La traviata | Student Guide 2015

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OPERA PHILADELPHIA AND THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA PRESENT

ACADEMY OF MUSIC | FINAL DRESS REHEARSAL W E D N E S D AY, S E P T. 3 0 , 2 0 1 5 A T 2 : 0 0 P. M .


A FA M I L Y G U I D E TO OPERA Opera Philadelphia believes the family is the most important foundation to learning. Let your kitchen table become a classroom where your children can build their knowledge of opera and the humanities. As you join in the teaching and learning process with your children, watch their eyes sparkle. Opera is a communal celebration, so too should be your children’s education. Pennsylvania’s standards in education call for students to demonstrate what they know and are able to do and children need to share what they have discovered or learned. Thus, the title of our program is Sounds of Learning™. It reflects our belief that children must actively be engaged in sharing ideas. The Sounds of Learning™ student guide integrates with core literacy curriculum in many ways. Just as opera is a uniquely integrated art—combining orchestra, voice, literature, drama, and dance—Sounds of Learning™ is an interdisciplinary, student-centered program. Reading the libretto, or script, provides you and your family members with an opportunity to perform together, with each member taking on one of the characters. Research has shown that “performing art activities in dance, music and theater have a tremendous amount of support in the literature for helping young people to express themselves, interpret, and develop themselves within a community context.”¹ “Opera specifically, can offer many developmental benefits for children. Opera helps increase language development, teaches higher level thinking skills and creative problem solving skills in real world situations, develops an appreciation for the arts, involves all learning styles and stimulates the imagination. Opera is literature, mythology, folk tales and legends, history, conflicts and emotions. Exposure to opera builds and sustains cultural intelligence. ”² So enjoy coming to the opera with your family! ¹Ball. A. & Heath.S.B. (1993). “Dances of Identity: Finding an ethnic self in the arts.” In Brice and McLaughlin, ed . Identity and inner city youth…beyond ethnicity and gender. (pp. 69-95). New York: Teachers College. ²Overland, C.T. (2013). “Integrated Arts Teaching: What Does It Mean for Music Education?” Music Educators Journal, ISSN 0027-4321, 12/2013, Volume 100, Issue 2, pp. 31-37.

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES OF SOUNDS OF LEARNING™

Improve literacy achievement by using the opera’s libretto to teach lessons across the curriculum Understand the plot, characters, and their motivations of the opera Learn something about the composer and others involved in writing the opera Make a connection to the historic and social context of the story Know some key musical elements, recognize certain melodies, differentiate between voices Understand the role music plays in expressing emotions and heightening the dramatic experience Understand the various elements of producing opera and the functions of those involved;

e.g., conductor, director, set designer, technical crew, etc.

Develop the ability to make inferences about the opera, production, and performance. Relate incidents in the opera to those of the present day

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Best Practices in Arts Education is sponsored by Pennsylvania Alliance for Arts Education, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Pennsylvania Department of Education


TA B L E O F CONTENTS

GE TTING READY FOR T HE OP E RA

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Opera Etiquette

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Philadelphia’s Academy of Music

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The Language of Opera

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Operatic Voice Types

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The Then and Now of Opera

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Connect the Opera Terms

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Theater Anatomy

RE LATING OPERA T O HIST ORY

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Giuseppe Verdi: The Voice of Opera

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La traviata: A Troubled Beginning

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What in the World? Events During Verdi’s Life

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An Ancient Killer Returns: Tuberculosis

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Meet the Writers: Dumas and Piave

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Difficult Choices in the Conservative 1950s

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A Woman Named Rose

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Opera Philadelphia’s La traviata: 1950s PARIS

LIBR E TT O AND PRODUC T ION IN F O RM ATIO N 22

La traviata: Synopsis

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La traviata:  Libretto

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Our Violetta: Lisette Oropesa

AD D ITIONAL LESSONS

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La traviata Instrumentation

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Censorship Response Worksheet

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Traviata’s Famous Brindisi

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Character Analysis Pyramid

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Traviata Trivia

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Plot the Action in La traviata

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Invitation to the Party!

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Spotlight on Careers in the Arts

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Censorship, Verdi and Artists of Today

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Sing Out with Opera Philadelphia

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Glossary of Terms

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OPERA ETIQUETTE AT T E N D I N G T H E O P E R A

There’s nothing quite as exciting as attending the opera in a beautiful theater like the Academy of Music. If this is your first time at the opera there are a few things for which you should prepare: You will be attending the final dress rehearsal for this opera. This is the last opportunity that the artists will have to rehearse the entire opera before opening night just a few nights away. The goal is to treat this rehearsal exactly like a performance and perform the entire opera straight through without a pause. You may notice in the center of the Parquet level, the floor level of the Academy, several computer monitors and a large table spread out over the seats. Seated in this area is the production team: Director, Assistant Director, Costume Designer, Lighting Designer, Set Designer, and other members of the production team. They’ll be taking notes and communicating via headset with the many people backstage who help make all of the operatic magic happen: Stage Managers, Master Carpenter, Lighting Technicians, Supertitle Operator, Stagehands and more. They’ll be able to give notes so changes can be instantly made. Should things go awry, they may stop and repeat a section to make sure that it is perfect.

O P E R A E T I Q U E T T E 101

Unlike actors on television or in the movies, performers onstage are acutely aware of the audience and want very much to share their love of singing and acting with you. Everything you do in the audience affects what happens on stage and behind the scenes. Because this is a working rehearsal, we ask that you please refrain from talking. The production team needs to concentrate on fine-tuning the production. You can show them how much you appreciate their work and the opportunity to come to this free rehearsal by being as quiet as possible. Have you ever tried to study for a test and there’s just too much noise at home or outside? It’s almost impossible to concentrate! So, please refrain from talking out of respect for the cast, musicians, and the entire production team. Give the artists and the production your full attention. Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts so that everyone in the theater can enjoy the opera. Please Do...

Applaud after the arias; you can shout “Bravo!” for the men and “Brava!” for the women. Enter and exit the theater in an orderly fashion. Please use the bathrooms before the rehearsal begins or at intermission. Be careful in the auditorium! The theatre is over 150 years old and can be tricky to get around. Turn off your cell phones and all electronic devices. Enjoy the show. You’ve spent a lot of time preparing for today! Don’t Forget...

No food or beverages are allowed in the theater. No photos or video can be taken during the opera. No talking or whispering during the rehearsal. No whistling, yelling or singing during the opera. Keep all objects to yourself. If you throw something, you might hurt someone and cause a disruption in rehearsal. It is grounds for removal from the auditorium. Students from Harris Elementary School get ready for the opera

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MAKE YOUR SCHOOL PROUD! Thank you!


THE LANGUAGE OF OPERA Act - main sections of a play or opera Aria - a solo song sung in an opera Audience - people who watch a performance and sit in the “house” or auditorium Ballet - dance set to music within in an opera Blocking - action on stage Character - person who is part of the opera’s story Chorus - music composed for a group of singers or the name of a group of singers in an opera Conductor - person who rehearses and leads the orchestra Duet - a song performed by 2 singers Orchestra - a group of musicians who play together on various musical instruments Overture - a piece of instrumental music played at the beginning of an opera Program - booklet with information about the opera, composer, performers, the opera company, and includes advertisements Recitative - words that are sung in the rhythm of natural speech - a bit like the 18th century version of rap Rehearsal - time when singers/actors practice with or without the orchestra; time when musicians practice together with the conductor Scene - segments of action within the an opera’s acts Types of Singers: Soprano - highest pitched female voice Mezzo-soprano - female voice between soprano and contralto Contralto - lowest pitched female voice Tenor - highest pitched male voice Baritone - male voice between tenor and bass Bass - lowest pitched male voice 4


THE THEN AND NOW OF OPERA Have you ever wondered where opera got its start? Back in the late 1500s, during the height of the Renaissance (1400– 1600), a group of men called the Florentine Camerata got together to create a new and moving theatrical experience. They wanted to recreate what the ancient Greeks did during their legendary dramas. The result was something entirely new – opera! Most of the early operas were based on Greek myths. The most famous opera of this early period that is still performed today is Claudio Monteverdi’s Orfeo (1607). Certain basic ingredients were included in opera: songs, instrumental accompaniments, costumes, dance, and scenery. We still use all of these ingredients today! The early operas were first performed in the grand courts of Italian nobility, but soon opera became popular with the public, too. Soon, theaters were built just to mount operas. These theaters had elaborate stage machinery to create special effects like flying actors or crumbling buildings. Above: Soprano Michelle Johnson as Puccini’s Manon Lescaut Below: A comic moment from Rossini’s The Barber of Seville

During the Baroque period (1600–1750), Italian opera spread all over Europe. The Italian style of opera was so popular that even non-Italians wrote in this style. For example, Georg Frederic Handel (1685–1759) was a German-born composer who lived and worked in England. His operas, like Julius Caesar (1724), were written in the Italian language and used an Italian style of music. The eighteenth century was full of change for both Europe and opera. This time period was known as the Age of Enlightenment. People were talking about new forms of government and organization in society, especially the evergrowing middle class. Music displayed this new thinking as composers dropped the Baroque era’s complicated musical style for simpler, more emotional music. One of the first operas to use this new style was Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice (1762). In 1776 the American Revolution changed the world. A few years later the French had their own revolution (1789) and the first modern democracies were born. To match the times in which they were created, audiences wanted to see characters like themselves on stage, not gods and goddesses. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (1786) featured a timely story of aristocratic class struggles that had both servants and nobility in lead roles. In the 1800s opera continued to grow. The Italian tradition continued in the bel canto movement, which literally translates to “beautiful singing.” The most famous bel canto composers were Gioachino Rossini (1792–1868), Gaetano Donizetti (1797–1848), and Vincenzo Bellini (1801–1835). Their operas, like Rossini’s popular comedies The Barber of Seville (1816) and Cinderella (1817), are still some of the most popular operas performed today. By the middle of the century, the Romantic Movement led many composers to champion their own national identities. German operas like Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz

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life, created music that was new and drastically dissonant. American opera had a huge hit with George and Ira Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (1935) which included jazz and blues musical styles.

Above: The Act I finale of Puccini’s La bohème Below: Tenor Lawrence Brownlee in Charlie Parker’s Yardbird

(1821), Russian operas like Mikhail Glinka’s A Life for the Tsar (1836) and French operas like Giacomo Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots (1836) were performed across Europe. In Germany Richard Wagner took Romanticism to the extreme in The Ring of the Nibelung (1876), which takes over 15 hours to perform! Opera in the twentieth century became even more experimental. Composers like Giacomo Puccini (La bohème, 1896), Claude Debussy (Pelléas et Mélisande, 1902), Richard Strauss (Salome, 1905), and Benjamin Britten (Peter Grimes, 1945) evolved their national styles. Others, horrified by the destruction of World War I (1914-1918) and other aspects of modern

Today, opera is still growing and expanding. Opera Philadelphia helps to shape the future of opera by producing important new works like Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s Silent Night (2013), an opera based on the World War I Christmas Truce, and Charlie Parker’s Yardbird (2015) by Daniel Schnyder and Bridgette A. Wimberly, about the tortured jazz saxophonist. Upcoming productions include Cold Mountain in February 2016, based on the book of the same name by Charles Frazier. The opera is composed by Philadelphian Jennifer Higdon to a libretto by Gene Scheer. Although opera is one of the oldest musical art forms, it still remains and expands today. From the old favorites to the new experimental works, opera continues to be a moving art form of the people. READING COMPREHENSION

1. On what were the first operas based? 2. What kind of opera spread all over Europe during the Baroque period? Give an example of this kind of opera.

3. What artistic genre played a huge role in French opera during the Baroque period?

4. How did the Enlightenment movement during the 18th century change how composers wrote operas?

5. What new operatic qualities did Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro display due to the American Revolution and its effect in the world?

6. Describe “bel canto” opera and give one example of a composer who used this style.

7. Nationalism was a prominent feature in the operatic world in the 1800s. Give an example of an opera written in a nationalistic style.

8. What other musical styles did the American opera Porgy and Bess include?

9. Name a new opera that Opera Philadelphia has or will produce.

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T H E AT E R A N ATO M Y Opera Singers must act on stage as well as sing! This means that they have to understand the stage set-up. When the director is rehearsing with the singers, he or she must be clear about where they should be on stage. Otherwise there could be a big traffic jam! So, special vocabulary is used. Up stage is the very back of the stage (away from the audience) and down stage is at the front (near the audience). Stage Left and Stage Right may seem to be on the wrong sides as well. Can you figure out why? You might also wonder about “up” stage and “down” stage. Opera sets are frequently built on a platform or “deck” that’s lower in the front near the apron and higher in the back near the back stage area. Thus, the lower end is “down stage” and the higher end is “up stage”. Also, when you visit the Academy of Music, look for the bas-relief portrait of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at the top of the proscenium.

BACKSTAGE

PROSCENIUM

W I N G S

UP STAGE RIGHT

UP STAGE CENTER

W I N G S

UP STAGE LEFT

PROSCENIUM

CENTER

DOWN STAGE RIGHT

DOWN STAGE CENTER

DOWN STAGE LEFT

CURTAIN LINE APRON

ORCHESTRA PIT

Diagram from OPER A America’s MUSIC! WORDS! OPER A! Level II Teacher’s Manual ©1991, OPER A America Inc.

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P H I L A D E L P H I A’ S AC A D E M Y O F M U S I C Very soon, you’ll be coming to the Academy of Music to see a dress rehearsal for a staged opera production! For years school groups just like yours have entered this beautiful old building, amazed by its grandeur and bright chandeliers. But did they miss seeing the old-fashioned gas lanterns by the front doors? Did they see the balcony above those lamps where people used to stand to watch parades pass by? Did they notice the original marble floors they walked on to get to their seats? There are so many things to see and know about in the Academy. Here’s a few things you won’t want to miss. For decades before the U.S. Civil War (18611865), Philadelphia had dreams of building its own Opera House. That dream was realized when the Academy of Music opened on January 26, 1857, presenting its first opera, Giuseppe Verdi’s Il trovatore, a month later. After more than 150 years, the Academy looks very much today like it did back then. When you enter the Auditorium you’ll first notice the red and gold stage curtains, designed in the shape of pineapples, a Victorian symbol for “welcome”. Looking up you’ll notice the huge Academy chandelier which is 25 feet high and almost 17 feet in diameter. How big is that? Put simply, it would be twice as high as the ceiling in your classroom and it is wide enough that it would fit just inside your classroom with just enough room for you to walk all the way around it. There are 23,000 crystals on it and if you laid each of those out end to end they would equal the distance of 14 football fields! What you don’t see are the three-foot thick solid brick walls that surround the Auditorium. Those walls keep the outside noises out and they enhance the noises inside so you can hear everything from onstage without microphones. Looking up above the chandelier, you will see the four ceiling murals showing the muses of the arts: poetry, dance, music, and theatre. Looking

to the front, you will notice the big arch, known as the proscenium, which separates the stage from the auditorium. At the very top, there is a medallion of the great composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). The Academy was dedicated to his memory. To the left of Mozart is a seated figure representing Poetry and to his right, that of Music. What’s changed in the Academy since it opened? Until the 1950s the Academy had a special wooden floor that could be installed over the main floor seats. That gave a flat space so large 1500 people could easily dance the night away. They had circuses in the Auditorium and in 1899 even hosted the first indoor football game in Philadelphia. That floor is gone, but what is new? Just under the proscenium arch, you’ll see a large, black rectangular screen. During opera the translation of what the singers are singing, known as supertitles, is projected there so you’ll know exactly what is being sung. Some standard modern conveniences came late to the Academy, like air conditioning in 1959 and an elevator for general public didn’t come until 1990! Here’s a few historical facts about the theater you might not know. In 1872, it hosted the Republican National Convention where Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) was unanimously nominated for his second term as President. In 1900, the renowned Philadelphia Orchestra made the Academy its home and stayed for the next 101 years! The music for the Disney film Fantasia was recorded in the Academy. Finally, native Philadelphian, Marian Anderson (1897-1993), whose is remembered all over the city, made her first of her many Academy appearances in 1929. Don’t miss: gas lanterns same marble floors and faux-marble design and color selection in Main Lobby balcony for parades curtain pattern three-foot thick solid brick walls the chandelier and ceiling mural proscenium arch, Mozart medallion and statues of Poetry, and Music

