La Traviata Libretto

A1 - Preludio

Act 1
A2 - Coro - Dell’invito trascorsa
A3 - Alfredo – Libiamo, ne’ lieti calici
A4 - Tutti – Che e cio?
A5 - Alfredo – Un di felice, eterea
A6 - Violetta – E strano! E stano!... Ah! Fors’e lui..
A7 - Violetta – Follie!... Sempre libera

Act 2
Scene I
A8 - Alfredo – Lunge a lei
A9 - Alfredo – De’ miei bollenti spiriti
A10 - Alfredo – O mio rimorso!
A11 - Germont – Pura siccome un angelo
A12 - Violetta – Dite all giovine… Morro! La mia memoria
A13 - Violetta – Dammi tu forza, o cielo! … Amami, Alfredo
A14 - Germont – Di Provenza il mar, il suol…
A15 - Germont – No, non udrai rimproveri

 

Scene II
B1 - Flora, Zingarela – Avrem lieta di maschere la notte… Noi siamo zingarelle
B2 - Tutti, Alfredo – Alfredo! Voi!... Or tutti a me… Ogna suo aver
B3 - Germont – De sprezzo degno

Act 3
B4 - Violetta – Annina? – Comandate?
B5 - Violetta – “Teneste la promessa…” E tardi… Addio del passato…
B6 - Coro di maschere – Baccanale: Largo al quadrupede
B7 - Annina, Violetta – Signora – Che t’accade?...
B8 - Alfredo, Violetta – Parigi, o cara… Ah! Gran Dio! Morir si giovine
B9 - Germont, Violetta - Ah Violetta!... Se ua pudica vergine 


 In the year 1853 Verdi had seen Alexander Dumas’ “La dame aux carmélias”. It was interesting especially because of the society reasons. It was a story about the writer’s love to a famous Parisian courtesan Marie Duplessis. He was so encharmed with her that he forgot about his strict rules and squandered his money. His financial status forced him to leave her. But after her death (she died of tuberculosis in the age of 23), his feeling flared up again. He dedicated one of his best romances to her – at first as a novel and later as a theatrical performance.

 Verdi was very brave to choose this romance for his new libretto. In sinful Paris the story had a taste of scandal, in religious Italy it was a scandal. The first performance was a failure. The audience couldn’t accept that the main character is an immoral courtesan and what’s more she is a likable person, the only positive in the play. It didn’t like that the opera took place in the present (they wanted orientalism and history) and that the heroine dies in a banal way – from tuberculosis, in her own bed. Those people didn’t see that it was a monument for one of the most important parts of life in Italy – the family. The courtesan Violetta lives together with Alfredo because she wants to have a family after the years of loneliness. She agrees to leave him only after she has been convinced by his father that it is for his own good. She sacrifices her love to rescue the family of her beloved. She knows that the family is the most important; she is understood better by Alfredo’s father than the boy himself. Their duet in which Violetta asks for holding her tight just as a father holds his daughter is the central part of the opera.

After the failure Verdi changed his work a little bit. He placed it at the beginning of XIXth century and he changed the title: from the irritating "La Traviata" ("The Fallen Woman") to a neutral "Violetta". This time, in Venece, it was a success (and only a year later!).

 Today this opera is a quintessence of opera’s style. For example, the synopsis: a story of young people, who cannot be together because of the social conventions and the family of a boy. However it is encharming because of Verdi’s music: subtle, sometimes passionate. There are many popular parts in this opera, especially including a duet "Libiamo"!

 Synopsis. Paris, the second half of XIXth century. A beautiful courtesan Violetta abandons her happy but empty life and binds with s young nobleman Alfred Germont. His father demands that Violetta leaves, because this relationship disgraces the Germont family. Violetta agrees for Alfredo’s sake, however he doesn’t know the reason and offends her in public. Abandoned by everybody, poor and ill, Violetta is dying all alone. In her last moments the Germonts arrive – Alfred found out about everything and begs her to forgive him. Violetta dies.


 Plot Summary

 Act I
Violetta, a consumptive courtesan, falls in love with Alfredo.

Act II
Scene 1: Alfredo's father convinces Violetta that she must leave him for the honor of the family. Scene 2: Alfredo publicly insults Violetta at a party. The guests are shocked.

