La Traviata (1983 film)

Last updated
La Traviata
LaTraviataPoster.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Franco Zeffirelli
Produced by Tarak Ben Ammar
Written byFranco Zeffirelli
Based on the libretto by Francesco Maria Piave
Based on La traviata
by Giuseppe Verdi and Francesco Maria Piave
Starring Plácido Domingo
Teresa Stratas
Music byGiuseppe Verdi
Edited by Peter Taylor
Distributed by Universal Classics
Release date
  • 18 February 1982 (1982-02-18)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryItaly
Language Italian

La Traviata is a 1983 Italian film written, designed, and directed by Franco Zeffirelli. It is based on the opera La traviata with music by Giuseppe Verdi and libretto by Francesco Maria Piave. Soprano Teresa Stratas, tenor Plácido Domingo, and baritone Cornell MacNeil starred in the movie, in addition to singing their roles. The film premiered in Italy in 1982 and went into general release there the following year. It opened in theatres in the U.S. on April 22, 1983. The movie's soundtrack with James Levine conducting the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus won a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording.

Franco Zeffirelli Italian director and producer of films and television

Gian Franco Corsi Zeffirelli,, best known as Franco Zeffirelli, is an Italian director and producer of operas, films and television. He is also a former senator (1994–2001) for the Italian centre-right Forza Italia party.

<i>La traviata</i> 1853 opera by Giuseppe Verdi

La traviata is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave. It is based on La Dame aux camélias (1852), a play adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas fils. The opera was originally titled Violetta, after the main character. It was first performed on 6 March 1853 at the La Fenice opera house in Venice.

Giuseppe Verdi 19th-century Italian opera composer

Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi was an Italian opera composer. He was born near Busseto to a provincial family of moderate means, and developed a musical education with the help of a local patron. Verdi came to dominate the Italian opera scene after the era of Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti, and Gioachino Rossini, whose works significantly influenced him. By his 30s, he had become one of the pre-eminent opera composers in history.

Contents

Plot

The film opens in the Paris home of courtesan Violetta Valéry, where sheets cover the furniture in dimly lit rooms. Creditors, appraisers, and movers are removing much of the artwork and ornate furnishings. One of them curiously wanders through the rooms, until he comes upon Violetta, bedridden and looking pallid and weak, and he stares at her with undisguised awe. She is startled to see him and follows him to see what he is doing. As she gazes down the long hallway, her delirious mind drifts back to a happier time, and via flashback we are transported to a lavish party she is hosting to celebrate her recovery from an illness. One of her guests, Count Gastone, has brought with him his friend, the young nobleman Alfredo Germont, who has long adored Violetta from afar. She becomes dizzy and retires to her bedroom to recover; he follows her and declares his love. At first Violetta rejects him, telling him love means nothing to her, but she is touched by his concern and offers him a camellia, telling him to return it when it has wilted. He promises to see her the next day.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.

A courtesan, in modern usage, is a euphemism meaning an escort, mistress or a prostitute, for whom the art of dignified etiquette is the means of attracting wealthy, powerful, or influential clients. The term originally meant a courtier, a person who attends the court of a monarch or other powerful person.

A flashback is an interjected scene that takes the narrative back in time from the current point in the story. Flashbacks are often used to recount events that happened before the story's primary sequence of events to fill in crucial backstory. In the opposite direction, a flashforward reveals events that will occur in the future. Both flashback and flashforward are used to cohere a story, develop a character, or add structure to the narrative. In literature, internal analepsis is a flashback to an earlier point in the narrative; external analepsis is a flashforward to a time before the narrative started.

Three months pass, and Violetta and Alfredo are living together in a peaceful country house outside Paris. She has fallen deeply in love with him and has abandoned her former life. When Alfredo learns from the maid Annina her mistress has ordered her to sell the horses, carriages, and everything owned by Violetta in order to finance their lavish lifestyle, Alfredo leaves for Paris immediately to handle matters himself.

During his absence, his father Giorgio arrives and requests that, for the sake of his family, Violetta end her relationship with his son. Violetta's unsavory reputation has threatened his daughter's engagement. After declaring her love for Alfredo, she reluctantly agrees to Giorgio's demand. He kisses her forehead in a gesture of gratitude for her sacrifice and leaves.

Violetta is in the midst of writing a letter of farewell to Alfredo when he enters. She tells him repeatedly of her unconditional love before rushing out and handing the letter to her servant to give to Alfredo. Giorgio returns and attempts to comfort his son, who suspects Barone Douphol is the real reason Violetta left. When he finds an invitation from Flora Bervoix on the desk, he decides to confront Violetta at the party.

