoy a dreamy romance in the countryside. However, Violetta receives a visit from Alfredo’s father, Giorgio Germont. He asks Violetta to end the relationship and leave Alfredo, so that the Germont family’s honor might be restored and his daughter’s marriage will be able to go ahead. Violetta loves Alfredo and does not want to leave him, but she makes the sacrifice and returns to her old life.
Alfredo knows nothing of the arrangement with his father, and believes Violetta has left him for financial reasons, and returned to her old relationship with Barone Douphol. He finds her in Paris, and makes an awful scene throwing money at her feet in payment for their relationship. Douphol challenges Alfredo to duel for disgracing Violetta, after which Alfredo travels abroad.
As Violetta’s illness worsens, she becomes basically bedbound, and is sustained only by the promise that Alfredo will one day return to her. Germont revealed their arrangement to his son, and has written to Violetta to tell her that Alfredo will visit. In the last moments of her life, she is reunited with the man she loves, and dies, smiling, in his arms.
La Traviata guide sections