• La Traviata Synopsis

The Story

Audio tracks are embedded within each activity. A pronunciation guide and "Who's Who" chart can be found here.

ACT I: At the home of Violetta Valéry in Paris. Violetta Valéry, a woman with a certain reputation, is giving a party following her recent recovery from a protracted illness. Her salon fills with guests and a few of them wonder whether she is up to drinking the champagne she offers around. When Violetta is introduced to the young Alfredo Germont, she is surprised to learn that he visited her house daily during her convalescence—a kindness that even her patron, Baron Douphol, failed to show. Prompted by Violetta, Alfredo leads the assembled crowd in a drinking song.

Violetta invites her guests into the ballroom but finds herself too weak to follow. Alfredo stays behind too and inquires after her health. He surprises her even more by unexpectedly declaring his love. Violetta tries to laugh his confession off, but Alfredo, undeterred, replies that if she will not talk of love, he must leave. Intrigued, Violetta hands him a camellia from her corsage. When it withers, she tells him, he is to return it to her. Alfredo departs, happy, as the rest of Violetta’s guests pour back into the salon, then leave.

Alone again, Violetta considers the possibility of finding the kind of true love that Alfredo was talking about. He is still heard singing about it just outside her window. But she concludes that it is madness: She must forget him and continue to live, day to day, for pleasure alone.

ACT II: Scene 1: A country house outside Paris, three months later. Alfredo and Violetta have been living together in the country for three months. Alfredo learns from Annina, Violetta’s maid, that Annina has been selling her mistress’s property in Paris to cover the household expenses. Upset and ashamed that his beloved has been secretly supporting him, he rushes off to the city to settle matters and to cover the expenses himself.

Violetta, meanwhile, receives an unexpected visit from Giorgio Germont, Alfredo’s father. Disapproving of her lifestyle and her relationship with his son, Germont demands that Violetta leave Alfredo in order to protect their family name and enable his daughter, Alfredo’s sister, to marry well. Violetta is shocked, but, outof love for Alfredo, eventually agrees to the sacrifice.

Just as Violetta is writing a goodbye note to Alfredo, he returns. She effusively affirms her love for him, then rushes out. A messenger appears with the note. The moment Alfredo opens it, his father arrives to berate him for his life with Violetta. But Alfredo realizes that she is gone. Crushed, he returns to Paris to find her.

Scene 2: A party at Flora’s home in Paris. Violetta’s friend Flora is hosting a masked ball. News arrives that Violetta will attend, accompanied not by Alfredo, but by Baron Douphol, her former patron. Performances by guests dressed as gypsy women and bullfighters from Spain open the festivities. The guests head for the gaming tables.

Alfredo arrives, alone, and joins the gamblers. Flora greets Violetta and the baron. Meanwhile Alfredo is winning big. He loudly accuses Violetta of betrayal, wins still more money from the Baron, then at last confronts Violetta face to face, daring her to admit she loves Douphol. When she concedes, he throws his winnings at her. His debt to this woman is paid, Alfredo declares. Other guests denounce him for his insulting behavior. Germont appears to further chastise his son—though he knows the cruel truth of Violetta’s departure. The Baron demands justice. Violetta weeps over her lost love. Germont leads the heartbroken, remorseful Alfred away. The party is over.

ACT III: Violetta’s apartment in Paris. Months later, Violetta is in bed, at death’s door. Her doctor appears and tells Annina that Violetta doesn’t have long to live. Violetta rereads an old letter from Alfredo’s father: Germont has told his son the truth about Violetta’s disappearance, and Alfredo is on his way to see her and ask her forgiveness. Violetta is certain it is too late—she will die before he arrives. The sounds of carnival are heard outside. Annina announces Alfredo. He and Violetta reaffirm their love for one another, dreaming of the future. Germont arrives and declares that Violetta is like a daughter to him. Violetta gives Alfredo her portrait and asks him to pass it along to his future wife, whoever she may be. Having made her peace with the world, she suddenly feels her strength returning, then falls dead.