Monday, July 7, 2014

Verdi's La Traviata at Masada

Israeli Opera, accompanied by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Daniel Oren, here perform some scenes from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata at the foot of Mt. Masada in the Judean Desert for the Masada Opera Festival in Israel in June 2014. The director is Michel Znaniecki, and the chorus master is Eithan Schmeisser. For more information, see here.

Verdi's La Traviata, an opera in three acts set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, is based on La dame aux Camélias (1852), a stage play that was adapted from the same-titled 1848 novel by Alexandre Dumas the Younger, son of the famous novelist. The title La Traviata means The Fallen Woman, and it follows the tragic arc of a love affair between a courtesan (Violetta) and a nobleman (Alfredo). 

One of the world's most-known arias is from this opera, Brindisi, a song in which company is exhorted to drink, thus this is in essence an Italian drinking song.The words to the aria speak for themselves: Alfredo professes his love for Violetta; she initially dismisses the advance as an impossible liaison. They do eventually get together, but complications related to class and societal expectations are too strong, tearing them apart, since it really could not be. It all starts, however, with an honest and heartfelt declaration.

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