Act III
Violetta dies.


Dramatis Personæ

Violetta Valéry, a demi-mondaine (Prima donna soprano)
Flora Bervoix, her friend and fellow hostess (Mezzo-soprano comprimario)
Annina, Violetta's maid (Seconda donna)
Alfredo Germont, (Primo tenore)
Giorgio Germont, his father (Primo baritono)
Gastone, Vicomte de Letorières, friend of Alfred (Tenore comprimario)
Barone Douphol, Violetta's protector (Baritono comprimario)
Marchese d'Obigny, friend of Flora (Secondo basso)
Dottore Grenvil (Basso profundo)
Giuseppe, Violetta's servant (Secondo tenore)
Un domestico di Flora (Corifeo basso)
Un commissario (Corifeo basso)

Amici ed amice di Violetta e Flora; piccadori, zingare, servi di Violetta e Flora; maschere [Friends of Violetta and Flora; picadors and gypsies; servants of Violetta and Flora; maskers]


Setting: Paris and environs, around 1700

La Traviata

Giuseppe Verdi
opera in 3 acts, 4 scenes
libretto: Francesco Maria Piave
after Alexander Dumas Jr.

A1-Preludio

Prelude
A room in Violetta’s house. Violetta is seated on a sofa talking to the Doctor and some 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.

ACT 1

A2 - Coro - Dell’invito trascorsa
CHORUS
It’s long past the time you were invited,
You’re late.
We’ve been playing cards at Flora’s,
Time flies when one is playing.

VIOLETTA
(going to meet them)
Flora, my dear friends, the evening
Will be gayer now you’re here,
Let’s raise our glasses and enjoy ourselves.

FLORA AND THE MARQUIS
Can you be so gay?

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

ALL
Yes, pleasure adds zest to life.
(Gaston, Vicomte de Letorieres, entering with
Alfredo. The servants prepare the table.)

GASTON
Alfredo Germont, dear lady,
Is a great admirer of yours
And one of my many valued friends.

VIOLETA
(giving her hand to Alfredo, who kisses it)
Thank you, Viconte, for sharing such a gift.

MARQUIS
My dear Alfredo!

ALFREDO
How are you, Marquis?

GASTON
(to Alfredo)
Didn’t I tell you that friendship
In this house joins hands with pleasure?
(The servants, meanwhile, have laid the supper table.)

VIOLETTA
(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…

ALL
You say well, for wine is a friend
That puts secret sorrow in flight!
(they sit down with Violetta between Alfredo and Gaston.)
Let’s open our hearts to each other.

GASTON
(softly, to Violetta)
Alfredo thinks of nobody but you

VIOLETTA
You’re joking

GASTON
When you were ill
He came every day,
Enquiring anxiously about you.

VIOLETTA
Be quiet!
I’m nothing to him.

GASTON
I’m telling you the truth.

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

ALFREDO
(with a sigh)
Yes, it is true.


ALFREDO
(gallantly)
May you be
As immortal as she.

ALL
Let’s drink!

GASTON
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?

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?

VIOLETTA
Yes.

ALFREDO
(rising)
Yes? You put heart into me.

MARQUIS
Listen, now…

ALL
Yes, let’s hear the singer.

A3 - Alfredo – Libiamo, ne’ lieti calici

ALFREDO
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.

ALL
Ah! Let’s drink to love – to wine
That warms our kisses.

VIOLETTA
(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.

ALL
Let’s take our pleasure
Of wine and
Singing and mirth
Till the new day
Dawns on us as in Paradise

VIOLETTA
(to Alfredo)
Life is just pleasure)

ALFREDO
(to Violetta)
But if one still waits for love…

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

ALFREDO
(to Violetta)
But there lies my fate.

ALL
Let’s take our pleasure
Of wine and
Singing and mirth
Till the new day
Dawns on this paradise of ours.
(Music is heard from other room.)

A4 - Tutti – Che e cio?

ALL
What’s that?

VIOLETTA
Would you like to dance now?

ALL
Oh, what a pleasant thought!
We all accept.

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

ALL
What’s the matter?

VIOLETTA
Nothing, nothing.
(She takes a few steps)

ALL
Why do you linger?

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

ALL
Again!