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O P E R AT I C VOICE T YPES Opera began in the late 16th century in Florence, Italy as an experiment by the Florentine Camerata. Composers quickly started writing in this new form because of the high demand, and it allowed them to better express themselves through different emotions and dramatic situations. From the beginning and throughout the Baroque period, opera was about experimentation; everything was new. Virtuosity and flexibility overshadowed if the gender of the performer matched with the gender of the role. Composers insisted that the most skilled singers had the most important roles. During the second half of the 18th century, the voice parts became linked to the various roles of the opera. Voice classification is how vocal ranges classify singers; how high or low s/he can sing. The distinction between the different voice types dictated which characters or roles the person would sing. The seven main categories of singing voice types from highest to lowest are as follows: Soprano – the highest female voice, with a

traditional range of middle C to the A two octaves above that. Soprano is typically the voice of the female protagonist; heroine of the story, projecting innocence and youth.

by the late 17th century, but fell out of popularity, their roles replaced by the mezzo-sopranos. However, modern 20th21st century composers have utilized countertenors more often. Tenor – it is generally consider the tenor

Mezzo-Soprano – slightly lower than the

soprano, with a range usually G below middle C to the Bb two octaves above. They are often supporting roles of motherly types or villains and will often sing the trouser roles—portraying the boys or young men—since the countertenor fell out of popularity after the 17th century. In recent years, many of the trouser roles are being reclaimed by the countertenors, as their popularity has gained ground starting in the mid-20th century. Contralto – the lowest female voice, with

a range of the F below middle C to the second G above middle C. It is a rare voice type, and is often sung by mezzo-sopranos. It is the darkest in timbre and is reserved for specialty roles, such as grandmothers, noble witches, and goddesses. Countertenor – the highest male voice,

with a range that is similar to the contralto: A below middle C to the F an octave and a half above middle C. These men achieve their high range through bridging their chest voice with their head voice (falsetto). Countertenors were the leading role in Italian opera

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as the highest male voice, without giving credit to the countertenor, with a range of D below middle C to the C above middle C. Beginning in the Classical era, the tenor has been assigned the role of the male protagonist; as is most often the hero or the love interest of the story. Baritone – the most common male voice

type, with a range midway between tenor and bass, with a range of A an octave below middle C to the G above middle C. The term baritone was not standardized until the mid-19th century. The baritone is often the comical leader, but can also be the hero that sacrifices himself for the tenor, soprano, or villain. Bass – the lowest and darkest of the

male voices, with a range of E almost two octaves below middle C to the F above middle C. The basso can portray characters who convey wisdom or nobility, but also comedic characters.


CONNECT THE OPERA TERMS

1. Opera Seria

A. Dance spectacle set to music

2. Baritone

B. Highest pitched woman’s voice

3. Opera

C. Dramatic text adapted for opera

4. Ballet

D. Lowest female voice

5. Orchestra

E. Comic opera

6. Libretto

F. A drama or comedy in which music is the essential Factor; very little is spoken

7. Duet 8. Aria 9. Soprano 10. Chorus

G. Opera with dramatic and intense plots H. Music composed for a singing group I. A composition written for two performers

11. Act

J. A group of musicians who play together on various musical instruments

12. Contralto

K. Highest pitched man’s voice

13. Tenor 14. Opera Buffa

L. A musical style used in opera and oratorio, in which the text is declaimed in the rhythm of natural speech with slight melodic variation

15. Recitative

M. Male voice between bass and tenor

16. Bass

N. A piece of music originally designed to be played before an opera or musical play

17. Overture 18. Verismo

O. The term describing the realistic or naturalistic school of opera that flourished briefly in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; libretti were chosen to depict a ‘slice of life’ P. Deepest male voice Q. Elaborate solo in an opera or oratorio R. Main division of a play or opera

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GIUSEPPE VERDI THE VOICE OF OPERA Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi (18131901) was born on October 10th in the small village of Roncole, Italy. At this time, the country of Italy did not yet exist but was made up of several small states, most under control of other countries. When Verdi was born, Roncole and its surrounding province of Parma, was ruled by the French. In fact, Verdi’s original birth certificate is French with his name registered as Joseph Fortunin François. Although Verdi said he grew up poor, he actually came from a family of traders and small landowners. His mother, Luigia Uttini, was a spinner and his father, Carlo, was an innkeeper. They were determined to give the young Giuseppe a good education. Soon he showed musical talent which his parents, though not musicians, encouraged. His father gave him a spinet (an instrument of the harpsichord family). Young Verdi’s progress was dazzling and at nine years old he became the full-time town organist, earning a small salary. Seeing that Verdi needed more musical lessons, his father entrusted him in 1823 to Antonio Barezzi, a local merchant, devoted amateur musician and the director of the local Philharmonic association in the nearby larger town of Busseto. Verdi became heavily involved in musical life there, both as composer and performer. He eventually moved into the Barezzi home, where Verdi gave singing and piano lessons to Barezzi’s daughter Margherita, whom he would later marry. He continued to take lessons in composition and piano from Ferdinando Provesi, Maestro of the local Philharmonic society. At sixteen, word of his music abilities had spread out of Busseto. At the age of 18, with Barezzi’s financial support and Provesi’s glowing references, Verdi traveled to Milan and applied to the conservatory. His application was rejected firstly because he was too old and, secondly, because of his basic piano skills. Verdi remembered this all his life and he fought against that conservatory being named after him after he became successful. 11

Instead, he began studying with Vincenzo Lavigna, a composer and Maestro at La Scala. Verdi travelled back and forth between Milan and Bussetto until 1836. In 1836, Giuseppe Verdi returned to Busseto where he remained for three years and became a professor at the city’s music school. He held the position for nearly three years, during which time he married Margarita in 1836. The couple had two children before the young family moved back to Milan. In November of 1839 Verdi’s first opera, Oberto, Conte di San Bonifacio, was accepted at the famous opera house in Milan, La Scala. Its success won him a contract for three more operas. The next year Verdi experienced tragic family drama when he lost his two young children and his wife Margherita while working on his second opera Un giorno di regno. Since this comic opera was commissioned before his wife’s death, it was a complete failure partly because Verdi’s extreme grief made it difficult to write a comedy. He was deeply affected by this bitter failure. He sought refuge back in his beloved Busseto and resolved never to compose again. Deeply depressed and finding it hard to work, Verdi was broke and could only afford to eat one meal a day. He soon bumped into Bartolomeo Merelli, the opera house director who had supported Verdi’s earlier work. He asked him to compose another opera. From this accidental meeting, the great opera Nabucco was born. The opera premiered on March 9, 1842 in La Scala, and enjoyed glorious success that carried Verdi’s reputation across Italy, Europe, and the New World. The Italians identified with the captivity of the Israelites recounted in the opera with their own dominance by foreigners. The opera’s patriotic chorus ‘Va, pensiero’ quickly became a national anthem of sorts and Verdi involuntarily became a leading figure in the movement toward a free, united Italy.


From 1849, he lived partly in Paris, with Giuseppina Strepponi, a former opera singer who was a good influence on him. Despite of his tremendously successful career, his relationship with the Giuseppina shocked people in his home province, mainly because of the two illegitimate children they had together. He and Giuseppina eventually married ten years later in 1859. In 1847, Verdi composed Macbeth, a Shakespeareinspired opera. He dedicated the score to Barezzi, his first teacher. This opera is generally considered his first great masterpiece. Suffering from nervous tension and various ailments, Verdi was at that time very demanding and frequently quarreled with the management of La Scala. Although his fame had spread far beyond Italy, he hated public life. He continued to live not far away from Busseto and was nicknamed “the bear”. The pinnacle of these busy years came between 1851 and 1853 with three of Verdi’s most popular operas, the first of which, Rigoletto, was produced in Venice to huge success. In 1853, Il trovatore premiered in Rome earning great accolades and just six weeks later La traviata opened in Venice. By the time he was 40, Verdi was the most famous and most frequently performed Italian opera composer in Europe. In 1859, it became apparent that war with Austria was just around the corner and Verdi again became not only a symbol of the desire for freedom but a battle cry as well. His name happened to be an acronym for Vittorio Emmanuele, Re d’Italia, the king of Piedmont. “Viva V.E.R.D.I.” became the most revolutionary and patriotic exclamation in Italy. With his imposed political standing, Verdi was elected to an Assembly in Parma and by 1861 the unification of Italy was well underway. Verdi was elected to the first Italian parliament where Vittorio Emmanuele II, King of Piedmont, was proclaimed King of Italy. Verdi was not, however, an especially active member and his formal political career was short. Tired from his hectic life, Verdi became absorbed in the agricultural activities on his farm in Sant’Agata. In 1871, he created Aïda in Cairo for the opening of the Suez Canal. This opera was triumphant two months later at La Scala.

In 1872, after the death of the great Italian writer Manzoni, he composed a Requiem in his memory. It is an immediate triumph across Europe. At over 70 years of age, he writes two great operas (Otello, 1887 and Falstaff, 1893). At the end of his life, he devoted himself to various charities and his youthful vigor moved everyone in Italy. In 1897, Giuseppina dies. Their union lasted for over fifty years. The composer was very affected by the loss of his beloved wife and his health started to decline. In all, he wrote 26 operas, several in two different versions, and lived to the age of 87. During a stay in Milan, he suffered from brain hemorrhage and died on January, 17, 1901. The whole country of Italy went into mourning. The composer asked for a funeral with no music and no singing but, as two hundred thousand people lined the streets of Milan for his funeral, it is said that someone in the crowd started to sing ‘Va, pensiero’ the touching air from Nabucco, and soon everyone softly joined in the famous melody. Verdi always remembered and loved his simple country heritage. He never forgot those less fortunate than himself. He supported other struggling artists financially, and upon his death gave all the royalties of his operas to support a home in Milan for aged opera singers, an accomplishment he hailed as his “most beautiful work.” This nursing home exists to this day. Giuseppe Verdi was more than an artist, he embodied the heart and soul of Italy, and Italy loved him! AC T I V E L E A R N I N G 1. Read the text and construct a timeline with all information found in it. Include Verdi’s life events, the operas, and research the titles of 6 other Verdi operas to add to the timeline. 2. Find the English title of “Va, pensiero.” 3. Would you have been able to continue to work after such a family tragedy happened to you? What was the important meeting which allowed Verdi to resume composing? 4. Why was Verdi so important in the politics of Italy during his lifetime? Who would be, in 2015, as influential in politics in the United States as Verdi was in the nineteenth century? 5. What is Verdi’s legacy after his death?

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W H AT I N T H E W O R L D ? EVENTS DURING VERDI’S LIFE Below is a list of important historical events both in Verdi’s life and throughout the world. The items in boldface type are things that happened to Verdi and items with a arrow ( ) have local significance. All other items are historic or cultural events. Discuss what it might have been like to be alive during the time period and how your life might be different. How did the inventions of the time affect daily life? 1813 G iuseppe Verdi was born on October 10 in Le Roncole, a small village near Busseto, Italy, first son of Carlo and Luigia. 1816 The first savings bank in the United States opened in Philadelphia.

1817 Former slave and renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass (d.1895) was born. 1830 Mary Had a Little Lamb was first published by Sarah Josepha Hale 1832 Verdi failed his Milan Conservatory audition; he began to study independently. 1836 Verdi married Margherita Barezzi, the daughter of his benefactor. 1839 Verdi met famous singer Giuseppina Strepponi in Milan, Italy. First recorded use of “OK” [oll korrect] in Boston’s Morning Post.

1840 Verdi’s wife Margherita died shortly after the death of his two small children. 1842 March 9, triumph debut of Nabucco at La Scala. 1845 Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven” was first published. 1847 The first doughnut with a hole in it was created. 1848 Verdi bought the Sant’Agata estate near Busseto, a vast property rich in woods, vineyards and water, which became his refuge, source of inspiration.

1849 California’s Gold Rush began.

1850 The first women’s medical school, the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, opened.

1851 Verdi’s mother died.

1853 Levi Strauss began selling tough pants to California gold

miners for $13.50 a dozen.

1857 Philadelphia’s Academy of Music opens with a concert

conducted by Tchaikovsky.

1859 Verdi married soprano Giuseppina Strepponi.

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Photo by B. Krist for GPTMC

1852 He composed some of his most successful operas including -62 R igoletto, Il trovatore, La traviata, and A Masked Ball .

The Edgar Allan Poe National Historical Site in Philadelphia where the poet wrote such classics as “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “To Helen.”


1861 Verdi elected to Parliament under the Liberal Party and Italy unites as a republic. 1861 American Civil War began. It ended in 1865. 1862 First United States paper money was issued in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $500, and $1,000. 1865 The 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishes slavery throughout the United States. 1869 Charles Elmer Hires sold his first root beer in Philadelphia. 1870 The first section of the famous boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J., opened to the public. 1871 Verdi’s opera Aïda premiered triumphantly in Cairo, Egypt. 1872 The Republican National Convention, the first major political party convention to include African Americans, was held in Philadelphia’s Academy of Music.

1874 The first United States zoo opened in Philadelphia.

1876 A lexander Graham Bell made the first telephone call. 1877 The first department store opened in Philadelphia by John Wanamaker. 1878 United States Supreme court ruled that race separation on trains was unconstitutional. 1880 Rodin created his sculpture The Thinker, a version of which is in Philadelphia’s Rodin Museum. 1881 The Tuskegee Institute was founded in Alabama by former slave Booker T. Washington. 1882 The first string of Christmas tree lights was created by Thomas Edison. 1884 America’s first roller coaster began operating at Coney Island, NYC. It hit a top speed of 6 mph. 1887 Verdi’s opera Otello, based on the play by Shakespeare, premiered at La Scala.

1892 Sunday school teacher Lizzie Borden, accused of killing her father and stepmother with an ax in Fall River, Mass, was acquitted of the murders by an all-male jury.

1892 The American Pledge of Allegiance was first recited in public schools to commemorate Columbus Day. 1893 Verdi’s Falstaff was presented at Milan’s La Scala theater.

Philadelphia observed the first Flag Day. The Ferris Wheel is introduced at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago by George Ferris. The San Andreas Fault in California was detected.

1894 M ilton Hershey (1857-1945) founded Hershey Foods in Pennsylvania. 1895 Frederick E. Blaisdell patented the pencil.

1896 The United States Supreme Court ruled 7 to 1 to give states

the authority to segregate people racially.

World renowned singer and civil rights pioneer Marian Anderson was born in Philadelphia.

1897 Verdi’s second wife Giuseppina Strepponi died on Nov. 14. 1898 Paul Robeson (d.1976), athlete, actor, and singer, was born in

A 1934 black & white photograph of Marian Anderson, taken in Stockholm, Sweden by Moise Benkow. It is one of the thousands of images in the University of Pennsylvania’s Library and was the inspiration for the U.S. postage stamp honoring the famous Philadelphian contralto. To see the stamp, visit www.usps.com.

Princeton, NJ. The first amusement pier opened in Atlantic City, NJ.

Verdi died at the Grand Hotel in Milan, Italy, at age 87, after spending Christmas with his dearest friends.

Photo Marian Anderson Collection of Photographs,1898-199, Ms. Coll. 198

1901 The first annual Mummers parade was held in Philadelphia.

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MEET THE WRITERS D U M A S & P I AV E There were two famous French writers named Alexandre Dumas. They were father and son. The father, called Dumas père, was the author of The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask, and other classic swashbuckling adventures. The son, Dumas fils, was also a writer, but his literary reputation rests mainly on his novel and play, La Dame aux Camélias (The Lady of the Camellias), which became Giuseppe Verdi’s opera La traviata. Dumas the younger (1824-1895) was tall, handsome, and always well-dressed. He was a natural in society, with a long list of female admirers, attachments, and conquests, but he was not a wealthy man. He lived off the generosity of his father, and borrowed money from friends. While he didn’t write nearly as much as his father, his novels and plays focused his society’s evils. Yet only La Dame aux Camélias achieved the same lasting fame as his father’s writings. He first met the French courtesan Rose Alphonsine Plessis (she called herself Marie Duplessis) in September 1844, and began a passionate affair with her. He lavished her with gifts he couldn’t afford. He was concerned for her frail health, but was unable to persuade her to change her lifestyle. During their brief romance, she would send him a daily wish list, which always included dinner, the theater, and (according to the novel) a bouquet of camellias. Her extravagant tastes taxed the young Dumas’ patience and pocketbook; the two separated in August 1845.