Violetta arrives with Baron Douphol, who challenges Alfredo at the gambling table. Alfredo wins large sums of money, and when everyone goes into the dining room for supper, Violetta - fearful the Baron's anger at losing will lead him to challenge Alfredo to a duel - asks Alfredo to leave. He misunderstands her apprehension and demands she admit she loves Douphol. When she does, an infuriated Alfredo humiliates and denounces her in front of the other guests, then throws his winnings at her for the "services" she performed for him while they lived together. Giorgio, having arrived in search of his son, witnesses the scene and castigates Alfredo for his boorish behavior. Flora and the ladies try to escort Violetta from the room but, before departing, she turns to him and tells him he cannot fathom the love she has for him within her heart.

Back in Violetta's home, Dr. Grenvil advises Annina her mistress' tuberculosis has worsened and she doesn't have long to live. Giorgio sends Violetta a letter telling her he has informed Alfredo of the sacrifice she made for him and his sister, and that he is sending his son to see her. Alfredo arrives and suggests they leave Paris, but Violetta knows the end is near. Giorgio rushes in and begs her forgiveness. Violetta presents Alfredo with a locket with her picture and asks him to remember her, while at the same time urging him to marry if he falls in love again. "How strange," she murmurs, "the spasms have stopped." With a peaceful smile on her face, she lifts herself from the bed and reaches to the daylight. "I am returning to life!," she cries, then falls to the floor.

Tuberculosis Infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacteria. Tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. Most infections do not have symptoms, in which case it is known as latent tuberculosis. About 10% of latent infections progress to active disease which, if left untreated, kills about half of those affected. The classic symptoms of active TB are a chronic cough with blood-containing sputum, fever, night sweats, and weight loss. It was historically called "consumption" due to the weight loss. Infection of other organs can cause a wide range of symptoms.

Production notes

For the movie, the opera's score was performed by the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra under the leadership of James Levine. Secondary characters and extras were also sung by members of the Metropolitan. Among the voices of these secondary characters (portrayed by actors in the film) are Ariel Bybee, Geraldine Decker, Charles Anthony, Ferruccio Furlanetto, and Russell Christopher.

Metropolitan Opera opera company in Manhattan, New York City

The Metropolitan Opera is an opera company based in New York City, resident at the Metropolitan Opera House at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The company is operated by the non-profit Metropolitan Opera Association, with Peter Gelb as general manager. As of 2018, the company's current music director is Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

James Levine American conductor and pianist

James Lawrence Levine is an American conductor and pianist. He is primarily known for his tenure as Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera, a position he held for 40 years (1976–2016). He was formally terminated by the Met from all his positions and affiliations with the company on March 12, 2018 over sexual misconduct allegations that he denies.

Ariel Bybee singer

Ariel Bybee was a mezzo-soprano who has had a distinguished career as a soloist, voice teacher and university opera director. According to Opera News, she was "a prominent mezzo at the Metropolitan Opera for eighteen seasons." She sang over 460 performances at the Metropolitan Opera.

The film grossed $3,594,000 in the US. [1]

Principal cast

Teresa Stratas, OC, is a retired Canadian operatic soprano of Greek descent. She is especially well known for her award-winning recording of Alban Berg's Lulu.

Plácido Domingo Spanish tenor and conductor

José Plácido Domingo Embil is a Spanish opera singer, conductor, and arts administrator. He has recorded over a hundred complete operas and is well known for his versatility, regularly performing in Italian, French, German, Spanish, English and Russian in the most prestigious opera houses in the world. Although primarily a lirico-spinto tenor for most of his career, especially popular for his Cavaradossi, Hoffmann, Don José, and Canio, he quickly moved into more dramatic roles, becoming the most acclaimed Otello of his generation. In the early 2010s, he transitioned from the tenor repertory into almost exclusively baritone parts, most notably Simon Boccanegra. He has performed 149 different roles.

Cornell MacNeil was an American operatic baritone known for his exceptional voice and long career with the Metropolitan Opera, which spanned 642 performances in twenty-six roles. F. Paul Driscoll wrote in Opera News that he "was a great baritone in era of great baritones — Warren, Gobbi, Merrill, Milnes — and in the contemporary press, comparisons to his colleagues were frequent. But MacNeil's performances had singular musical richness, and moral and intellectual complexity that were his alone. MacNeil may have had rivals, but he had no equals."

Principal production credits

A film producer is a person who oversees film production. Either employed by a production company or working independently, producers plan and coordinate various aspects of film production, such as selecting the script; coordinating writing, directing, and editing; and arranging financing.

Tarak Ben Ammar is an international movie producer and distributor, He is famous for his interest in artistic movies, especially when they are related to Mediterranean culture or require North African locations. His producing credits include the Franco Zeffirelli film adaptation of La Traviata and Claude Chabrol's Death Rite. On 19 May 2010, he announced a "strategic relationship" with the Weinstein Company.

Cinematography art or science of motion picture photography

Cinematography is the science or art of motion-picture photography by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as film stock.