ALFREDO
Are you ill?

ALL
Heavens! What’s the matter?

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

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

VIOLETTA
(Getting up to look at herself in the glass)
Oh, how pale I am!
(She turns to Alfredo)
You here!

ALFREDO
Do you feel upset?

VIOLETTA
I’m better now.

ALFREDO
The way you were going on
You’ll kill yourself.
You should take more care of your health.

VIOLETTA
How can I?

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

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

ALFREDO
(ardently)
For no one in the world loves you..

VIOLETTA
No one?

ALFREDO
… except me.

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

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

VIIOLETTA
A heart? Yes, perhaps.
Why do you ask?

ALFREDO
Yes if you had, You wouldn’t make fun of me.

VIOLETTA
Are you really serious?

ALFREDO
I wouldn’t deceive you.

VIOLETTA
Then how long have you loved me?

A5 - Alfredo – Un di felice, eterea

ALFREDO
For more than a year.
One happy day
You flashed lightly into my life;
And since then I lived
In tremulous possession
Of that unspoken love,
The pulse of the whole world,
Mysterious, unattainable,
The torment and delight of my heart.

VIOLETTA
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.

GASTON
(appearing at the centre doorway)
Well now! What he devil are you up to?

VIOLETTA
We are taking nonsense.

GASTON
Ha, ha! Splendid! Go on!

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

ALFREDO
I’ll do as you say, I’ll go.
(He turns away.)

VIOLETTA
So its come to that already!
(She takes a flower from her corsage.)
Take this flower.

ALFREDO
Why?

VIOLETTA
So that you can bring it back to me.

ALFREDO
(turning back)
When?

VIOLETTA
When it’s withered.

ALFREDO
You mean…. tomorrow?

VIOLETTA
Very well, tomorrow.

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

VIOLETTA
Do you still say you love me?

ALFREDO
(about to go)
How much, how much I love you!
I’m happy.. oh, so happy

VIOLETTA
You’re going?

ALFREDO
(coming back to kiss her hand)
I’ll go now.

VIOLETTA
Good-bye then.

ALFREDO
I ask for nothing more.
Good-bye.
(He goes out.)

(All others come in from the ballroom flushed with dancing.)

ALL
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 a-revelling;
Pleasure rolls on its way.
In slumber we’ll store up again
The zest for further joys.
(They got out, right.)

A6 - Violetta – E strano! E stano!... Ah! Fors’e lui..

VIOLETTA
(alone)
How strange it is... how strange!
Those words are carved upon my heart!
Would 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 be loved!
Can I disdain this
For a life of sterile pleasure?
Was this the man my heart,
Alone in a crowd,
Delighted many times to paint
In vague, mysterious colours?
This man so watchful yet retiring,
Who haunted my sick-bed
And turned my fever
Into a 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? Purge into the vortex
Of pleasure and drown there!
Enjoy myself!

A7 - Violetta – Follie!... Sempre libera

VIOLETTA
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 dies,
Gaily I turn to new delights
That make my spirit soar.

ALFREDO
(outside the window)
Love is the pulse…

VIOLETTA
Oh!

ALFREDO
… of the whole world…

VIOLETTA
Yes! Love!

ALFREDO
Mysterious, unattainable,
The torment and delight of my heart.

VIOLETTA
It’s madness!
Pleasure!
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 dies,
Gaily I turn to new delights
That make my spirit soar.


ACT 2
SCENE I

A country house near Paris. A ground floor room.

A8 - Alfredo – Lunge a lei

ALFREDO
(enters wearing hunting clothes;
putting down his gun)
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.

A9 - Alfredo – De’ miei bollenti spiriti

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 worlds
And I lived like one in heaven…
(Annina enters in great agitation, dressed for travelling.)
Annina, where have you been?

ANNINA
Paris

ALFREDO
Who sent you?

ANNIAN
My mistress

ALFREDO
Why?

ANNINA
To sell the horses and carriages
And all her other things.
ALFREDO
What do you mean?

ANNINA
It’s very costly living here on our own.

ALFREDO
But why didn’t you tell me?

ANNINA
She said I mustn’t.

ALFREDO
Mustn’t? How much do we need?

ANNINA
A thousand louis.

ALFREDO
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.)