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Dumas fils would ask mutual friends about Marie, and even wrote to her, but she never answered his many letters. They never saw each other again. When Marie died in 1847, Dumas father and son were travelling together through Spain and North Africa. Francesco Maria Piave (18101876), the librettist of La traviata, was the son of a glass maker. He studied for the priesthood before obtaining employment as a proof reader. When his father’s business failed, he went to Rome where he joined a group of writers. In 1842, he wrote his first libretto, but it was not performed. He also provided the third act of another opera when the original librettist was unable (due to illness) to complete the task. He was recommended to Giuseppe Verdi by a mutual friend, and thus began a long and successful collaboration in 1844 with Ernani. They worked together on a total of ten operas. Their final opera, La forza del destino (The Force of Destiny), was commissioned for, and premiered in, St. Petersburg, Russia in 1862. Piave served as a stage director and resident poet at Teatro La Fenice in Venice. In 1859, he moved to Milan, where he served in similar positions at La Scala opera house. He had a stroke in 1867 which reduced his ability to work. Verdi and his wife came to Piave’s aid many times in his last years. Piave wrote for other composers, too, but most of his non-Verdi librettos are not as good as those he wrote for Verdi and lack the dramatic tension and crisp verses which he created for Verdi. He would take Verdi’s prose scenarios and transform the situations into verse. Verdi insisted on brevity; Piave obeyed. He had the right poetic and dramatic instincts to match Verdi’s musical needs.


A WOMAN

The opera La traviata is based upon a historical woman, Rose Alphonsine Plessis, born on January 15, 1824. Her mother was of a long established family of Normandy farmers. Her father was a traveling salesman. Rose’s early life was hectic and unstable. Her parents fought until their marriage came apart. Rose’s father abused her and eventually sold her to strangers as a servant. At the age of twelve, she escaped to Paris, hoping to find a life for herself. Rose was one of many young girls who came to Paris from the French countryside seeking freedom from family problems. These girls were the original female bohemians, called grisettes. The name is derived from the cheap grey cloth which they wore as dresses. They worked long hours, lived in very poor conditions, and suffered greatly. They worked all day and night just to earn enough to eat less than one meal a day. Their poverty and poor health led many of them to die of consumption (the disease we know today as tuberculosis). Yet, while they may have suffered, they were free. This was a time when women were property, legally tied to their fathers until marriage. Once married, they were the property of their husbands. Theirs was a world in which women had few legal rights. Grisettes were social outcasts and unacceptable as brides. Rose yearned for freedom and was determined to use her beauty, grace, dignity, charm, and wit to her advantage. She escaped poverty without giving up her freedom. If she had gotten married, a husband might abuse her and she would be powerless under the laws of the time to stop him. Rose left the world of the grisettes. She worked hard to lose her Norman accent, taught herself to read, and stayed abreast of current news, fashion, gossip and became one of Paris’ most successful courtesans, a free-living woman of society that had men who paid for her company. She changed her name to Marie Duplessis. She loved camellias, an odorless and expensive flower which

NAMED ROSE

contains evergreen leaves and a variety of multicolored petals. Marie was reputedly the most elegant woman in Paris, fond of music, gambling, shopping, and horse racing. This was the woman with whom Alexandre Dumas fils fell in love following their first meeting in September 1844 at a Parisian theater. But Marie had other lovers and the young Dumas was unable to continually satisfy her expensive lifestyle. After a short fling, Marie left Dumas and attached herself to other protectors, including the composer Franz Liszt and an eighty year old Russian count. But the illness she caught in the grisette slum grew stronger. It was then that Count Edward of Perregaux, whom Marie rejected years earlier, noticed her failing health and again offered her his hand and protection. They were married in England. She accepted his proposal knowing that her remaining years would be few and that the Count would not follow her back to France (where their marriage was not considered valid). She returned to Paris, calling herself the Comtesse de Perregaux. She died on February 2, 1847, at her home on Rue de la Madeleine, a street named after the saint of fallen women. After hearing of her death, the deeply saddened young Dumas wanted to write a play about their relationship, but learned that the censors objected to the idea. Instead he wrote a novel, changing Marie’s name to “Marguerite Gautier.” It is said he wrote the book in seven days. Eventually, he was able to write his desired play, which premiered in February, 1852. Thanks in part to Verdi’s opera, La traviata, it is still playing. Portrait of Marie Duplessis

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L A T R AV I ATA A TROUBLED BEGINNING Giuseppe Verdi’s La traviata (The Fallen Woman) is one of his most-loved operas. It is the story of the tragic romance of Violetta Valéry, a famous and refined Parisian courtesan who is judged harshly by refined society, and Alfredo Germont, a sincere poetic, idealistic young man from a respectable family of the French countryside. The opera is based in part on the real-life romance between the French writer Alexandre Dumas fils and an illustrious courtesan known to history and legend as Marie Duplessis. Dumas first met Marie in 1844. He immortalized her and their love affair in a novel he wrote in 1848, La Dame aux camélias (The Lady of the Camellias), following a year of anguished mourning after Marie’s death on February 3, 1847. Dumas adapted his novel into a play in 1849. The play, however, was not performed until 1852 because of difficulties with Parisian censors and government officials. Verdi and his girlfriend Giuseppina Strepponi were in Paris when the Dumas novel was first published and they saw the Dumas play in the Paris Vaudeville Theater in February 1852 soon after it had opened. Verdi loved the story and sent a copy of the play to his friend Francesco Maria Piave to be transformed into an opera libretto. At the time when Verdi was w riting La traviata in Italy in the 1850s, the main opera st yle was considered grand opera, which included double arias for the lead singers and big opera chor uses. The Italian opera Verdi’s opening night leading lady, Fanny Salvini-Donatelli, who, at 38, was thought to be too old and too full figured to play the role of the frail Violetta

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audiences were loud and the theaters were very brightly lit, so in order to show that opera was beginning, most composers would usually include a loud chord at the beginning of the overture to get the audience’s attention. Instead, Verdi wrote an elegant, quiet overture to La traviata, and didn’t include an aria for the prima donna until the end of the first act. In addition, the subject matter of the opera was not mythology or ancient history, but a contemporary story about the poor and the outcasts of the time in France. His work was shocking and even considered brutish, making the premiere of La travaiata that much more risky for Verdi. The first performance of La traviata (Venice, March 6, 1853) was a complete failure. Verdi had wanted to perform the opera in contemporary mid-nineteenth-century costumes to keep the flavor and atmosphere of Dumas’ story. However, government censors persuaded Verdi to shift the time to the beginning of the eighteenth century, when Louis XIV ruled France. The resulting production angered the opening night audience since the setting was inconsistent with the well-known story. In addition, the cast was a collection of problems. The tenor singing Alfredo was hoarse and the soprano singing Violetta was overweight and unsuited to the role despite her fine voice. When the doctor announced in the final act that Violetta was dying of consumption, the audience roared with laughter. Following the fiasco, Verdi considered withdrawing the opera, but did not lose faith in his creation. The opera ran for nine performances, and did fairly well at the box office. Verdi made a few revisions and, with a different cast, the opera was revived a year later (May 6, 1854) in another Venetian theater. This performance was an outstanding success, despite keeping the Louis XIV setting. The opera quickly became a universal favorite. The first performance in Philadelphia’s Academy of Music took place on March 13, 1857.


AN ANCIENT KILLER RETURNS TUBERCULOSIS Our opera’s heroine, Violetta, is fatally ill with tuberculosis (TB), or consumption, as it was perceived to “consume” one’s life. This ancient disease haunted humanity for thousands of years. The first scientists who worked at understanding it were Gaspard Laurent Bayle (1774-1816) and René Laennec (1781-1826). They studied and documented the illness’s progressive stages until it killed both of them. Robert Koch (1843-1910), a German microbiologist who founded modern medical bacteriology, isolated the bacteria that cause the disease. This discovery enabled doctors to improve their diagnosis of the disease. It was discovered that the bacteria that caused TB were often in the infected person’s saliva. As the disease led the person to cough, these bacteria became airborne in small droplets of saliva and then were carried on dust particles. When another person breathed the bacteria into their lungs, they became infected with the disease. Only about one in ten people with TB became seriously ill with the infection. However, some were too poor to eat properly, or didn’t get enough sleep because they worked many hours to make enough money to survive. In these cases, their frail immune systems would fail, allowing the bacteria to grow stronger. In time, they could become deathly sick. At the turn of the last century, many people in cities were dying of the disease. But in 1944, around the era in which our opera production is set, American microbiologist Selman Abraham Waksman discovered streptomycin, an antibiotic. Use of this agent alone led to antibiotic resistance that is still a major problem. Then the breakthrough came with Sir John Crofton’s triple combination therapy. His work showed that by treating patients with three drugs simultaneously and monitoring their progress, it was possible to achieve a 100% cure rate. By the mid-1950s, 3.5 million children worldwide were being tested for TB every month and over 1 million vaccinated. The use of antibiotics enabled many infected people to recover from the disease. For a time, it was thought that antibiotics would wipe TB from the earth.

Unfortunately, infected persons had to take a drug for up to six months and sometimes for over a year. For many years, people followed their doctor’s orders and took their medicine. As a result, the number of people dying from TB decreased every year until the mid-1980’s. However, as more poor people became ill, it was harder to keep track of them to see if they took their pills. Since nature has a way of reacting to changes that threaten the survival a species, people who failed to take all of their medicine began to develop new kinds of mutated TB. These new strains of the disease now resist antibiotics. In 2013, an estimated 480,000 people around the world developed a form of drug resistant TB. Tuberculosis is one of the deadliest diseases as one third of the world’s population is infected with TB. In 2013, 9 million people around the world became sick with TB. There were around 1.5 million TBrelated deaths worldwide. TB is a leading killer of people who are HIV infected. A total of 9,582 TB cases were reported in the United States in 2013. There is now hope that our leading scientists will develop a vaccine for TB in the near future. In some countries, a tuberculosis vaccine is used, but it is not generally administered in the United States because of infrequent TB cases here.

1941 poster promoting tuberculosis prevention by better eating and sleeping habits. Works Projects Administration Poster Collection (Library of Congress)

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DIFFICULT CHOICES IN T H E C O N S E R VA T I V E 19 5 0 s When a director decides to present an opera to a contemporary audience, he or she has many choices: (s)he might want to stage it the way it was originally intended by the composer, respecting the time period of the action, or the director can decide to transpose the action of the opera to a more familiar or pertinent time for the spectators, making it more relevant to contemporary audiences. La traviata’s subject and setting were new for opera in the middle of the 19th century. The scale is intimate and bourgeois, not heroic or noble. The heroine is a fallen woman who earns redemption through sacrifice—a notion that was somewhat risqué at the time—although not forbidden by censors. As an interesting parallel to Violetta being shunned by society, La traviata was also rejected at first. At this time, Italian authorities introduced very strict censorship laws creating many hardships for Verdi. Verdi was adamant that La traviata be set in the present day (that is, the 1850s), with modern costumes in keeping with the flavors and atmosphere of Dumas story but the authorities insisted that it be set in the past so the “lascivious” goingson would not be seen as a reflection of “modern” life. La traviata was therefore set around

the time of Louis XIV (1700). Luckily, since the story was so well known, audiences were able to fill in the gaps. The original title, Amore e morte (Love and Death) also had to be changed. The resulting production angered the audience on opening night since the setting was inconsistent with the well-known contemporary story. The first performance set in the period Verdi specified took place in 1906, after Verdi’s death and well after the setting could be called contemporary. For this 2015 production, the audience will have the opportunity to be transported in the 1950s, a period with a type of conservatism that is closer to our time. The story of La traviata resonates with more or less contemporary social nuances understandable to contemporary audiences, just as opera-goers did two centuries ago. American society in the 1950s was geared toward the family. Marriage and children were part of the national agenda. The Cold War (1) was in part a culture war, with the American family at the center of the struggle. Influential post-World War II propaganda, such as convincing advertising campaigns, encouraged women to hunt for husbands, settle down and have babies. Rooted in the propaganda of the time was the idea that the nuclear family was what made Americans superior to the Communists. American propaganda showed the horrors of Communism in the lives of Russian women. They were shown dressed in gunnysacks, as they toiled in drab factories while their children were placed in cold, anonymous day care centers. In contrast to the “evils” of Communism, an image was promoted of American women, with their feminine hairdos and delicate dresses, tending to the household and family as they enjoyed the fruits of capitalism, democracy, and freedom. Media representations of family life in the 1950s almost always included a woman -- a mother and wife -- at the center. Informed by such television shows as I Love Lucy and Leave it to Beaver, the 1950s was a time when women were expected to

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spend their lives raising a family. Following the end of World War II, women left the workforce that the war had opened to them -- a workforce again dominated by the men who had returned from war -- and returned to the home, where their responsibilities were largely domestic. In the 1950s, young women felt tremendous pressure to focus their aspirations on a wedding ring. The U.S. marriage rate was at an all-time high and couples were tying the knot younger on average than ever before. Getting married right out of high school or while in college was considered the norm. A common stereotype was that women went to college to get a “Mrs.” (pronounced M.R.S.) degree, meaning a husband. Although women had other aspirations in life, the dominant theme promoted in the culture and media at the time was that a husband was far more important for a young woman than a college degree. Despite the fact that employment rates also rose for women during this period, the media tended to focus on a woman’s role in the home. If a woman wasn’t engaged or married by her early twenties, she was in danger of becoming an “old maid.” The average age for a woman to get married was 19, and women tended to start families right away. A majority of brides were pregnant within seven months of their wedding, and they didn’t just stop at one child. Large families were typical. From 1940 to 1960, the number of families with three children doubled and the number of families having a fourth child quadrupled. This was also the era of the “happy homemaker.” For young mothers in the 1950s, domesticity was idealized in the media, and women were encouraged to stay at home if the family could afford it. Women who chose to work when they didn’t need the paycheck were often considered selfish, putting themselves before the needs of their family. Notes:

(1) The Cold War (1945-1991) was a long period of tension between the democracies of the Western World and the communist countries of Eastern Europe. The west was led by the United States and Eastern Europe was led by the Soviet Union. Although the two superpowers never officially declared war on each other, they fought indirectly. The Cold War began not too long after World War II ended in 1945. The Cold War came to an end with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Sources:

In the 1950s, women were encouraged to stay home to take care of their families. Many advertising campaigns in the 1950s were chauvinistic and male centric. Photo credits: above: methodshop.com on Creative Commons lower right - Graham Richardson on Creative Commons

Though the domestic life seemed to be the most suitable situation for 1950s women, during the decade women began returning to work by taking jobs traditionally considered appropriate for females. The majority of employed women were single and did jobs such as nursing, teaching and typing. In 1950, 29 percent of the American workforce was female. Half the female workforce was over 35 years old, and 40 percent of married women with small children also held a job. “Violetta is young and she has chosen this life for herself. She comes, in the original book, from the countryside and she has chosen this. She has almost no other choices in life in this period in history. So, she can either get married or she can be a nun or she can be a prostitute. As a servant or a peasant, you still have to get married, you can’t really make an independent life. So, when a woman of society has to make these choices, I think that’s quite difficult (…)It is one of the most fantastic, human stories ever written. Because it’s a story about every era, every époque, it’s a story ultimately about a sex scandal, that is hypocritical. It’s a story of hypocrisy.” -Paul Curran – Director

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ http://eserve.org.uk/tmc/contem/women.htm http://www.britannica.com/topic/La-traviata http://classroom.synonym.com/american-women-50s-9170.html

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O P E R A P H I L A D E L P H I A’s L A T R AV I ATA 19 5 0 s PA R I S A glance towards 1950s Paris

The end of World War II changed the social face of Paris: people would stop each other on the street to hug and celebrate the abolition of tensions and abuse in a burst of joy. And yet, Paris of the 50s continued to be a place of stark contrast: terrifying poverty in ordinary people contrasted with the extravagant habits of the privileged few. The 1950s was also a time when women were becoming increasingly active in performing paid work. They could find a job in the textile industry or as nurses in hospitals and orphanages or at the other end of the spectrum, there were women who enjoyed a spectacular ascent in literature, theatre and in the film industry, thus becoming sources of inspiration for the great artists of their time due to their refinement and sensuality. Director Paul Curran’s Provocative Production

For our production of La traviata, director Paul Curran developed an original and provocative staging that sets the story in the 1950s. The concept focuses on the contrast between the conservativeness of the time and understated promiscuity of the subject.

