8-12 February La Traviata at the Bolshoi

The Bolshoi’s rendition of “La Traviata” has been created by their international team including the world renowned American, Director and producer Francesca Zambello. Zambello was awarded the Russian Federation’s medal for Service to Culture and the Golden Mask in Russia. This is her third production at the Bolshoi Theatre.

“La Traviata” is one of the greatest operas ever written and one of the most important works by Giuseppe Verdi. “La Traviata” shocked society when first performed; the Church tried to have it banned on the grounds of immorality; Her Britannic Majesty, Queen Victoria, publically declined an invitation (although it was noted in the press that the music was played frequently in the Palace) and many in the Press expressed shock and horror.

In La Traviata Verdi succeeded in his wish to express dramatic ideas in music. “La Traviata” means “the fallen woman” or “the one who goes astray” and refers Violetta Valéry, the lead character and an experienced Parisian courtesan. The opera features some of the most challenging and revered music in the entire soprano repertoire; the aria “Sempre libera” at the end of Act I is especially well known.

Nowadays this would be a recipe for success as anything dangerous or daring is guaranteed good publicity. In the mid- 19th Century Verdi faced great criticism, censure and feared censorship; his opera was considered revolutionary.

Based on a play based on Alexander Dumas’s contemporary novel La dame aux Camélias, the opera tells a story about real people living in the present, with real problems.  The courtesan falls in love with a very young man from a very different part of society. Throw in the despair of the family and an incurable disease and you have an Opera of a different genre to all that preceded it.

“La Traviata” is not a story where love conquers all and can be seen on the famous Historical Stage.