A10 - Alfredo – O mio rimorso!

ALFREDO
Oh, my remorse! Oh, disgrace!
And I lived so mistaken!
Bu the truth, like a flash!
Has broken my base sleep!
For a little while be calm in my breast,
Oh, cry of honour;
In me you shall have a sure avenger;
I shall was away this infamy!
(Alfredo goes out. Violetta enters with some papers in her hand, talking to Annina. Behind them is Giuseppe.)

VIOLETTA
Where’s Alfredo?

ANNINA
He’s just gone to Paris.

VIOLETTA
When’s he coming back?

ANNINA
Before it gets dark…
He told me to tell you.

VIOLETTA
It’s strange!

GIUSEPPE
(presenting her with a letter)
This is for you.

VIOLETTA
(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.)

VIOLETTA
(alone, reading)
Aha! Flora’s discovered my hiding-place;
She invites me to a dance this evening!
(She throws the letter on the table and sits down.)
She’ll wait for me in vain.
(Giuseppe come sin and approaches Violetta)

GIUSEPPE
There’s a gentleman here.

VIOLETTA
It’ll be the man I am expecting.
(signing to Giuseppe to show him in)

GERMONT
Mademoiselle Velery?

VIOLETTA
Yes.

GERMONT
I’m Alfredo’s father.

VIOLETTA
(surprised, invites him to sit down)
You are?

GERMONT
(sitting down)
Yes, I’m the father of that headstrong boy,
Who’s rushing to his ruin
Because of his infatuation for you.

VIOLETTA
(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.)

GERMONT
(to himself)
What manners!
All the same…

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

GERMONT
He wants to make everything over for you.

VIOLETTA
He wouldn’t dare,
I should refuse.

GERMONT
(looking round him)
You live luxuriously…

VIOLETTA
(showing him a document)
That puzzles a lot of people
But you shall know the truth.

GERMONT
(looking at the document)
Heavens! What are you telling me?
You’re sacrificing
Everything you possess?
Is that how the past reproaches you?

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

GERMONT
Your feelings do you credit.

VIOLETTA
(getting up)
How kind your voice sounds now.

GERMONT
I have to ask a sacrifice
Of those noble feelings of yours.

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

GERMONT
Alfredo’s father
Pleads with you now for the future
Of his two children!

VIOLETTA
His two children?

A11 - Germont – Pura siccome un angelo

GERMONT
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 has to bind them in their happiness.
I pray you not to change the rose of their
Love to flowers of sadness.
Surely your heart will not deny
The prayer I utter now.

VIOLETTA
Ah yes, I understand.
If I felt
Alfredo for a time…
It would be a sacrifice, but then…

GERMONT
That’s not what I’m asking.

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

GERMONT
But not enough.

VIOLETTA
You want me to leave him
For ever?

GERMONT
It’s necessary.

VIOLETTA
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!

GERMONT
The sacrifice is heavy,
But hear me out with patience,
You’re young and beautiful
And in time…

VIOLETTA
Oh, say no more…
I understood you.
But it’s impossible for me…
I want nothing but to love him!

GERMONT
That may be,
But men are often less faithful.

VIOLETTA
Oh, heavens!

GERMONT
One day, when time
Has put your charms to flight,
Boredom will swiftly rise.
What will happen then? Think!
The gentle balm of affection
Will not hold for you,
Because the threads that bound you
Had not been blessed in heaven.

VIOLETTA
It’s true!

GERMONT
H, why not, then abandon
So tempting a dream?

VIOLETTA
It’s true!

GERMONT
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.

VIOLETTA
(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.
(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.

GERMONT
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!

VIOLETTA
Tell me what I must do.

GERMONT
Say you don’t love him.

VIOLETTA
He won’t believe me.

GERMONT
Then leave him.

VIOLETTA
Then would follow me.

GERMONT
Then..

A12 - Violetta – Dite all giovine… Morro! La mia memoria

VIOLETTA
As your daughter now embrace me,
So may you give me strength.
(embracing 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
What are you doing?

VIOLETTA
If I told you,
You would oppose me.

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

VIOLETTA
(turning to him)
I shall soon die!
And he’ll not curse
My memory
If you tell him
How much I suffered.