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“... what we were looking for was an era where there was conservatism, where a sex scandal and an independent woman could be understood. If it’s today, who cares?…Sex sells today, but it doesn’t shock. In the 1950s it shocked.” - Paul Curran, Director Set and Costume Designer Gary McCann’s colors of luxury

In the process of creation, set and costume designer Gary McCann intended to create a visual response to the dramatic elements on which director Paul Curran had focused, accentuating a world in which extravagance stands in contrast with a culture that has just regained its sense of normality after the end of the war. In creating the costumes for the show, he has taken inspiration from Cecil Beaton’s photographic art and from the work of fashion designers such as Jacques Fath, Charles James and Christian Dior. When we first see Violetta’s world, it is one of beauty and wealth. She has climbed to the top of society through her work as a courtesan. Bit by bit, she loses her money and ends up impoverished. The mismatched gilded Boiserie panels that make up the set walls represent the glamorous façade she has painstakingly constructed. – Gary McCann, Set and Costume designer


L A T R AV I ATA SYNOPSIS S e t t i n g : P a r i s a n d i t s v i c i n i t y i n t h e 19 5 0 s

AC T I It’s August in mid century Paris, and in the midst of a life of nonstop parties, the young and widely adored courtesan, Violetta Valéry, is forced to come to terms with her ailing health and aching heart. After being introduced to a new admirer, the persistent and provincial Alfredo Germont, she is left contemplating her lifestyle, her future, and the nature of love. In an act at odds with everything she’s stood for, Violetta gifts Alfredo with her favorite flower, a camellia, telling him to return it to her when it has faded.

ACT II

Three months later, Violetta and Alfredo are living happily in a quiet country house, leaving the parties of Paris far behind them. But one day, while Alfredo is away on a business trip, his father Germont visits Violetta to try and break up their proposal. Violetta manages to convince him

of her evolution, but it doesn’t change his mind on the subject, not with the sanctity of a family name at stake. Violetta comes to understand the negative impact her old life has on the new life of Germont daughter and grievingly decides to break up with Alfredo, with the promise that Germont one day explains the reason to his son. Returning to her world of parties, Violetta is eventually confronted by Alfredo who, angered and envious, proceeds to humiliate her in front of everyone in attendance when she declines his advances. His father violently rebukes him and the entire society is outraged.

ACT III

A month later, Violetta is destitute and dying in a modest Paris apartment. It is here in her last hours that she receives a remorseful letter from Giorgio Germont, confessing that he had written to Alfredo about her sacrifice and they were both on their way to visit her. But, tragically, their return occurs too late and Alfredo confesses his love one final time as Violetta dies comfortably with the knowledge that she is finally forgiven.

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GIUSEPPE VERDI L A T R AV I ATA L I B R E T T O FINAL DRESS REHEARSAL – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2015, 2:00P.M. AT THE ACADEMY OF MUSIC

Translation courtesy of http://www.opera-guide.ch/. Words boldfaced in the libretto are defined in the glossary in the back of the guide. To see the highlighted videos, visit the links provided in the gray boxes. VIOLE T TA VALÉRY, a celebrate d cour tesan suf fering from consumption......................Liset te Orop esa, soprano ALFRED O GER MONT, a young man in love with Violet ta...................................................Alek Shrader, tenor G I O RG I O G ER M O N T, A lf re d o’s fat her...............................................................Step hen Powell, b aritone GASTO N E, a young man ab out town................................................................................Roy H age, tenor BARO N D O U PH O L, one of Violet ta’s admirers.................................................D aniel M obbs, b ass-b aritone M A RQ U IS D’O BI G NY, Flora’s prote c tor......................................................................J arret t O t t, b aritone D O CTO R G RENVIL, Violet ta’s physician......................................................Andrew B o gard , b ass-b aritone FLO R A BERVO IX, Violet ta’s friend, a cour tesan...........................................Katherine Pracht , mez zo-soprano A N N I N A, Vio let ta’s m aid............................................................................Rachel Sterrenb erg, soprano G I USEPPE, Vio let ta’s s er vant.....................................................................................D aniel Ta y lor, tenor M ESSEN G ER...................................................................................................G arret t Obr ycki, b aritone FLO R A’s SERVA N T...................................................................................D aniel S chwar t z, b ass-b aritone CO N D U CTO R.............................................................................................................Corrado Rovaris D I RECTO R........................................................................................................................Paul Cur ran SCEN I C & COST U M E D ESI G N.........................................................................................G ar y M cCann L I G H T I N G D ESI G N...............................................................................................Paul H a cke nmu e ll e r CH O RUS M AST ER....................................................................................................Elizab et h B ra d e n Production from National Opera House of Bucharest

Alfredo serenades Violetta’s guests with the Brindisi

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ACT I A r o o m i n V i o l e t t a ’s h o u s e .

Violetta is seated on a sofa talking to the Doctor and other friends, who come and go. Some of the guests turn to meet a group of new arrivals, amongst whom are the Baron and Flora, on the arm of the Marquis. C H O R U S I It’s long past the time you were invited. You’re late.

G A S T O N (softly, to Violetta) Alfredo thinks of nobody but you. V I O L E T TA

G A S T O N When you were ill he came here every day, inquiring anxiously about you. V I O L E T TA GASTON

(to Alfredo) Is it true, but why should you? I don’t understand.

V I O L E T TA

(going to meet them) Flora, my dear friends, the evening will be happier now you’re here; let’s raise our glasses and enjoy ourselves.

ALFREDO

FLOR A, MARQUIS

Can you be so happy?

I must be; I put my faith in pleasure as a cure for all my ills.

V I O L E T TA

ALL

Yes, pleasure adds zest to life.

Gaston, Vicomte de Litorières, entering with Alfredo. The servants prepare the table. Alfredo Germont, dear lady, is a great admirer of yours and one of my most valued friends. GASTON

(as Alfredo kisses her hand) Thank you, Vicomte, for sharing such a gift.

V I O L E T TA

MARQUIS

My dear Alfredo!

(to Alfredo) I’m very grateful to you. You never did as much for me, Baron. BARON

I’ve only known you a year.

V I O L E T TA

B A R O N (to Flora, quietly) This young man annoys me. FLOR A

Why? I find him charming.

G A S T O N (to Alfred) You haven’t so much as opened your mouth yet. M A R Q U I S (to Violetta) It’s the lady’s privilege to loosen his tongue.

(pouring a drink for Alfredo) I’ll be Hebe, who pours the wine.

G A S T O N (to Alfredo) Didn’t I tell you that friendship in this house joins hands with pleasure?

ALFREDO

The servants, meanwhile, have laid the supper table.

ALL

(to the servants) Is it ready, now? (The servant nods assent.) Sit down, my dear friends and let’s open our hearts to each other. You say well, for wine is a friend that puts secret sorrow to flight! (They sit down with Violetta between Alfredo and Gaston.) Let’s open our hearts to each other.

He’s only known me a few minutes.

F L O R A (to the Baron, quietly) You’d have done better to keep quiet.

V I O L E T TA

V I O L E T TA

(with a sigh) Yes, it’s true.

V I O L E T TA

How are you, Marquis?

ALFREDO

Be quiet! I’m nothing to him.

I’m telling you the truth.

C H O R U S I I We’ve been playing cards at Flora’s. Time flies when one is playing. V I O L E T TA

You’re joking.

as she.

(gallantly) May you be as immortal

Let’s drink!

G A S T O N Now, Baron, Can’t find you a verse, a toast to mark this happy moment? (The Baron shakes his head turning to Alfredo) What about you?

24


The guests toast to Violetta’s health ALL

Yes, yes, a drinking song!

ALFREDO

The Muse doesn’t smile on me.

GASTON

Command her, Master!

ALFREDO

(to Violetta) Would it please you?

V I O L E T TA

Yes.

ALFREDO

(rising) Yes? You put heart into me.

MARQUIS ALL

Listen, now ...

Yes, let’s hear the singer!

VIDEO CLIP

BRINDISI: Libiamo ne’lieti calici http://tinyurl.com/traviata-brindisi

Let’s drink from the joyous chalice where beauty flowers. Let the fleeting hour to pleasure’s intoxication yield. Let’s drink to love’s sweet tremors - to those eyes that pierce the heart. Let’s drink to love - to wine that warms our kisses.

ALFREDO

Ah! Let’s drink to love, to wine that warms our kisses.

ALL

25

(rising) With you I would share my days of happiness; everything is folly in this world that does not give us pleasure. Let us enjoy life, for the pleasures of love are swift and fleeting as a flower that lives and dies and can be enjoyed no more. Let’s take our pleasure! While its ardent, brilliant summons lures us on. V I O L E T TA

Let’s take our pleasure of wine and singing and mirth till the new day dawns on us in paradise.

ALL

V I O L E T TA

(to Alfredo) Life is just pleasure.

A L FR E D O (t o V i o l e t t a)

waits for love ...

But if one still

(to Alfredo) I know nothing of that, don’t tell me …

V I O L E T TA

ALFREDO

(to Violetta) But there lies my fate.

Let’s take our pleasure of wine and singing and mirth till the new day dawns on this paradise of ours.

ALL

(Music is heard from the other room.) What’s that?


V I O L E T TA ALL

Would you like to dance now?

What a pleasant thought! We all accept!

Let’s go then! (The guests move towards the center door, but Violetta turns suddenly pale.) Oh!

V I O L E T TA

ALL

What’s the matter?

V I O L E T TA ALL

Nothing, nothing. (Taking a few steps.)

Why do you linger?

Let’s go! (She is obliged to sit down.) Oh, heavens!

(laughing) That’s true! I’d forgotten that grand passion.

V I O L E T TA

You laugh! But all the same, you have a heart.

ALFREDO

V I O L E T TA

A heart? Perhaps. Why do you ask?

ALFREDO

Yet if you had, you wouldn’t make

V I O L E T TA

Are you really serious?

ALFREDO

I wouldn’t deceive you.

V I O L E T TA

Then how long have you loved me?

ALFREDO

For more than a year.

fun of me.

V I O L E T TA

ALL

Again!

ALFREDO ALL

Are you ill?

Heavens! What’s the matter?

I’m trembling. (She indicates the other room) Go along. I’ll join you in a moment.

V I O L E T TA

If you say so. (They all go into the other room except Alfredo.)

ALL

(getting up to look at herself in the glass) Oh, how pale I am! (She turns and sees Alfredo) You here! V I O L E T TA

ALFREDO

Do you still feel upset?

V I O L E T TA

I’m better now.

ALFREDO

You should take care of your health!

V I O L E T TA

How can I?

VIDEO CLIP

DUET: Un dì, felice, eterea http://tinyurl.com/un-di-felice

One happy day you flashed lightly into my life; and since then I’ve lived in tremulous possession of that unspoken love, the pulse of the whole world, mysterious, unattainable, the torment and delight of my heart.

ALFREDO

V I O L E T T A If that is true, then leave me. Friendship is all I can offer you. I don’t know how to love, I couldn’t feel so great an emotion. I’m being honest with you, sincere … You should look for someone else, then you wouldn’t find it hard to forget me.

Oh, if I only had the right, I’d be the most watchful guardian of your dear life.

ALFREDO

What a thing to say! Who cares what happens to me?

V I O L E T TA

ALFREDO

(ardently) For no one in the world

V I O L E T TA

No one?

ALFREDO

... except for me.

loves you

Alfredo shares his feelings for Violetta at her party.

26


G A S T O N (appearing in the center doorway) Well now? What the devil are you up to? V I O L E T TA GASTON

We’re talking nonsense.

Ha, ha! Splendid! Go on!

(to Alfredo) So no more about love. Is that a promise?

V I O L E T TA

ALFREDO

away.)

I’ll do as you say. I’ll go. (He turns

So it’s come to that already? (She takes a flower from her corsage.) Take this flower.

V I O L E T TA

ALFREDO

Why?

V I O L E T TA

So that you can bring it back to me.

ALFREDO

(turning back) When?

V I O L E T TA

When it’s withered.

ALFREDO

You mean ... tomorrow?

V I O L E T TA

Very well, tomorrow.

(rapturously taking the flower) I’m happy ... Oh, so happy!

ALFREDO

V I O L E T TA

Do you still say you love me?

A L F R E D O (about to go) How much, how much I love you! I’m happy ... oh, so happy! V I O L E T TA

You’re going?

ALFREDO

(returning to kiss her hand) I’ll go now.

V I O L E T TA

Goodbye, then.

A L F R E D O I ask for nothing more. Goodbye! (He goes out. All the others come in from the ballroom flushed with dancing.)

The dawn is breaking in the sky and we must take our leave; thank you, dear lady for such a splendid party. The town is still revelling; pleasure rolls on its way. In slumber we’ll store up again the zest for further joys. (They go out, right.) ALL

VIDEO CLIP

SCENE AND ARIA: Sempre libera http://tinyurl.com/violetta-scena

(alone) How strange it is … how strange! Those words are carved upon my heart! Would a true love bring me misfortune? What do you think, o my troubled spirit? No man before kindled a flame like this. Oh, joy … I never knew … To love and to be loved! Can I disdain this for a life of sterile pleasure? V I O L E T TA

Was this the man my heart, alone in the crowd, delighted many times to paint in vague, mysterious colors? This man, so watchful yet retiring, who haunted my sick bed and turned my fever into the burning flame of love! That love, the pulse of the whole world, mysterious, unattainable, the torment and delight of my heart. It’s madness! It’s empty delirium! A poor, lonely woman abandoned in this teeming desert they call Paris! What can I hope? What should I do? Enjoy myself! Plunge into the vortex of pleasure and drown there! Enjoy myself! Free and aimless I must flutter from pleasure to pleasure, skimming the surface of life’s primrose path. As each day dawns, as each day 27


dies, gaily I turn to the new delights that make my spirit soar. (outside the window) Love is the

ALFREDO

pulse

To sell the horses and carriages and all her other things.

ANNINA

ALFREDO

What do you mean?

ANNINA

It’s expensive living here on our own.

V I O L E T TA

Oh!

ALFREDO

ALFREDO

... of the whole world ...

But why didn’t you tell me?

ANNINA

V I O L E T TA

Yes! Love!

She said I mustn’t.

ALFREDO

Mustn’t? How much do we need?

ANNINA

A thousand louis.

Mysterious, unattainable, the torment and delight of my heart.

ALFREDO

It’s madness! Pleasure! Free and aimless, I must flutter from pleasure to pleasure…

V I O L E T TA

VIDEO CLIP

ARIA: De’miei bollenti spiriti http://tinyurl.com/alfredo-aria

ACT II A coun t r y h ous e n e a r P a ri s . A gro u n d f l o o r r oom .

(enters wearing hunting clothes) There’s no pleasure in life when she’s away! It’s three months now since Violetta gave up for me her easy, luxurious life of love affairs and expensive parties ... There she was used to the homage of all who were enslaved by her beauty, but she seems happy here in this charming place, where she forgets everything for me. With her beside me, I feel myself reborn, revived by the breath of love, Forgetting the past in present delights.

ALFREDO

My passionate spirit and the fire of youth she tempers with the gentle smile of love. Since the day when she told me “I want to live, faithful to you alone!” I have forgotten the world and lived like one in heaven … (Annina enters in great agitation, dressed for travelling.) Annina, where have you been?

All right, you may go … I’m going to Paris, myself. Don’t tell your mistress that you talked to me; There’s still time to put things straight. Go! Go! (Annina goes out.) Oh, my remorse! Oh, disgrace! And I lived so mistaken! But the truth, like a flash, has broken my base sleep! For a little while be calm in my breast, oh, cry of honor; in me you shall have a sure avenger; I shall wash away this infamy. Oh, shame! Oh, disgrace! Ah, yes, I shall wash away this infamy! (Alfredo goes out. Violetta enters with some papers in her hand, talking to Annina. Behind them is Giuseppe.) ALFREDO

V I O L E T TA ANNINA

He’s just gone to Paris.

V I O L E T TA ANNINA

Where’s Alfredo?

When’s he coming back?

Before dark, he told me to tell you.

V I O L E T TA

It’s strange!

