“Love is a heartbeat throughout the universe, mysterious, altering, the torment and delight of my heart.”
Opera is often described as a dying art form, a type of esoteric entertainment that is challenging to consume. But while opera is certainly not as popular as it was centuries ago, the power of YouTube allows the music to live on. In a post-coronavirus world, it is unclear if opera will survive since it has largely been supported by older demographics.
That said, if anybody ever needed an introduction to one of the finest art forms, Giuseppe Verdi’s 1853 three-act opera, La Traviata (The Fallen Woman), is a terrific start. Why? Because it is arguably the greatest opera of all-time.
La Traviata follows the tale of Violetta Valery, a French courtesan who discovers love (Alfredo) and gives up her life of opulence only for her past to come back to haunt her. Violetta learns that she has little time left as her tuberculosis intensifies. She eventually dies in the arms of her true love, Alfredo.
The opera was based on La Dame aux camélias, a French play from 1852 adapted from the 1848 novel, fils, by Alexandre Dumas. This was also turned into a 1936 picture starring Greta Garbo and Robert Taylor.
La Traviata possesses all the qualities of what makes opera unique, fun, and beautiful: melodrama, gorgeous sets, a perfect runtime (sorry Wagner), and, most important of all, memorable tunes and arias. What is there not to love?
That last part is what makes Verdi’s masterpiece the best of all time. Listening to highlights rather than the entire two-hour affair shows just how remarkable this opera is. The overture, Sempre Libera, Un di felice, Libiamo ne’lieti calici, E Strano!, and Di Provenza il mar, il suol.
Even if you are not a fan of this kind of theater, La Traviata remains a must listen to this day. So, grab your bottle of wine, a box of tissues, and be ready to blubber like a baby who has missed a nap.
Read more from Andrew Moran.