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

VIOLETTA
Let him know the sacrifice
I made of the love
That will be his
Till I draw my last breath.

GERMONT
Your sacrifice shall be rewarded,
And in the days to come
You will be proud
Of so great a love.
Yes!

VIOLETTA
Someone is coming, you must go now.

GERMONT
I thank you from my heart!

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

VIOLETTA AND GERMONT
May you be happy! Farewell!
(Germont goes to the door.)

VIOLETTA
(weeping)
Let him know the sacrifice
I made of he love…

GERMONT
(at the door)
Yes! Yes!

VIOLETTA
That will be his forever…
(Her tears stile the words)
Farewell!

GERMONT
Farewell!

VIOLETTA AND GERMONT
May you be happy! Farewell!
(Germont goes through the door into the garden.)

A13 - Violetta – Dammi tu forza, o cielo! … Amami, Alfredo

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

ANNINA
You want me?

VIOLETTA
Yes,
Deliver this note to yourself…

ANNINA
(surprised at the name on he note)
Oh!

VIOLETTA
Hush! Go a 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.)

ALFREDO
What are you doing?

VIOLETTA
(folding the letter)
Nothing.

ALFREDO
You were writing?

VIOLETTA
(confused)
Yes… no…

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

VIOLETTA
To you.

ALFREDO
Give me the letter.

VIOLETTA
No, later.

ALFREDO
I’m sorry,
There’s something worrying me.

VIOLETTA
(getting up)
What is it?

ALFREDO
My father’s arrived…

VIOLETTA
Have you seen him?

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

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

ALFREDO
So very much, but why are you crying?

VIOLETTA
I felt like crying
But I am better now.
(controlling herself)
You see… I’m smiling… you see?
I’m all right now…
I’m smiling,
I shall be there among the flowers,
Always near to you.
Love me Alfredo,
Love me as I love you!
Farewell!
(She runs out to the garden.)

ALFREDO
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.

GIUSEPPI
(entering hurriedly)
Madame has gone,
There was a carriage waiting,
It’s on its way to Paris now.
Annina went on ahead.

ALFREDO
I know, don’t agitate yourself.

GUISEPPE
(to himself)
What does that mean?
(He goes out.)

ALFREDO
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.)

MESSENGER
(at the door)
Monsieur Germont?

ALFREDO
Yes.

MESSENGER
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.)

ALFREDO
From Violetta! Why am I so disturbed?
Perhaps she suggest 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!
(He finds himself in his father’s arms.)
My father!

A14 - Germont – Di Provenza il mar, il suol…

GERMONT
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)
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?

ALFREDO
A thousand serpents devour my breast.
(Repulsing hi father)
Leave me.

GERMONT
Leave you?

ALFREDO
(resolutely)
Oh, revenge!

GERMONT
No more delay.
Let us go, hurry.

ALFREDO
Ah, it was Douphol!

GERMONT
Are you listening to me?

ALFREDO
No!

A15 - Germont – No, non udrai rimproveri

GERMONT
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.

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

GERMONT
What’s that you say? Stop?

SCENE II

A brilliantly lighted, richly furnished room in Flora’s house. A door at the back and one 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 the other guests come in left, talking to each together.)

B1 - Flora, Zingarela – Avrem lieta di maschere la notte… Noi siamo zingarelle

FLORA
There’ll be maskers
To liven up the evening;
The young vicomte at their head.
And I’ve invited Violetta and Alfredo…

MARQUIS
Hadn’t you heard that
Violetta and Germont have parted?

DOCTOR AND FLORA
Is it true?

MARQUIS
She’ll be coming with the baron.

DOCTOR
But I saw them only yesterday!
They seemed happy enough.
(There is the sound of new arrivals, off right.)

FLORA
Hush! Do you hear?

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

GYPSY GIRLS
We are gypsies,
Come from a distant land;
We can red 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.

FIRST GYPSY
Let’s see;
(looking at Flora’s hand)
You, Madame,
Have several rivals.

SECOND GYPSY
(looking at the Marquis’s hand)
You, Marquis
Are no model of faithfulness.

FLORA
(to the Marquis)
Are you at your games again?
Believe me, I shall make you pay!

MARQUIS
(to Flora)
What the deuce do you mean?
It’s an utter falsehood!

FLORA
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.