GIUSEPPE

(giving her a letter) This is for you.

(taking the letter) Very well. In a little while a man will be coming on business. Show him in at once. (Annina and Giuseppe go out. Violetta opens the letter.)

V I O L E T TA

ANNINA

To Paris.

ALFREDO

Who sent you?

ANNINA

My mistress.

(alone, reading) Aha! So Flora’s discovered my hiding place; she invites me to a dance this evening! (Throws the letter on to the table and sits down.) She’ll wait for me in vain.

ALFREDO

Why?

GIUSEPPE

V I O L E T TA

(Coming in) A gentleman is here. 28


V I O L E T T A It’ll be the man I’m expecting. (signing to Giuseppe to show him in) GERMONT

Yes.

V I O L E T TA GERMONT V I O L E T TA

You are?

Mademoiselle Valéry?

I’m Alfredo’s father.

(surprised, invites him to sit down)

G E R M O N T (sitting down) Yes, I’m the father of that headstrong boy, who’s rushing to his ruin because of his infatuation for you.

(rising indignantly) I am a woman, Sir, and this is my house; please excuse me if I leave you, more for your sake than mine. (She turns to go out.) V I O L E T TA

GERMONT

(to himself) What manners! And yet

(returning to her chair) There must be some mistake!

V I O L E T TA

GERMONT

possessions. V I O L E T TA

GERMONT

He wants to give you all of his He wouldn’t dare, I should refuse. (looking round him) You live lavishly.

(showing him a document) Puzzling to many, but you shall know the truth.

V I O L E T TA

G E R M O N T (looking at the document) Heavens! What are you telling me? You’re sacrificing everything you possess? Is this how the past reproaches you?

(with enthusiasm) The past is over. I love Alfredo now, God has wiped out the past. He knows of my repentance!

V I O L E T TA

GERMONT V I O L E T TA

sounds now.

Your feelings do you credit. (getting up) How kind your voice

G E R M O N T I have to ask a sacrifice of those noble feelings of yours.

29

No! Don’t tell me! Don’t tell me your terrible demand! I foresaw it…I expected it…I was too happy!

V I O L E T TA

G E R M O N T Alfredo’s father pleads with you now for the future of his two children! V I O L E T TA

His two children?

Yes. God gave me a daughter as pure as an angel; and if Alfredo refuses to return to the bosom of his family, the man she loves and who loves her, the one whose wife she was to be, will break the chain that was to bind them in their happiness. I pray you not to change the roses of their love to flowers of sadness. Surely your heart will not deny the prayer I utter now. GERMONT

Ah, I understand. If I left Alfredo for a time, it would be a sacrifice, but then...

V I O L E T TA

GERMONT

That’s not what I’m asking.

Heavens! What more do you expect? So much I’ve offered, already!

V I O L E T TA

GERMONT V I O L E T TA GERMONT

But not enough. You want me to leave him forever? It’s necessary.

Oh, no! Never! No, never! You cannot know the kind of passion, living, overwhelming, that burns in my heart! I have no friends, no family still living. Alfredo swore that I should find them all in him. How should you know that my life is threatened by a fell disease? That already I see the end is near? If I parted from Alfredo, my suffering would be so unbearable that I would rather die, why yes, much rather die!

V I O L E T TA

G E R M O N T The sacrifice is heavy, but hear me out with patience, you’re young and beautiful and in time… V I O L E T T A Oh, say no more…I understand you. But it’s impossible for me...I want nothing but to love him! GERMONT

less faithful.

That may be, but men are often


V I O L E T TA

Oh, heavens!

G E R M O N T One day, when time has put your charms to flight, boredom will swiftly rise. What will happen then? Think! Even the deepest feelings won’t bring you comfort, since this bond was never blessed by heaven. V I O L E T TA

It’s true!

G E R M O N T Ah, why not, then, abandon so tempting a dream? V I O L E T TA

It’s true!

G E R M O N T Be the consoling angel of my family! Violetta, only think, you still have time for that. My child, it’s God who inspires the words this father speaks.

(in great grief) So, for the wretched woman who’s fallen once, the hope of rising is for ever gone! Though God should show His mercy, man will never forgive her.

V I O L E T TA

VIDEO DUET: Dite alla giovine CLIP http://tinyurl.com/dite-duet3 (to Germont, weeping) Say to your daughter, pure as she is and fair, that there’s a victim of misfortune whose one ray of happiness before she dies is a sacrifice made for her.

V I O L E T TA

G E R M O N T Weep, unhappy girl, weep! I see the sacrifice I ask is the greatest one of all, in my own heart I feel your sorrow; have courage, and your generous heart will conquer! V I O L E T TA

Tell me what I must do.

GERMONT

Say you don’t love him.

V I O L E T TA GERMONT V I O L E T TA GERMONT

He won’t believe me. Then leave him. He would follow me. Then ...

As your daughter now embrace me, so you may give me strength. (embracing

V I O L E T TA

Violetta begs Germont, Alfredo’s father, to let her stay with Alfredo

Germont) Soon he will be restored to you, but more unhappy than words can tell. You must be there to comfort him. (She indicates the garden. She goes to the writing-table.) GERMONT V I O L E T TA

What are you doing? If I told you, you would oppose me.

You are generous indeed! And what can I do for you? What can I do for you who are so generous? GERMONT

V I O L E T T A (turning to him) I shall soon die! And he’ll not curse my memory if someone tell him how much I suffered.

No, generous girl, you must live, you must be happy, for one day heaven will repay you for these tears. GERMONT

Let him know the sacrifice I made of the love that will be his till I draw my last breath.

V I O L E T TA

Your sacrifice shall be rewarded, and in days to come you will be proud of so great a love. Yes! GERMONT

30


Someone’s coming, you must go now.

V I O L E T TA GERMONT

I thank you from my heart!

Go now. (They embrace) We may not meet again.

V I O L E T TA

May you be happy! Farewell! (Germont goes to the door.) BOTH

(weeping) Let him know the sacrifice I made of the love ...

V I O L E T TA

G E R M O N T (a t t h e d o o r)

Yes! Yes!

That will be his forever ... (Her tears stifle the words.) Farewell!

V I O L E T TA

GERMONT BOTH

Farewell!

May you be happy! Farewell!

(Germont goes through the door into the garden.) VIDEO CLIP

SCENA: Amami, Alfredo http://tinyurl.com/amami-alfredo

(sitting down to write) Heaven, give me strength! (She rings a bell.)

V I O L E T TA

ANNINA

You want me?

V I O L E T TA ANNINA

Yes, deliver this note yourself ...

(surprised at the name on the note) Oh!

Hush! Go at once. (Annina goes out.) And now a note to him. What shall I say? Who will give me the courage to say it? (She writes and seals the letter. Alfredo comes in.) V I O L E T TA

V I O L E T TA

To you.

ALFREDO

Give me the letter.

V I O L E T TA

No, later.

I’m sorry, there’s something worrying me.

ALFREDO

V I O L E T TA

(getting up) What is it?

ALFREDO

My father’s arrived ...

V I O L E T TA

Have you seen him?

No, but he left me an angry letter. I shall wait for him. He’ll love you when he sees you.

ALFREDO

(in great agitation) Don’t let him find me here...Let me go...You can calm him down... (near tears) I’ll throw myself at his feet, he won’t want to part us anymore. We shall be happy, because you love me, Alfredo, don’t you?

V I O L E T TA

ALFREDO

Very much, but why are you crying?

V I O L E T T A I felt like crying but I’m better now. (controlling herself) You see ... I’m smiling ... you see? I’m all right now ... I’m smiling. I shall be there amongst the flowers, always near to you. Love me, Alfredo, love me as I love you! Farewell! (She runs out into the garden.)

Her love for me is her whole life! (He sits down and picks up a book, reads for a moment, then gets up and looks at the clock above the fireplace.) It’s late, perhaps my father won’t come back today. ALFREDO

G I U S E P P E (entering hurriedly) Madame has gone, there was a carriage waiting, it’s on its way to Paris now. Annina went on ahead.

ALFREDO

What are you doing?

V I O L E T TA

(hiding the letter) Nothing.

ALFREDO

You were writing?

(leaves)

V I O L E T TA

(confused) Yes ... no ...

I expect she’s gone to hurry up the sale of her things, but Annina will stop her. His father is seen in the distance, crossing the garden. There’s someone in the garden? Who is it? (He turns to go out.)

Why are you so confused? Who were you writing to?

ALFREDO

31

ALFREDO

I know, don’t agitate yourself.

GIUSEPPE

ALFREDO

(to himself) What does it mean?


MESSENGER ALFREDO

(at the door) Monsieur Germont?

Yes.

M E S S E N G E R A lady in a carriage, a little way from here, gave me this note for you. (He gives Alfredo a letter, receives a tip and goes out.)

From Violetta! Why am I so disturbed? Perhaps she suggests my joining her? I’m afraid! Oh, heaven! Give me courage! (He opens the letter and reads.) “Alfredo, when you get this note …” (He cries out.) Ah! (Germont enters.) My father! ALFREDO

G E R M O N T My son! I know how much you suffer! But don’t give way to tears, rather become your father’s pride and joy again. (Alfredo, in despair, sits down near the table with his face in his hands.)

VIDEO CLIP

ARIA: Di Provenza il mar, il suol http://tinyurl.com/diprovenza

G E R M O N T What has vanished from your heart the dear sea and soil of Provence? What has dimmed from your eyes the bright sunshine of your native country? Even in sorrow, remember you were happy there, there alone can peace shine on you again. It was God who brought me here! You do not know.

What pain your old father has suffered! With you away his home has been desolate indeed. But if in finding you again my hopes are not in vain, if the voice of honour is not silent for you, God has heard me! (He embraces Alfredo.) What, no response to your father’s love? A L F R E D O (A thousand serpents devour my breast. Repulsing his father) Leave me. GERMONT ALFREDO

(resolutely) Oh, revenge!

GERMONT ALFREDO

Leave you?

No more delay. Let us go, hurry.

Ah, it was Douphol!

GERMONT

ALFREDO

No!

G E R M O N T Then I have found you in vain? No, you will not hear reproaches; Let us cover the past with oblivion: love which has guided me to you can forgive everything. Come, see again with me your dear ones rejoicing; Do not deny such joy to those who have suffered till now. Hasten to console a father and a sister.

Ah! (Freeing himself, he sees Flora’s letter on the table. He reads is hastily and exclaims.) She’s gone to the party! I’ll have my own back for that! (He rushes out.)

ALFREDO

G E R M O N T What’s that you say? Stop! (Germont follows.)

SCENE 2 A brilliantly lighted, richly furnished room in F l o r a ’s h o u s e . A d o o r a t t h e b a c k a n d o n e on each side. Downstage right is a table where guests are playing cards; on the left another table decked with flowers, where refreshments are set out. There are chairs and a sofa.

(Flora, the Marquis, the Doctor and other guests come in left, talking together.) F L O R A There’ll be maskers to liven up the evening; the young vicomte at their head. And I’ve invited Violetta and Alfredo … M A R Q U I S Hadn’t you heard that Violetta and Germont have parted? DOCTOR AND FLOR A MARQUIS

Is it true?

She’ll coming with the baron.

D O C T O R But I saw them only yesterday! They seemed happy enough. (There is a sound of new arrivals, off right.) FLOR A

Hush! Do you hear?

(moving right) Our friends are coming. (A crowd of guests wearing masks and gypsy costumes enter right.)

ALL

Are you listening to me? 32


G Y P S Y G I R L S We are gypsies, come from a distant land; we can read the future In anybody’s hand. We’re in touch with the stars; nothing is hidden from us, all the happenings of the future we can reveal to you. A G R O U P O F G Y P S I E S Let’s see; (looking at Flora’s hand) You, Madame, have several rivals. A N O T H E R G R O U P O F G Y P S I E S (looking at the Marquis’s hand) You, Marquis, are no model of faithfulness. F L O R A (to the Marquis) Are you at your games again? Believe me, I shall make you pay! M A R Q U I S (to Flora) What the deuce do you mean? It’s an utter falsehood! F L O R A The fox may change his skin, but he doesn’t forget his tricks. My dear Marquis, you be careful, or you may be sorry for it.

FLORA, THE DOCTOR, THE MARQUIS,LADIES

Yes, yes, you splendid fellows, tell us! We are eager to hear you!

G A S T O N A N D T H E B U L L F I G H T E R S Then listen. There’s a matador of Biscay, the bold and handsome Piquillo; strong of arm and proud of aspect, he’s the lord of the arena. With an Andalusian maiden he fell violently in love but the saucy little beauty challenged her admiring swain: “Let me see you bring to earth five bulls in a single day, and if you return in triumph, you shall have my heart and hand.” “I accept!” said the bullfighter and he hurried to the fight; all five bulls the conquering hero stretched lifeless upon the sand. FLORA, THE DOCTOR, THE MARQUIS, LADIES

Bravo, bravo, brave bullfighter, you have shown yourself a hero, and have proved to the maiden the kind of love yours is. GASTON AND THE BULLFIGHTERS

Come along, let’s draw a veil over what is past and gone; what is done can’t be undone, let us welcome what’s to come.

Midst the cheering he went back to the girl of his heart, and eagerly embraced his prize in the strong arms of love.

(Flora and the Marquis press each other’s hands. Gaston comes in right, with a lively band of guests in masks, dressed as Spanish bullfighters and picadors.)

With feats like this, bullfighters know how to win the fair.

ALL

GASTON AND THE BULLFIGHTERS

We’re

matadors from Madrid, the heroes of the bullring, we’ve come to enjoy the fun that Paris makes over the fatted ox; there’s a tale we can tell, if you’ll listen, And would like to know how we can love!

33

FLORA, THE DOCTOR, THE MARQUIS, LADIES

G A S T O N A N D T H E B U L L F I G H T E R S But here our hearts are gentler, we make do with fun and games!

Yes, lively friends, first let us try the temper of fickle fortune; let us open the lists to the bold gamester.

ALL


(The men take off their masks. Some move around and some get ready for gambling. Alfredo enters.) ALL

Alfredo! You! Yes, my friends.

ALFREDO FLOR A

Where’s Violetta? I don’t know.

ALFREDO

How unimpassioned! Bravo! Now, let’s have a game! (Violetta enters on the arm of the Baron.)

ALL

FLOR A

Here’s the one we’ve been waiting for.

V I O L E T TA

I couldn’t refuse your lovely invitation.

F L O R A I’m grateful to you too, Baron, for consenting to come. BARON

(softly to Violetta) Germont is here! See?

(to herself) Heavens! So he is! (softly to the Baron) Yes, I see him.

V I O L E T TA

B A R O N (somberly) Not a word from you to Alfredo, not a word!

(to herself) Ah, why did I come? It was rash of me! Heaven, have mercy on me! (Flora makes Violetta sit beside her on a sofa. The Doctor approaches them; the Marquis talks to the Baron. Gaston cuts the cards; Alfredo and the other stake their money, Guests pass to and fro.) V I O L E T TA

Sit with me and tell me about this new turn of events. (Flora and Violetta talk together.)

Oh no, with her who was with me there, until she ran away from me.

ALFREDO

V I O L E T TA

G A S T O N (to Alfredo, pointing to Violetta) Spare her feelings. BARON

(to Alfredo angrily) Monsieur!

V I O L E T TA

(softly to the Baron) Remain calm, or

ALFREDO

Did you speak to me, Baron?

I leave you.

B A R O N (ironically) You’re so favored by fortune that I’m tempted to try my luck…

you on.

(to herself)Ah! I feel like death! Great heaven, have pity on me!

V I O L E T TA

B A R O N (staking his money) A hundred louis on the right ...

(pushing over his stake) And a hundred on the left...

ALFREDO

G A S T O N (cutting) An ace...a knave...(to Alfredo) You win! BARON

Will you double?

ALFREDO

Double it is!

GASTON

(cutting) A four... a seven...

Again!

ALFREDO

Four!

ALL

GASTON

You’ve won again.

ALFREDO

ALL

He’s winning all the time!

Oh, I shall win tonight and return happily to the country to spend my winnings.

ALFREDO

FLOR A

Alone?

(with equal irony) Really? I’ll take

ALFREDO

FLOR A

A L F R E D O Unlucky in love, lucky at cards… (He stakes again and wins.)

(to herself) Dear God!

