Verdi, Giuseppi: La Traviata (Study Guide)

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Study Guide for Giuseppi Verdi (1813 1901): La Traviata Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave Directed by Franco Zeffirelli, 1982 Violetta Valéry (a courtesan, dying of tuberculosis): Teresa Stratas Alfredo Germont (young poet in love with Violetta): Placido Domingo Giorgio Germont (Alfredos father): Cornell MacNeill When Alexandre Dumas fils (junior) fell in love with a notorious if charming courtesan named Marie Duplessis, his father was not amused. As the author of such hugely best-selling novels as The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, he was both highly respectable and very wealthy. He feared that his naive son would ruin his reputation and his fortune by becoming involved with such a woman, and he forced the young man to break off the relationship. Not much later, she died of tuberculosis, then called consumption, the most commonly deadly disease in the 19th century. The younger Dumas avenged himself against his fathers interference by creating a novel, then a play, in which an idealized courtesan named Marguerite Gautier who loves camelias proves to be more loving and generous than the heros father. Both works became hugely popular under the title La Dame aux camélias (or in English, Camille). The story is a quintessential romantic attack on conventional bourgeois morality, arguing that a good heart is more important than propriety, that the social distinctions which split the beau monde (high society) from the demimonde (the world of illicit sex) are cruel ...

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