ALL
Come along, Let’s draw a veil
Over what has past and gone;
What is done, can’t be undone.
Let us welcome what’s to come.
(Flora and the Marquis press each other’s hands.)
(Gaston comes in right, with a lively hand of guests in masks,
dressed as Spanish bullfighters and picadors.)

GASTON AND BULLFIGHTERS
We’re matadors from Madrid,
The heroes from the bull-ring,
We’ve come to enjoy the fun
That Paris makes over the fatted ox;
There’s tale we can tell, if you’ll listen,
And would like to know how we can love!

FLORA, THE DOCTOR, THE MARQUIS, CHORUS LADIES
Yes, yes, you splendid fellows, tell us!
We are eager to hear you!

GASTON AND THE BULLFIGHTERS
Then listen.
There’s a matador of Biscay,
The bold handsome Piquillo;
Strong 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, CHORUS 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
Midst the cheering he went back
To the girl of his heart,
And eagerly embraced his prize
In the strong arms of love.

FLORA, THE DOCTOR, THE MARQUIS, CHORUS LADIES
With feats like this, bullfighters
Know how to win the fair.

GASTON AND THE BULLFIGHTERS
But here our hearts are gentler,
We make do with fun and games!

ALL
Yes, lively friends, first let us try
The temper of fickle fortune;
Let us open the lists
To the bold gamester.
(The men take off their masks. Some move around
and some get ready for gaming. Alfredo enters.)

B2 - Tutti, Alfredo – Alfredo! Voi!... Or tutti a me… Ogna suo aver

ALL
Alfredo! You!

ALFREDO
Yes, my friends.

FLORA
Where’s Violetta?

ALFREDO
I don’t know.

ALL
How unimpassioned! Bravo!
Now, let’s have a game!

FLORA
(Violetta enters in the arm of the Baron.)
Here’s the one we’ve been waiting for.

VIOLETTA
I couldn’t refuse such a lovely invitation.

FLORA
I’m grateful to you too, Baron,
For consenting to come.

BARON
(softly to Violetta)
Germont is here!
Do you see?

VIOLETTA
(to herself)
Heavens! So he is!
(softly to the Baron)
Not a word!

BARON
(somberly)
Not a word
From you to Alfredo,
Not a word!

VIOLETTA
(to herself)Ah, why did I come?
It was rash of me!
Heaven,
Have mercy on me!
(Flora makes Violetta sit beside her on the 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.)

FLORA
Sit down with me
And tell me about the new turn of events.
(Flora and Violetta talk together.)

ALFREDO
Four!

GASTON
You’ve won again.

ALFREDO
Unlucky in love,
Lucky in cards…
(He takes again and wins.)

ALL
He’s winning all the time!

ALFREDO
Oh, I shall win tonight
And return happily
To the country
To spend my winnings.

FLORA
Alone?

ALFREDO
Oh no, with her who has with me there,
Until she ran away form me.

VIOLETTA
(to herself)
Dear God!

GASTON
(to Alfredo, pointing to Violetta)
Spare her feelings.

BARON
(to Alfredo angrily)
Monsieur!

VIOLETTA
(softly to the Baron)
Remain calm or I leave you.

ALFREDO
Did you speak to me Baron?

BARON
(ironically)
You’re so favoured by fortune
That I am tempted to try my luck…

ALFREDO
(with equal irony)
Really? I’ll take you on.

VIOLETTA
(to herself)
Ah! I fell like death!
Great heaven,
Have pity on me!

BARON
(staking his money)
A hundred louis on the right…

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

GASTON
(cutting)
An ace… a knave…
(to Alfredo)
You win!

BARON
Will you double?

ALFREDO
Double it is!

GASTON
(cutting)
A four… a seven…

ALL
Again!

ALFREDO
Then I’m the winner.

ALL
Bravo! Alfredo has all the luck.

FLORA
The Baron’s going to pay for hat stay in
the country… I can see that!

ALFREDO
(to the Baron)
Shall we go on?
(A servant enters.)

SERVANT
Supper is served.

FLORA
Let’s go!

ALL
Let’s go.

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

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

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

ALFREDO
At any game you like.

BARON
Let’s follow our friends… later…

ALFREDO
I’ll be at your service.
(moving upstage)
Let’s go.