ALL

Then I’m the winner.

Bravo! Alfredo has all the luck.

F L O R A The Baron’s going to pay for that stay in the country…I can see that! ALFREDO

(to the Baron) Shall we go on?

(A servant enters.) S E R VA N T

Supper is served. 34


V I O L E T TA

No, never!

ALFREDO

What are you afraid of?

V I O L E T TA

The Baron frightens me.

It’s a question of life and death between us. If I kill him, you’ll lose lover and protector at a single blow. Doesn’t such a fate terrify you?

ALFREDO

Violetta explains to Alfredo that she is no longer in love with him and she is with the Baron now FLOR A ALL

Let’s go!

Let’s go.

(to herself) What’s going to happen? I feel like death! Great heaven, have pity on me!

V I O L E T TA

Please go, go at once!

I’ll go if you will swear that wherever I go, you’ll follow me ...

ALFREDO

ALFREDO

No, never!

We can’t now; I’ll have my revenge later.

V I O L E T TA

At any game you like.

Let’s follow our friends...later… I’ll be at your service. Let’s go.

(as they go out) Let’s go.

(Everybody goes out. The stage is empty for a few moments.) (returns in a state of great agitation, followed by Alfredo) I’ve asked him to follow me. Will he come? Will he heed me? I think he’ll come, for his terrible hatred moves him more than my words… V I O L E T TA

ALFREDO

You called me? What do you want?

V I O L E T TA

You must go, you’re in danger!

Ah, I see, but that’s enough, so you think I’m a coward?

ALFREDO

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V I O L E T TA

(to the Baron) If you’d like to go on?

ALFREDO BARON

My death? What do you care?

No, never!

ALFREDO BARON

ALFREDO

V I O L E T TA

ALFREDO BARON

V I O L E T T A But if he should be the killer? That’s the only thought that puts the fear of death into me

Go, you are wicked! Forget a name that’s without honor! Go, leave me this minute. I’ve made a solemn vow to fly from you. ALFREDO

Who to? Tell me, who could make

V I O L E T TA

One who had every right.

ALFREDO

Was it Douphol?

V I O L E T TA

(with great force) Yes!

ALFREDO

Then you love him?

V I O L E T TA

Yes...I love him...

you?

(running to the door and shouting) Come here, all of you!

ALFREDO

(The rest of the company rush in) ALL

You called us? What do you want?

(pointing to Violetta, who leans feebly against a table) You know this lady?

ALFREDO


ALL

You mean Violetta?

ALFREDO

But you don’t know what she’s done.

V I O L E T TA

Oh, don’t!

ALL

No.

For me this woman lost all she possessed. I was blind, a wretched coward, I accepted it all. But it’s time now for me to clear myself from debt. I call you all to witness here that I’ve paid her back!

ALFREDO

(Contemptuously, he throws his winnings at Violetta’s feet. She swoons in Flora’s arms. Alfredo’s father arrives suddenly.) What you have done is shameful! So to strike down a tender heart! You have insulted a woman! Get out of here! We’ve no use for you! We’ve no use for such as you! Go! ALL

G E R M O N T (dignified in his anger) A man who offends a woman, even in anger, merits nothing but scorn. Where is my son? I see him no more in you, Alfredo, no more in you.

(to himself) What have I done? Yes, I despise myself! Jealous madness, love deceived, ravaged my soul, destroyed my reason. How can I ever gain her pardon? I would have left her, but I couldn’t; I came here to vent my anger, but now I’ve done so, wretch that I am, I feel nothing but a deep remorse!

ALFREDO

FLORA, GASTON, DOCTOR, MARQUIS, CHORUS

(to Violetta) Yes, you have suffered, but take heart! Each one of us has shared your pain; friends are about you to dry the tears you have shed.

(to himself) Alone I know the true devotion this poor girl hides within her breast; I know her faithful heart that’s vowed so cruelly to silence. GERMONT

B A R O N (softly to Alfredo) Your deadly insult to this lady offends us all, but such an outrage shall not go unavenged! I shall find a way to humble your pride!

A L F R E D O Alas, what have I done? What have I done? How can I ever gain her pardon?

(coming to herself) Alfredo, how should you understand all the love that’s in my heart? How should you know that I have proved it, even at the price of your contempt? But the time will come when you will know, when you’ll admit how much I loved you. God save you then from all remorse! Even after death I shall still love you.

V I O L E T TA

(Germont leads his son away with him; the Baron follows. Flora and the Doctor take Violetta into the other room as the rest of the company disperses)

ACT III V i o l e t t a ’s b e d r o o m . V i o l e t t a i s a s l e e p o n t h e bed; Annina, seated near the fireplace, is dozing. Prelude V I O L E T TA ANNINA

me?

(waking in confusion) Did you call

V I O L E T TA ANNINA

(sitting up) Annina!

Were you asleep? Poor Annina!

Forgive me!

Give me a sip of water. (Annina does so.) Look and see if it’s daylight.

V I O L E T TA

ANNINA

It’s seven o’clock.

V I O L E T TA

Let’s have a little light.

A N N I N A (drawing the curtains and looking out) Dr. Grenvil...

What a good friend he is! I must get up, help me. (She rises but falls back, then, with Annina’s help, moves slowly over to the couch. The Doctor arrives in time to help her.) How kind you are! To think of me so early! V I O L E T TA

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DOCTOR

(feeling her pulses) How do you feel?

V I O L E T T A Weak in body, but tranquil of soul. A good priest came yesterday to comfort me. Religion’s a great solace when one’s ill. DOCTOR

And last night?

V I O L E T TA

I slept soundly.

D O C T O R Then we must take heart, convalescence is not far away. V I O L E T TA DOCTOR

you later.

Doctors are allowed a pious fib.

(taking her hand) Goodbye, I’ll see

V I O L E T TA

Don’t forget me.

(softly, as she goes to the door with the Doctor) How is she, Monsieur? ANNINA

D O C T O R The illness only gives her a few hours. (He goes out.) ANNINA

(to Violetta) Take courage, now!

V I O L E T TA ANNINA

wild.

Is it a holiday?

It’s the carnival, Paris is running

God knows how many poor souls are suffering while the people enjoy themselves! How much have we left in the drawer? (pointing to the chest of drawers)

V I O L E T TA

ANNINA

louis.

(opening it and counting) Twenty

V I O L E T TA ANNINA

Take ten and give them to the poor.

You won’t have much left.

As much as I shall need… go and see if there are any letters for me.

V I O L E T TA

ANNINA

What about you?

Nothing will happen to me… But please hurry.

V I O L E T TA

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VIDEO CLIP

ARIA: Addio, del passato http://tinyurl.com/addioletter

(Annina goes out. Violetta draws a letter from her breast and reads it in a low voice, speaking in time to the music.) “You kept your promise ... The duel took place. The Baron was wounded, but is getting better ... Alfredo is abroad. I have told him of your sacrifice. He is coming back to ask your pardon … I shall come too. Take care of yourself ... You deserve a better future.” Giorgio Germont. (sadly) It’s too late! (getting up) I wait and wait, but they never come! (She looks at herself in the glass.) How changed I am! But the Doctor still urges me to hope! With such a disease all hope is dead! Farewell, happy dreams of by gone days; the roses in my cheeks already are faded. Even Alfredo’s love is lacking, to comfort and uphold my weary spirit. Oh, comfort, sustain an erring soul, and may God pardon and make her his own! Ah, all is over, all is over now. M A S K E D C H O R U S (offstage) Make way for the quadruped, lord of the feast, his head is wreathed about with flowers and vine leaves. Make way for the gentlest of all horned beasts. Greet him with horns and pipes. People of Paris, give way to the Fat Ox’s triumph. Not Asia nor Africa ever saw a finer; he’s the pride and boast of every butcher. Lively masqueraders, crazy young boys, hail him, all of you, with music and song! (Annina hurries back.) ANNINA

(hesitating) Madame...

V I O L E T TA ANNINA

You do feel better today, don’t you?

V I O L E T TA ANNINA

expect.

Yes, but why?

Will you promise to keep calm?

V I O L E T TA ANNINA

What’s happened?

What are you trying to tell me?

I must warn you of a joy you don’t


V I O L E T TA ANNINA

Did you say joy?

(nodding her head) Yes, Madame.

Alfredo! You’ve seen him! He’s coming! Oh, hurry! (Annina nods in confirmation, goes to open the door. Violetta goes to the door.) Alfredo! (Alfredo appears, pale with emotion, and they fall into each other’s arms.) Alfredo, beloved! Oh, what joy! V I O L E T TA

A L F R E D O Oh, my Violetta! Oh, what joy! How much to blame I am, but now, dearest, I know everything! V I O L E T TA

I only know I have you back!

Judge how much I love you from the beating of my heart! I can live no longer without you!

ALFREDO

VIDEO DUET: Parigi, o cara CLIP http://tinyurl.com/final-duet We’ll leave Paris, my dearest, together we’ll go through life. In reward for your past sorrows, you’ll bloom into health again. Breath of life, sunshine you’ll be to me, all the years to come will smile on us.

ALFREDO

We’ll leave Paris, my dearest, together we’ll go through life.

V I O L E T TA

ALFREDO

Yes.

In reward for past sorrows, I shall bloom into health again. Breath of life, sunshine you’ll be to me, all the years to come will smile on us.

V I O L E T TA

V I O L E T TA

That you find me still alive means that sorrow cannot kill.

Ah, no more! Let’s go to church, Alfredo, and give thanks for your return. (She falters.)

ALFREDO

Forget the pain, beloved, forgive me and my father.

ALFREDO

That I should pardon you when I’m the one to blame? But it was love that made me so.

It’s nothing. A joy so sudden is overwhelming, when one has been sad at heart. (She falls, exhausted, into a chair.)

V I O L E T TA

Not man or devil, my angel, shall ever part you from me again.

A L F R E D O A N D V I O L E T TA

You’ve gone pale!

V I O L E T TA

(supporting her in alarm) God in heaven! Violetta!

ALFREDO

It’s the way the illness takes me! Just weakness! I’m all right now. See! I’m smiling.

V I O L E T TA

ALFREDO

(sadly) How cruel fate is!

V I O L E T TA

It was nothing! Annina, help me to

ALFREDO

Not now! Wait a little...

dress.

No! I want to go out. (Annina brings Violetta’s clothes, which she tries to put on, but nearly falls from weakness.) Oh, heaven! I can’t! (She falls back on the chair.)

V I O L E T TA

To see her like this! (to Annina) Go and get the Doctor!

ALFREDO Alfredo arrives just in time to make amends and to see Violetta take her last breath

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(to Annina) Tell him Alfredo is back, back in my arms, tell him I want to live again! (Annina goes out.) But if you haven’t saved me by coming back, no one on earth can do it. (getting up impetuously) Ah, God in heaven! That I should die so young, after so much suffering! To die so near the dawn after the long night of tears! It was only an illusion, my hope and my belief! My heart, so long believing was constant all in vain! V I O L E T TA

Breath of my life and beating of my heart, my soul’s only delight! Let me mingle my tears with yours! But more than ever, believe me I need your true devotion. So do not close your heart to all hope. ALFREDO

Oh, Alfredo, how sad an ending to our love and my life!

V I O L E T TA

Oh, Violetta, your sadness is worse to me than death!

ALFREDO

GERMONT

Ah, Violetta!

(enters with Annina and the Doctor)

V I O L E T TA

You, Monsieur?

ALFREDO

Father!

V I O L E T TA

You didn’t forget me?

I come as I promised, to embrace you as a daughter, most generous girl!

Come closer, Alfredo, my beloved, take this picture of me in happier days gone by as a remembrance of her who loved you truly.

V I O L E T TA

Don’t talk to me of dying, you must live on, beloved; God would not bring on me so dreadful a misfortune …

ALFREDO

G E R M O N T Dear, sublime victim of a desperate love, forgive me for the torment inflicted on your fair heart.

If some gentle maiden in the springtime of her life should give to you her heart, let her be your wife, for such is my wish. Give her this picture and tell her it’s the gift of one who from heaven, amongst the angels, prays always for her and for you.

V I O L E T TA

I shall weep for you. Fly to the regions of the blest, for God calls you to Him!

A N N I N A , G E R M O N T, D O C T O R

Death cannot divide you from me son soon! Live, or a single coffin shall enclose me with you!

ALFREDO

V I O L E T TA

(reviving) How strange!

A N N I N A , A L F R E D O, G E R M O N T, D O C T O R

What?

(speaking) The spasms of pain have ceased! I feel reborn in me the strength that once was mine! I feel I’m coming back to life! Oh, joy! (She falls back on the sofa.)

GERMONT

V I O L E T TA

Alas, you come too late! (They embrace) But I’m grateful, all the same. You see, Dr. Grenvil, I die in the arms of those I hold dearest in all the world.

A N N I N A , G E R M O N T, D O C T O R

V I O L E T TA

Whatever are you telling me? (looking at her) Heaven help us! It’s true! GERMONT

ALFREDO

You see how it is with her, Father?

Say no more, don’t torture me, remorse seizes my soul, her every word strikes me like lightning! (Violetta opens a drawer and takes out a medallion.) Rash old fool that I was, only now do I see what I’ve done! GERMONT

heavens! She is dying!

ALFREDO

Violetta?

ANNINA, GERMONT

help!

DOCTOR

Oh, God, she needs

(after feeling her pulse) She is dead!

A N N I N A , A L F R E D O, G E R M O N T

grief!

THE END Translation courtesy of http://www.opera-guide.ch/.

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Oh,

Oh, my


O U R V I O L E T TA LISETTE OROPESA Lisette Oropesa will be singing Violetta in La traviata for the first time, making her “role debut” with Opera Philadelphia. She is following in the footsteps of her mother, an opera singer who performed the role of Violetta. We spoke to Lisette about her life as a singer and her life outside of the stage. Q: Why do you like to sing?

Q: What is the most difficult aspect of your job?

A: It’s fun. I’ve been singing at the top of my lungs since

A: Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and I

I was 3!

Q: Did you always know that you wanted to be a singer? A: In grade school I wanted to be an animator for Disney. I drew Disney princesses till my hand was stiff. Then in middle-high school I thought I might be a pop star and write my own songs. I also played the flute and thought I might do that professionally. I tried out for the voice department just for fun [in college] and they said I was a better singer than a flute player. I guess all those years writing songs helped!

Q: If you couldn’t be a singer, what career would you have pursued?

A: For a time, I considered majoring in English and

have no idea where I am. When you are constantly living out of a suitcase, in a different town, surrounded by new people and smells and weather, it can be dizzying!

Q: Has anything funny ever happened to you onstage where something went wrong?

A: Recently there was a cloud of dust on stage that made me cough during a trio that lasted 5 minutes! I tried to hide it but I looked like I had emphysema.

Q: If you could add anything about what you do in your “downtime” that puts a “face” on who you are, that would be fantastic. A: I like to listen to my favorite songs on repeat. I can’t wait till Christmas every year when Mariah Carey’s O Holy Night takes over my world.

specializing in British literature.

FAST FACTS: Hometown location: Baton Rouge, LA Siblings: Two sisters Education: Louisiana State University, Met Opera Young Artist Program Hobbies: Running, yoga, hiking, cooking, food and wine, DISNEY! Reading, writing, fashion and beauty. Favorite Book: It’s a tie between Wuthering Heights (Bronte) and East of Eden (Steinbeck) Favorite Movies/TV shows: DISNEY forever -Cinderella followed by The Little Mermaid. The Golden Girls and Breaking Bad. Favorite Singers: Pop: Tori Amos. Opera: Maria Callas Favorite Food: Kiwi, avocado, lemon, mango, cashews, Burgundian mustard.

Photo: Matthew Murphy

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L A T R AV I ATA I N S T RU M E N TAT I O N The instrumentation in Verdi’s La traviata is much like other operas written in the 1850’s. He uses instruments that can be found in most orchestras and opera orchestras. There are four instrument families that make up Verdi’s orchestra: Strings, Woodwinds, Brass and percussion. Below are the groups with their respective instruments. Woodwinds: 1 piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, and 2 bassoons Brass: 4 french horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, and 1 tuba Strings: violins (two groups), violas, cellos, and double bass. Percussion: timpani, cymbals, bass drum, and triangle.