Critical reception

In his review in the New York Times , Vincent Canby called the film a "triumph" and "dazzling" and added, "[It] never has the manner of something scaled down or souped up for a mass audience, though I suspect it will be immensely popular anyway. Verdi's genius will out, especially when presented with the talent, intelligence and style that have gone into this production . . . Miss Stratas not only sings magnificently but she also looks the role . . . [she] is a screen presence as riveting to watch as to listen to. It's an acting performance of breathtaking intensity . . . La Traviata benefits from Mr. Zeffirelli's talents as a designer as much as from his gifts as a director. The physical production is lush without being fussy. Nor is it ever overwhelming. This possibly is because at key moments we are always aware of details that, however realistic, remind us that what we are witnessing is not life but a grand theatrical experience. It's not to be missed." [2]

Awards and nominations

Related Research Articles

Hooker with a heart of gold stock character; prostitute with heart and intrinsic morality

The hooker with a heart of gold is a stock character involving a courtesan or prostitute with a hidden integrity and kindness. The character, traditionally female, is usually an example of irony: an allegedly immoral woman who demonstrates virtues absent in woman morally correct for the role.

Lucia Aliberti is a Sicilian soprano opera singer. She performed the bel canto roles of Bellini, Rossini, Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini, Vivaldi, Mercadante, etc.

Neil Shicoff is an American opera singer and cantor and known for his lyric tenor singing and his dramatic, emotional acting.

Licia Albanese Italian-born American operatic soprano

Licia Albanese was an Italian-born American operatic soprano. Noted especially for her portrayals of the lyric heroines of Verdi and Puccini, Albanese was a leading artist with the Metropolitan Opera from 1940 to 1966. She also made many recordings and was chairwoman of The Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, which is dedicated to assisting young artists and singers.

Luis Lima is an Argentine operatic tenor, who studied in Buenos Aires under Carlos Guichandut and in Sicily under Gina Cigna. He made his opera debut in 1974, in Lisbon, in Cavalleria rusticana, and since then sang in seventy-seven performances at the Metropolitan Opera in nine different roles, starting with Alfredo Germont in La traviata. He has also sung with the New York City Opera, at the Teatro alla Scala and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

"Libiamo ne' lieti calici" is a famous duet with chorus from Verdi's La traviata, one of the best-known opera melodies and a popular performance choice for many great tenors. The song is a brindisi, a lively song that encourages the drinking of wine or other alcoholic beverages.

Giuseppe Valdengo Italian opera singer

Giuseppe Valdengo was an Italian operatic baritone. Opera News said that, "Although his timbre lacked the innate beauty of some of his baritone contemporaries, Valdengo's performances were invariably satisfying — bold and assured in attack but scrupulously musical."

Enzo Mascherini was an Italian operatic baritone, one of the leading baritones of his generation.

<i>Sparrow</i> (1993 film) 1993 film by Franco Zeffirelli

Sparrow is a 1993 Italian drama film directed by Franco Zeffirelli. It is an adaptation of Giovanni Verga's novel, Storia di una capinera and was filmed in Sicily in 1993. It stars Angela Bettis, and premiered at the Tokyo International Film Festival in October 1993.

Neil Rosenshein is an American operatic tenor, who sang leading tenor roles in the major American and European opera houses. He created the roles of Aspern in Dominick Argento's The Aspern Papers and Léon in Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles.

Richard Bonelli American opera singer

Richard Bonelli was an American operatic baritone active from 1915 to the late 1970s.

<i>Parlami damore</i> 2008 film by Silvio Muccino

Parlami d'amore is a 2008 Italo-Spanish film directed by Silvio Muccino. The film is based on Muccino's novel of the same name that he co-wrote with Carla Vangelista. The film was nominated for 8 David di Donatello awards. The film was released in Italy on 14 February 2008.

Gabriella Pescucci is an Italian costume designer. She has worked with directors Pier Paolo Pasolini, Federico Fellini, Sergio Leone, Terry Gilliam, Martin Scorsese, Tim Burton and Neil Jordan. In 1994, she won the Oscar for Best Costume Design for the 1993 film The Age of Innocence.

Norah Amsellem is a French opera singer who has appeared in leading soprano roles in both North America and Europe since her debut in 1995. Her discography of complete opera recordings includes Carmen for Decca, La traviata for Opus Arte, and La bohème for Telarc.

Josep Bros i Jiménez and primarily performing under the name José Bros, is a Catalan operatic tenor particularly known for his performances in the bel canto repertoire both on stage and in full-length opera recordings.

Loro is an Italian film directed by Paolo Sorrentino, starring Toni Servillo. The film talks about the group of businessmen and politicians – the Loro (Them) from the title – who live and act near to media tycoon and politician Silvio Berlusconi in the years between 2006 and 2009.

Vincent Boussard French opera and theatre director

Vincent Boussard is a French opera and theatre director. First a specialist for early opera, he became known for his versions of romantic operas, sometimes in international collaboration. His staging of Massenet's Manon was presented at the Vilnius National Opera, the San Francisco Opera and the Korea National Opera. His production of Bellini's I puritani was shown at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie and the Frankfurt Opera.

References