BARON
(as they go out)
Let’s go.
(Everybody goes out, the stage is empty
for a few moments.)

VIOLETTA
(returns in a state of great agitation, followed by Alfredo)
I’ve asked him to follow me.
Will he come? Will heed me?
I think he’ll come, for his terrible hatred
Moves him more than my words…

ALFREDO
You called me?

VIOLETTA
You must go,
You are in danger!

ALFREDO
Ah, I see, but that’s enough,
So you think I am a coward?

VIOLETTA
No, never!

ALFREDO
What are you afraid of?

VIOLETTA
The Baron frightens me.

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

VIOLETTA
But if he should be the killer?
That’s the only thought
That puts the fear of death into me.

ALFREDO
My death? What do you care about that?

VIOLETTA
Please go, do at once!

ALFREDO
I’ll go if you will swear
That wherever I go,
You will follow me…

VIOLETTA
No, never!

ALFREDO
No, never!

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

ALFREDO
Who to? Tell me, who could make you?

VIOLETTA
One who had every right.

ALFREDO
Was it Douphol?

VIOLETTA
(with great force)
Yes!

ALFREDO
Then you love him?

VIOLETTA
Yes… I love him…

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

(The rest of the company rush in.)

ALL
You called us? What do you want?

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

ALL
You mean Violetta?

ALFREDO
But you don’t know what she’s done.

VIOLETTA
Oh, don’t!

ALL
No.

ALFREDO
For 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 have paid her back!
(Contemptuously, he throws his winnings at
Violetta’s feet. She swoons in Fiona’s arms. Alfredo’s father arrives suddenly.)

ALL
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!

B3 - Germont – De sprezzo degno

GERMONT
(dignified in his anger)
A man who offends a woman, even in his anger,
Merits nothing but scorn.
Where is my son/
I see him no more
In you, Alfredo,
No more in you.

ALFREDO
(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 deep remorse!

FLORA, ASTON, THE DOCTOR, THE MARQUIS THE CHORUS
(to Violetta)
Yes, you have suffered,
But take heart!
Each one of us have shared your pain;
Friends are about you to dry the tears
You have shed.

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

BARON
(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!

ALFREDO
Alas, what have I done?
What have I done?
How can I ever
Gain her pardon?

VIOLETTA
(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 from all remorse!
Even after death, I shall still love you.
(Germont leads is 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 3

Violetta’s bedroom. Violetta is asleep on the bed; Annina, seated near the fireplace, is dozing.

B4 - Violetta – Annina? – Comandate?

VIOLETTA
(Sitting up)
Annina!

ANNINA
(waking in confusion)
Did you call me?

VIOLETTA
Were you asleep? Poor Annina!

ANNINA
Forgive me!

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

ANNINA
It’s seven o’clock.

VIOLETTA
Let’s have a little light.

ANNINA
(drawing the curtains and looking out)
Dr. Grenvil…

VIOLETTA
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!

DOCTOR
(feeling her pulse)
How do you feel?

VIOLETTA
Weak in body,
But tranquil in soul.
A good priest came yesterday
To comfort me.
Religion’s a great solace when one’s ill.

DOCTOR
And last night?

VIOLETTA
I slept soundly.

DOCTOR
Then we must take heart,
Convalescence is not far away.

VIOLETTA
Doctors are allowed
A pious fib.

DOCTOR
(taking her hand)
Good-bye, I’ll see you later.

VIOLETTA
Don’t forget me.

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

DOCTOR
The illness only gives her
a few hours.
(He goes out.)

ANNINA
(to Viola)
Take courage, now!

VIOLETTA
Is it a holiday?

ANNINA
It’s the carnival, Paris is running wild.

VIOLETTA
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-drawers0

ANNINA
(opening it and counting)
Twenty louis.

VIOLETTA
Take ten
And give them to the poor.

ANNINA
You won’t have much left.

VIOLETTA
As much as I will need…
Go and see if there are any letters for me.

ANINA
What about you?

VIOLETTA
Nothing will happen to me…
But please hurry.