Each group of like-instruments sit together in the theater’s pit, which is located underneath the stage. The arrangement of instruments can be seen in the diagram below:

Interesting fact: Verdi originally wrote the lowest brass part for an instrument called the Cimbasso, which is the predecessor to the Tuba! The instrument looks like a very large trombone with valves instead of a slide to change the pitch. Active Learning 1. Which woodwind instrument in Verdi’s orchestra can play the highest pitch? 2. Which family of instruments does the clarinet belong to? 3. Which one of Verdi’s percussion instruments can change pitch?

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L A T R AV I ATA’s FA M O U S BRINDISI The Brindisi (“Libiamo ne’lieti calici”) in Act I Scene 1 of Verdi’s La traviata is a very popular tune from the opera. The Italian term brindisi translates to the English word “toast”. In the story, Violetta hosts a party, despite being very ill with consumption (otherwise known as tuberculosis). Violetta says, “I give myself to pleasure, since pleasure is the best medicine for my ills”. She is essentially treating her illness with a good time. This song serves as a toast, for the guests of the party give a toast to Violetta’s supposed improving health. The song features the main soprano role, Violetta, and the main male role, Alfredo, a tenor. The Brindisi is an excellent piece for students to start to think about how composers organize music so that its listeners can easily understand it. Just like in literature, poetry, and music, the creator of the piece has to make decisions when organizing the piece in a way that allows their purpose to be supported. This work is written in a way that features each of the soloists and the joyous atmosphere of the party, which is brought to light in the particular sections in which the chorus and soloists are combined. The Brindisi starts with a brief statement of the Main theme, which will be restated many times throughout the scene. This is similar to when a student is asked to write an essay, we always suggest stating one’s purpose or main idea in the first paragraph. Verdi then introduces the soloists and chorus individually before combining all the stated elements together in the final verse of the piece. Because the form of the piece is relatively simple and the elements of the music are clear, this piece is a great opportunity for students to practice active listening and applying what they hear to formal analysis. The attached worksheet is meant to guide the students’ listening and analysis, as well as serve as a catalyst for discussion about how composers organize their music. E n g l i s h t r a n s l a t i o n o f t h e Tex t - B r i n d i s i ( To a s t ) Libiamo ne’lieti calici” - Let’s drink, drink from the joyful chalices Alfredo: Let’s drink, drink from the joyful chalices

since the beautiness is blossoming. And might the fleeting hour get inebriated at will Let’s drink among (those) sweet quivers that Love makes arise, since that eye goes to (his) almighty heart. Let’s drink, (my) love, (so that) love among the chalices will get hotter kisses Chorus: Ah! Let’s drink, (so that) love,

It’s a flower that blossoms and dies, neither it can be enjoyed longer Let’s enjoy, it’s calling us, it’s calling us an ardent flattering accent. Chorus: Let’s enjoy, the cup* and the canticle,

the lovely night and the smiles; might the new day find them (still) in this paradise Violetta: Life is in (its) jubilation

among the chalices, will get hotter kisses

Alfredo: When (people) aren’t in love yet...

Violetta: With you, with you, I’ll be able to share

Violetta: Don’t say it to those who don’t know it,

my cheerful time; Everything is crazy, crazy in the world what is not pleasure Let’s enjoy (the pleasures), fleeting and fast is the joy in love,

Alfredo: So it’s my destiny Tutti: Let’s enjoy, the cup* and the canticle,

the lovely night and the smiles; might the new day find them (still) in this paradise.

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T R AV I ATA TRIVIA The opera bombed at its premiere. Many blamed the soprano, who was considered too old and full figured to play a Violetta, a young courtesan wasting away from consumption. Verdi complained in a letter written the next day, “La traviata last night a failure. Was the fault mine or the singers’? Time will tell.” The opera’s United States premiere was 159 years ago in New York City in 1856, the same year as the first Republican Party’s first national convention. In 2012, it was listed by one source as the most performed opera worldwide.

Opera Philadelphia’s YouTube sensation at Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia

In 2010, Opera Philadelphia staged a “Flash Brindisi” involving soloists and chorus, performing the opera’s Brindisi in Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market. The youtube video has garnered over 4.1 million views! http://tinyurl.com/ flashmobbrindisi

There are two movie versions of the opera, one from 1967 and one from 1983. There is also a 2012 documentary chronicling the rehearsal process for a production in France. The movie Pretty Woman is based on a similar story. In the movie, the main character, Vivian attends La traviata, and it moves her to tears. Violetta was, to put it boldly, an extremely high end prostitute. It is a challenge to portray the complicated nature of Violetta’s social status. On one hand a courtesan was considered a prize to be won, highly educated and lived a lush lifestyle. On the other hand, their riches were gifts from men who paid for her company, and they were provided for only as long as the relationship lasted. In 1852, Dumas made his book into a play, in no small part because he was broke and needed the money. The play was very successful, and has been the basis for many successful movies (The Lady of the Camellias and Camille) starring some of Hollywood’s greatest actresses. La traviata is Italian, and means “the woman lead astray.” For our production, costume designer Gary McCann’s pieces were inspired by fashion and portrait photographer Cecil Beaton’s work. In 2012, New York City Opera’s production of La traviata starred African American soprano Laquita Mitchell. The opening was marked with bitter irony and uncanny relevance, as it occurred just 24 hours after the shocking death of pop star Whitney Houston. An iconic scene in the 1994 cult film The Adventures of Priscilla - Queen of The Desert features actor Guy Pearce, dressed in drag, lip syncing to “Sempre libera.” He does this while sitting in a giant high heeled shoe, which is perched atop a bus that is racing across the desert.

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Photograph by Cecil Beaton, an inspiration for our costume designer, Gary McCann

Wikimedia Commons image of Iranian Queen Fawzieh by Beaton


I N V I TAT I O N T O T H E PA R T Y !

Invitations using calligraphy.

Photo credit: regan76 on Creative Commons

It’s exciting to get an invitation, whether to a birthday party, a wedding, or a celebration within an opera. Invitations sent in La traviata’s eighteenth century were simple, quiet, and understated. How different are the e-vites sent out today? How would you invite friends to your party, or if you were Violetta sending out an invitation today? What information must be in your e-vite? Who, what, where, when, and why are necessary elements to any invitation. If you have access to a computer, design your e-vite digitally. Or you can learn the art of calligraphy (see attached video) in order to hand write your invitation.

Compare the old versions, original sets, and traditional costumes with the updated 1950s version that Opera Philadelphia will be using in the 2015 production of La traviata. Director Paul Curran moves the story from 1700s Paris to the 1950s so that contemporary audiences can still relate to the piece. The 1950s was a conservative time, so the story of Violetta would still be shocking in that decade. As long as the music is the same, an opera company can decide to change the time period, set, and costumes. If an opera works in different eras, what does that say about the staying power or relevancy of a story? Make a list of all the updated versions of literature and operas that you can think of and try to see as many productions as you can to compare and contrast each interpretation. Does the story transfer well to a different time period? Does the set work? Do the costumes make sense? Are the themes relevant in a different decade? How would you modernize La traviata if you could change the time Example of a type of calligraphy. period to contemporary times? Here is a list to start you off:

Photo credit: Jeremy Keith on Creative Commons

THEN

N OW

1. La traviata (written 1853) http://tinyurl.com/Latraviata1853

1. Camille (1936) http://tinyurl.com/camille1936

2. La bohème (written 1895) http://tinyurl.com/laboheme1895

2. Rent (2005) http://tinyurl.com/cyc4bep

3. Romeo and Juliet (written 1597) http://tinyurl.com/romand-jul1597

3. West Side Story (1961) http://tinyurl.com/wws1961

4. Emma (written 1815) http://tinyurl.com/emma-austen-1815

4. Clueless (1995) http://tinyurl.com/clueless1995

5. Carmen (written 1875) http://tinyurl.com/carmen1875

5. Carmen: A Hip Hopera (2001) http://tinyurl.com/carmenhh2001

To view the calligraphy lesson, copy and paste this address into your browser: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/54164845/Calligraphy.mov

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C E N S O R S H I P, V E R D I A N D A R T I S T S O F T O D AY “Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are “offensive,” happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others. Censorship can be carried out by the government as well as by private pressure groups. Censorship by the government is unconstitutional.” - American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Giuseppe Verdi wrote many of his operas in the years before the creation of an independent Italian state. During this time the censors in each state decided whether or not an opera could be produced within their boundaries. Composers were forced to get their works approved, and objections were often raised about all aspects of the work, from the setting and costumes, to the characters, their names, nationalities and their position in society. The narrow-minded censors of the individual states often objected to Verdi’s works on political and moral grounds. For example, the ruling Austrians believed his opera, Ernani (1844), was an attack on their authority. The police tried to stop performers from drawing their swords on the stage and demanded that the ruler be shown in a more positive light. In this case Verdi held his ground and the opera remained unchanged. In the case of Rigoletto (1851), Verdi was not as successful. Here again the authorities were concerned that the already unpopular leaders’ reputations would suffer as a result of their portrayal in the opera. The censors raised objections about the jester, Rigoletto, being a hunchback. They challenged the characters’ names, the location of the opera in the French court, and perhaps most importantly, the Duke’s role as a sexual predator. Verdi changed the location and the names, but refused to change the jester’s physical appearance, or the Duke’s treacherous personality. La traviata’s (1853) problems with the censors began after the premier, when the opera went on the road. In Rome, Violetta was turned into an orphan, who Alfredo was unable to marry because he was already engaged to another young woman. In this production, Violetta’s morals and occupation were completely removed from the story, and Alfredo’s wife died in time for Alfredo 45

to rush to Violetta’s side before she, too died. However, Violetta’s death continued to stand as a warning against her free-wheeling lifestyle. Audience’s throughout Italy embraced Verdi’s work and often connected with the plight of his characters despite the differences in time and place in the operas. In Nabucco (1842), the people of Milan saw themselves as the Jews, who were persecuted by the Babylonians. In Macbeth (1847), audiences in Venice identified with the Scottish exiles, throwing bouquets of red and green, the colors of Italy, on the stage, until this protest was forbidden. In spite of the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment, modern music censorship takes many forms. Many radio stations consider some words taboo, and they remove them from broadcasts by blanking, bleeping, distorting, or in the case of hip hop, scratching CDs. Some retailers, like Wal-Mart, routinely refuse to sell CDs with art or lyrics that they consider explicitly sexual or vulgar. However, Wal-Mart’s censorship doesn’t stop there; they refused to stock a Sheryl Crow album because it contained the following lyric: “Watch our children as they kill each other with a gun they bought at Wal-Mart discount stores.” As the largest CD retailer in the country, Wal-Mart’s approval counts in a big way for recording artists. In 1985, the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) was formed by a group of “Washington Wives,” including Tipper Gore, the wife of former Vice-President Al Gore, to increase parental oversight of the music that their children were https://www.aclu.org/what-censorship http://tinyurl.com7dv2czp http://tinyurl.compqjh3dq http://tinyurl.com/psx85fb http://tinyurl.com/oo65q84


purchasing. The self appointed organization developed the Parental Advisory stickers that are routinely placed on albums they consider violent, drug related, or sexual in nature. Wal-Mart does not stock CDs with parental advisory stickers. Taking censorship a step further, rap lyrics were recently entered into evidence in criminal trials in New Jersey, California, South Carolina, Illinois and Louisiana. Prosecutors have successfully argued that violent lyrics prove intent to commit crimes, and/or are equal to confessions. Defense lawyers and the judges who have reversed convictions based on rap lyrics have argued that the lyrics and their hyperbole cannot be counted as fact. Some examples the defense have offered are

the lyrics of reggae artist Bob Marley’s song, “I Shot the Sheriff,” and the words of country singer, Johnny Cash, who famously sang about “shooting a man just to see him die”. The singersongwriters of these hits were never suspected of actual murders. Instead Cash and Marley are simply celebrated as artists and performers. Groups and individuals calling for censorship today believe that exposure to vulgar language and images of violence, especially by young people, will lead them to violent and self-destructive behaviors. To date there have not been any scientific studies that prove a direct relationship between exposure to media violence and subsequent antisocial behaviors.

CENSORSHIP CONSTRUCTED RESPONSES What is censorship and how has it affected musical artists’ freedom of expression? Include at least two examples from Verdi’s life, and two examples from modern times in the U.S. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Bonus: Organize a debate(s) in your classroom. Consider the following prompts:

1. Should the music young children listen to be censored, and who should decide? 2. Are Parental Advisory labels on CDs effective? If not, why not? 3. Do references to drugs and violence in music lead to actual drug use and violence? 4. What responsibility do musicians have for the behavior of their listening audience? 5. Should the First Amendment protect obscene speech, and how is obscenity defined? 46


C H A R A C T E R A N A LY S I S PYRAMID Using the character descriptions from the La traviata teacher guide, fill out this graphic organizer for one of the opera’s characters, either individually or in groups. After filling out the form, take 10 minutes to discuss the characters and how they would interact.

Name/Title

Physical Appearance

Character’s Role

Character’s Problems/Challenges

Major Accomplishments

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PLOT THE ACTION IN L A T R AV I ATA Directions: Fill in the required information for each section below in numerical order. Use the information that appears with each section to help you proceed. It’s okay to write through the gray diagonal line in two of the sections.

2. As the story continues, the Rising Actions introduce complications and problems for the main characters. These difficulties create suspense!

3. The Climax of the story is when the reader is most interested in how the story will end. The suspense is at its peak, but the outcome is not yet known.

3. Climax

2. Rising Actions

1. The Exposition

1. The Exposition appears at the beginning of the story. It introduces us to the setting, characters and background information.

4. Falling Action

4. Falling Action appears at the ending of the story. Suspense has been eliminated and these events show characters’ lives returning to normal.

5. Resolution

5. The Resolution is the final solution to the problem or conflict. In stories with happy endings it’s called the denouement. Tragic endings are called catastrophe.

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SPOTLIGHT ON CAREERS IN THE ARTS Opera is one of the greatest art forms, but it takes a village to make an opera come to life - both behind the curtain and in Opera Philadelphia’s administrative offices. This season we celebrate a few of the talented individuals behind the scenes who help make operatic magic happen.

Derren Mangum, Associate Director of Institutional Giving

Got a dollar? Derren Mangum can write a proposal that will convince you to invest it in Opera Philadelphia’s Sounds of Learning™ program! As sixth grade class valedictorian, Derren loved to write. He dreamed of becoming an author and computer programmer, and eventually graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Rhetoric and Communication Studies, which means he studied “everything from Socrates to intercultural communication and media criticism.” His early career brought him opportunities in several different areas, from web design, to copy writing and internal corporate communications and even some real estate related work. In 2009, Derren joined the talented administration team that works behind the scenes at Opera Philadelphia. As Associate Director of Institutional Giving, Derren writes donation requests from competitive foundations, charitable corporations, and state, local, and federal government sources. He enjoys the challenge of writing a proposal that can convince someone to invest “incredible sums of money” in a project, and he finds great satisfaction in watching the programs that his work supports grow and flourish. Derren has a hand in securing the donations that fund Sounds of Learning™. Few would guess that Derren’s exposure to opera has come almost exclusively through his work at the Opera. Like many of our guests who seek to expand their knowledge of opera, even Derren enjoys reading the Sounds of Learning™ books! If you see him the hall, thank Derren for his hard work, which helps Opera Philadelphia continue to offer exciting programs and experiences to Philadelphians young and old! J. Derwin Cooper, First Hand, Opera Philadelphia Costume Shop

According to J. Derwin Cooper, working in the costume shop of an opera company is “the closest you can get to working in a couture house.” As a high school student in Virginia, Derwin was president of the Art Club and known for his fashion sense. He loved drawing fashion and altering clothes to make his own designs. Derwin’s dream was to work in the fashion industry. After earning a degree in fashion design, he worked as a milliner in Colonial Williamsburg, and as a sample cutter for a blouse manufacturer in New York. Unfortunately, he found that working in fashion in New York City wasn’t all he had hoped it would be. He started looking for other ways to use his skills and knowledge of fashion. When work was light, he would sneak into the Fashion Institute of Design, and look for job openings on their employment bulletin boards. It was there Derwin discovered, and was hired for, a costume job for a production of The Wizard of Oz. His professors had never told him he could use his skills in areas other than fashion design. He learned that the detail-oriented, fast paced, ever changing nature of building and tailoring costumes for theater was a perfect fit! Now Derwin works in various capacities in the costume shop of almost every theater in Philadelphia. He is a First Hand for Opera Philadelphia, sometimes assisting the tailor, but mostly “sewing anything and everything” and sitting “at a sewing machine all day.” He works primarily on men’s costumes, and finds great satisfaction in seeing his final product on stage. Derwin’s unique blend of experience and interests, from sewing, to high fashion, to costume history, prepared him well for his career. Derwin’s advice for anyone who would aspire to his career is to “Be true to your artistic self.”