B5 - Violetta – “Teneste la promessa…” E tardi… Addio del passato…


(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.
Te 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.
Georges 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

B6 - Coro di maschere – Baccanale: Largo al quadrupede

MASKED CHORUS
(offstage)
Make way for the quadrupled,
Lord of the feast,
His head is wreathed about
With flowers and vineleaves.
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 triumphe.
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.)

B7 - Annina, Violetta – Signora – Che t’accade?...

ANNINA
(hesitating)
Madame…

VIOLETTA
What’s happened?

ANNINA
You do feel better today,
Don’t you?

VIOLETTA
Yes, but why?

ANNINA
Will you promise to keep calm?

VIOLETTA
What are you trying to tell me?

ANINA
I must warn you a joy you don’t expect.

VIOLETTA
Did you say joy?

ANNINA
(nodding her head)
Yes, Madame.

VIOLETTA
Alfredo! You’ve seen him!
He’s coming! Oh, hurry!
(Annina nods 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!

ALFREDO
Oh, my Violetta!
Oh, what joy!
How much to blame I am,
But now, dearest, I know everything!

VIOLETTA
I only know I have you back!

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

VIOLETTA
That you find me still alive
Means that sorrow cannot kill.

ALFREDO
Forget the pain, beloved,
Forgive me and my father.

VIOLETTA
That I should pardon you
When I am the one to blame?
But it was love that made me so.

ALFREDO AND VIOLETTA
Not man or devil, my angel,
Shall ever part you from me again.

B8 - Alfredo, Violetta – Parigi, o cara… Ah! Gran Dio! Morir si giovine

ALFREDO
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.

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

ALFREDO
Yes.

VIOLETTA
In reward for past sorrows,
I shall bloom into health again.
Breath of live, sunshine you’ll be to me,
All the years to come will smile on us.
Ah, no more!
Let’s go to church, Alfredo,
And give thanks for your return.
(She falters)

ALFREDO
You’ve gone pale!

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

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

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

ALFREDO
(sadly)
How cruel fate is!

VIOLETTA
It was nothing!
Annina, help me to dress.

ALFREDO
Not now! Wait a little…

VIOLETTA
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 in the chair.)

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

VIOLETTA
(to Annina)
Tell him Alfredo is back,
Back in my arms,
Tell him I want to love 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 in believing
Was constant all in vain.

ALFREDO
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.

VIOLETTA
Oh, Alfredo, how sad an ending
To our love and m life!

ALFREDO
Oh, Violetta, your sadness
Is worse to me than death!

B9 - Germont, Violetta - Ah Violetta!... Se ua pudica vergine

GERMONT
(enters with Annina and the Doctor)
Ah, Violetta!

VIOLETTA
You, Monsieur?

ALFREDO
Father!

VIOLETTA
You didn’t forget me?

GERMONT
I come as promised,
To embrace you as a daughter,
Most generous girl!

VIOLETTA
Alas, you come too late!
(They embrace)
Bit I am grateful, all the same.
You see, Dr. Grenvil, I die in the arms
Of those I hold dearest in all the world.

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

ALFREDO
You see how it is with her, father?

GERMONT
Say no more, don’t torture me,
Remorse seizes my soul,
Her every word strikes me like lightening!
(Violetta opens a drawer and takes out a medallion.)
Rash old fool that I was,
Only now do I see
What I have done!

VIOLETTA
Come closer,
Alfredo, my beloved,
(sadly)
Take this picture of me
In happier days gone by
As a remembrance of her
Who loved you truly.

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

GERMONT
Dear, sublime victim
Of a desperate love,
Forgive me for the
Torment inflicted on your fair heart.


VIOLETTA
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.

ANNINA, GERMONT, THE DOCTOR
As long as I have tears to shed,
I shall weep for you.
Fly to the regions of the blest,
For God calls you to Him!

ALFREDO
Death cannot
Divide you
From me so soon!
Live, or a single coffin
Shall enclose me with you!

VIOLETTA
(reviving)
How strange!

ANNINA, ALFREDO, GERMONT, THE DOCTOR
What?

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

ANNINA, GERMONT, THE DOCTOR
Oh, heavens! She is dying!

ALFREDO
Violetta?

ANNINA, GERMONT
Oh, God, she needs help!

THE DOCTOR
(after feeling her pulse)
She is dead!

ANNINA, ALFREDO, GERMONT
Oh, my grief!