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It takes a lot more people to put on an opera than just the singers on the stage. All of the people who have the jobs below work together to help the opera come to life. If you’re interested in a job in the arts, here are just some of the jobs that could help you have a career in the arts!

CAREERS IN THE ARTS

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Accompanist Actor/Actress Advertising Director Announcer Architect Architectural Model Builder Artist Artistic Director Art Festival Coordinator Art Teacher Arts Administrator Arts Consultant Arts Ed. Curriculum Writer Audio Engineer (recording) Band Director Book Designer Book Illuminator Box Office Director Business Manager Casting Director Choir Director Choreographer Cinematographer Clothing Designer Comedian Commercial Artist Composer Computer Graphics Design Concert Singer Conductor

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Contract Specialist Copyright Specialist Costume Buyer Costume Designer Creative Consultant Critic Cutter (costumes) Dancer Dialect Coach Dramaturg Draper (costumes) Dresser (theater) Fashion Designer First Hand (seamstress) Fundraiser (Development) Furniture Designer Graphic Designer House Manager (theater) Illustrator Instrumentalist Librettist Lighting Designer Makeup Artist Manager (arts organizations) Master Electrician (stage) Model Builder Mold Maker Music Contractor Music Copyist & Transcriber Music Editor Music Librarian

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Music Teacher Musician Musicologist Orchestrator Painter Photographer Producer (TV, movies, etc) Proofreader (music) Props Buyer Props Designer Public Relations Specialist Publicist Publisher Scene Painter Scenic Designer Sculptor Set Decorator Set Dresser Shop Foreman (stage) Singer Special Effects Coordinator Stage Carpenter Stage Director Stage Hand Stage Manager Stitcher (costumes) Stunt Coordinator Theater Director Ticketing Agent TV Camera Operator Videographer Vocalist Wardrobe Mistress Wigmaker

AC T I V E L E A R N I N G Which of the careers listed above are interesting to you? Where do you think you could go to learn more about it? _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

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SING OUT WITH OPERA PHILADELPHIA Do you love to sing? Write Poems? Perform for others? Then join us this spring for the launch of T-VOCE, an exciting new program by Art Sanctuary, the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and Opera Philadelphia. Over the past several years, Opera Philadelphia has partnered with Art Sanctuary, an arts organization dedicated to bringing Philadelphians together through the unique community-building power of black art by celebrating diversity and embracing cultural differences. This season the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts joins us to launch Teen Voices of the City Ensemble, or T-VOCE, an all-city youth choir for teens in grades 8-12.

South Philadelphia High School student Sakiema Wood performs an original poem, “Emergency Broadcast System,” at the Anneberg Center, accompanied on the piano by Tim Ribchester. Photo: Phillip Todd

Below: a prompt-inspired poem by a student from Mastery Charter School, Lenfest Campus.

When I Look in the Mirror

We call it T-VOCE (tee-VOH-chay) for the Italian word for voice, voce. It’s about your voice. We believe in the power and authenticity of your voice. We want to hear what you have to say through song. We will celebrate you. In T-VOCE you’ll write poetry, sing songs, learn about music and singing, and engage in the arts. On top of that, you’ll perform for each other, perform for the community, and watch your talents grow.

When I look in the mirror I see a complete stranger looking back at me Unfamiliar eyes staring into my mind And this horrible vision makes me want to resign Into the safe place in the back of my mind

Join us. Not just to sing, but to meet new friends, share

My imagination

T-VOCE rehearsals will be on Saturday mornings from Feb-

As it seems to be the place of fallen dreams And the dreams are the heroes That keep my looking into mirrors When people look at me, they see A black man who’s 6’3” And instantaneously have to believe I have a murderous intent I must achieve But there’s one thing I don’t understand How’s my being darker than you Make me any less of a man? ~ Jalen, Mastery Charter School, Lenfest Campus

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your passion for the arts with others, and meet young people who share your interests. We’re looking for the most enthusiastic and talented young men and women to share their talents with the city.

ruary through May at the Annenberg Center. Performances will be in May as part of Art Sanctuary’s Celebration of Black Writing and in June as part of the Annenberg Center’s 2016 International Children’s Festival. How much does it cost to join T-VOCE? Nothing. We want to make it easy for you to participate. We’ll help you with transportation to and from rehearsals with SEPTA tokens. Interested? Email outreach@operaphila.org to join our mailing list. We’ll send you updates and let you know how to get involved. We look forward to hearing your voice!


GLOSSARY OF TERMS A C T (AK T) N . One of the main divisions of a play or opera. A G I TAT E (AJ-I-TEY T) V. to disturb or excite emotionally. A L L E G R O (UH-LEG-ROH) A D V. Musical term for fast and lively. A N D A L U S I A (AN-DUH-LOO-SHEE-UH) N. a region in S Spain,

bordering on the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

A N D A N T E (AHN-DAHN-TEY) ADV. A musical term meaning in

moderate slow time.

A N TA G O N I S T (AN-TAG-O-NIST) N. An adversary or opponent of the main character or protagonist in an opera, play, or other drama. A R D E N T (AHR-DNT) ADJ. having, expressive of, or characterized

by intense feeling; passionate; fervent.

A R I A (AHR-EE-UH) N. An operatic song for one voice. AT TA I N A B L E (UH-TEY-NUH-BUHL) ADJ. capable of being achieved or accomplished. AV E N G E ( UH-VENJ) V. to take vengeance or exact satisfaction for:

to avenge a grave insult.

B A R (BAHR) N. a division of music, marked by two bar lines, containing a set number of beats. B A R I T O N E (BAR-I-TOHN) N. the range of the male voice be-

tween tenor and bass.

B A S S (BEYS) N. the lowest male singing voice.

E X T R AVA G A N T (IK-STRAV-UH-GUHNT) ADJ. exceeding the bounds of reason in actions, demands, needs, or passions. F E AT (FEET) N. a noteworthy or extraordinary act or achievement, usually displaying boldness, skill, etc. F E L L (FEL) ADJ. destructive; deadly. F I B (FIB) N. a small or trivial lie; a minor falsehood. F L AT (FL AT) ADJ. a half-step lower than the corresponding note or key of natural pitch. F O L LY (FAHL-EE) N. the state or quality of being foolish; lack of

understanding or sense.

F O R T E (FAWR-TEY) ADV. a musical term meaning loudly. F O R T I S S I M O (FOR-TEE-SEE-MOH) ADV. a musical term for

very loud.

H E B E (HEE-BEE) N. a goddess of youth and spring, the daughter of Zeus and Hera, and wife of Hercules. I M P E T U O U S LY (IM-PECH-OO-UHS LY) ADJ. of, relating to, or characterized by sudden or rashaction, emotion, etc.; impulsive: I N D I G N A N T (IN-DIG-NUHNT) ADJ. feeling of strong displeasure at something considered unjust, offensive, or insulting. I N FA M Y (IN-FUH-MEE) N. an extremely bad reputation due to a

shameful act or circumstance.

I N FAT U AT I O N (IN-FATCH-OO-EY-SHUHN) N. foolish or all-

B E AT (BEET) N. the basic pulse of a piece of music.

absorbing passion or an instance of this.

C H A L I C E (CHAL-IS) N. a drinking cup or goblet.

I N Q U I R E (IN-KWAHYUH R ) V. to seek information by questioning; ask.

C H O R D (KAWRD) N. a group of notes played at the same time in

harmony.

C H O R U S (KAWR-UH S) N. 1. a group of singers. 2. a piece of

music for these.

I N T O X I C AT E (IN-TOK-SI-KEY T) V. to make enthusiastic; elate strongly, as by intoxicants (as in drunkenness).

C H R O N O L O G I C A L (KRON-LOJ-I-KUHL) ADJ. a method of ar-

K E Y (KEE) N. the basic note of the main scale used in a piece of music. In the key of G, for example, G is the fundamental note; the music often returns to it and comes to rest on it.

C O N T E M P T U O U S ( KUHN-TEMP-CHOO-UHS) ADJ. showing

K I N D L E (KIN-DL) V. to excite; stir up or set going; animate; rouse; inflame.

rangement that puts events in order of occurrence.

or expressing a feeling of disdain or worthlessness; scornful.

C O N T R A LT O (KUH N-TRAL-TOH) N. the lowest female singing

voice.

C O N VA L E S C E N C E (KON-VUH-LES-UHNS) N. the gradual

recovery of health and strength after illness.

C O R S A G E (KAWR-SAHZH) N. a small bouquet worn at the waist, on the shoulder, on the wrist, etc., by a woman. D E L I R I U M (DIH-LEER-EE-UHM) N. a state of violent excitement or

emotion.

D E U C E (DOOS) N . devil; dickens (used as a mild oath). D I S D A I N (DIS-DEYN) N. a feeling of contempt for anything

regarded as unworthy; scorn.

K N AV E (NEYV) N. Cards. jack. L A R G O (LAHR-GOH) ADV. & ADJ. a musical term meaning in

slow time and dignified style.

L I B R E T T O (LI-BRET-OH) N. the words of an opera or other long

musical.

L O U I S D ’ O R (LOO-EE DAWR) N. a former gold coin of France,

issued from 1640 to 1795; pistole.

M A J O R (MEY-JER) ADJ. music in a major key uses a major scale, in which the first three notes are the key note followed by intervals of a tone and then another tone (for example, A, B, C). It often has a cheerful, strong sound. M ATA D O R (MAT-UH-DAWR) N. the principal bullfighter in a bullfight; a torero.

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M I R T H (MURTH) N. gaiety or jollity, esp. when accompanied by

R E M O R S E (RI-MAWRS) N. deep and painfui regret for wrong-

laughter.

doing.

M U S E (MYOOZ) N. the goddess or the power regarded as inspiring a poet, artist, thinker, or the link.

discredit to.

R E P R O A C H E S (RI-PROHCHS) V. to be a cause of blame or

O B L I V I O N (UH-BLIV-EE-UHN) N. the state of forgetting or

R E V E L (REV-UHL) N. to take great pleasure or delight (usually followed by in): to revel in luxury.

M I N O R (MAHY-NER) ADJ. Music in a minor key uses a minor scale, in which the first three notes are the key note followed by intervals of a tone and then a semitone ( for example A, B, C). It often has a sad, melancholic sound.

S C A L E (SKEYL) N. a series of notes arranged in descending or ascending order of pitch.

having been forgotten.

N AT U R A L (NACH-ER-UHL) ADJ. a note that is neither flattened

nor sharpened.

O C TAV E (OK-TIV) N. a note that sounds twice as high in pitch as another is an octave above the other note, and has the same letter naming it. O P E R A (OP-ER-UH) N. a play in which the words are sung to

S E M I T O N E (SEM-EE-TOHN) N. a half step or half tone, an

interval midway between two whole tones.

S H A R P (#) (SHAHRP) N. any note a semitone higher than another note. Also, slightly too high in pitch. S O L A C E (SOHL-IS) N. comfort in sorrow, misfortune, or trouble; alleviation of distress or discomfort. S O P R A N O (SUH-PRAN-OH) N. the highest female or boy’s

musical accompaniment.

singing voice.

O P U S (OH-PUHS) N. a musical compostion numbered as one of a composer’s works (usually in order of publication).

S TA G E (STEYJ) N. a platform on which an opera, play, etc. are performed for an audience.

O R C H E S T R A (AWR-KUH-STRUH) N. a large body of people playing various musical instruments, including stringed and wind instruments.

the stage.

O V E R T U R E (OH-VER-CHER) N. an orchestral composition

organisms.

P I A N I S S I M O (PEE-UH-NEES-EE-MOH) ADV. a musical term

S U B L I M E (SUH-BLAHYM) ADJ. impressing the mind with a sense of grandeur or power; inspiring awe.

forming a prelude to an opera or ballet. meaning very softly.

P I A N O (PEE-AN-OH) ADV. a musical term meaning softly. P I C A D O R (PIK-UH-DAWR) N. one of the mounted assistants to

a matador.

P I O U S (PAHY-UHS) ADJ. characterized by a hypocritical con-

S TA G I N G (STEY-JING) N. the presentation or production on S T E R I L E (STER-IL) ADJ. 1. barren. 2. free from germs or micro-

S WA I N (SWEYN) N. a male admirer or lover. S Y M P H O N Y (SIM-FUH-NEE) N. a long elaborate musical composition (usually in several parts) for a full orchestra. S Y N O P S I S (SI-NOP-SIS) N. a summary, a brief general survey.

cern with virtue or religious devotion.

T E N O R (TEN-ER) N. the highest male singing voice.

P L O T (PLOT) N. sequence of events in an opera, story, novel, etc.

T O N E (TOHN) N. 1. an interval equal to two semitones. 2. the

P R E S T O (PRES-TOH) ADV. a musical term meaning very fast. P R O S C E N I U M (PROH-SEE-NEE-UHM) N. the arch or frame

that separates a stage from the auditorium.

Q U A D R U P E D (KWOD-ROO-PED) N. an animal, esp. a mam-

mal, having four feet.

R A P T U R O U S LY (RAP-CHER-UHS) ADJ. full of, feeling, or

manifesting ecstatic joy or delight.

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sound quality of an instrument or voice.

U N AT TA I N A B L E (UHN-UH-TEY-NUH-BUHL) ADJ. not

achievable or accomplishable.

V E R I S M O (VUH-RIZ-MOH) N. realism in opera. V I C O M T E (VEE-KAWNT) N. French viscount or nobleman. V O R T E X (VAWR-TEKS) N. a whirling water mass, esp one in

which a force of suction operates, as a whirlpool.

Z E S T (ZEST) N. keen relish; hearty enjoyment; gusto.


THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA SCHOOL REFORM COM MISSION William J. Green, member Feather Houston, member Farah Jimenez member Marjorie Neff, chair

Sylvia P. Simms, member

William R. Hite, Jr., Ed.D Superintendent of Schools

Sounds of Learning™ was established by a

generous grant from The Annenberg Foundation. Dedicated funding for the Sounds of Learning™ program has been provided by:

THE WILLIAM PENN FOUNDATION WILLIAM A. LOEB Wells Fargo

Hamilton Family Foundation Universal Health Services

Eugene Garfield Foundation

Ethel Sergeant Clark Smith Memorial Fund

The Hirsig Family Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation

Morgan Stanley Foundation OPERA PHILADELPHIA David B. Devan, General Director & President

Corrado Rovaris, John P. Mulroney Music Director Annie Burridge, Managing Director

Victory Foundation

Deluxe Corporation Foundation

The McLean Contributionship Louis N. Cassett Foundation

David Levy, Senior Vice President, Artistic Operations

Jeremiah Marks, Chief Financial Officer

Michael Bolton, Vice President of Community Programs

Written and produced by: Opera Philadelphia Community Programs Department ©2015 1420 Locust Street, Suite 210 Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A. 19102 Tel: 215.893.5927 Fax: 215.893.7801 www.operaphila.org/learn Michael Bolton Vice President of Community Programs bolton@operaphila.org Adrienne Bishop Community Programs Assistant bishop@operaphila.org Special thanks to: Dr. Dennis W. Creedon Creator, Sounds of Learning™ Frank Machos Director of Music Education, School District of Philadelphia The Office of Strategic Partnerships School District of Philadelphia Deborah Bambino Dr. Dan Darigan Joann Neufeld Adam Pangburn Vincent Renou Amy Spencer Curriculum Consultants Dr. Bettie Joyner Kleckley Dr. Nanci Ritter Program Evaluators Maureen Lynch Cornell Wood Academy of Music

Opera Philadelphia is supported by major grants from The William Penn Foundation, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, and The Lenfest Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Independence Foundation and the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation. Opera Philadelphia receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Karma Communications Design Concept and Cover Design Kalnin Graphics Printing Opera Philadelphia production photos by Kelly & Massa Photography Production photos of La traviata National Opera House of Bucharest

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