The courtesan Violetta Valery, mistress of the Baron Douphol, is entertaining guests in her Paris home, concealing from all that she is in delicate health. After a coughing fit, she breaks off her dance with her secret admirer, Alfredo Germont, who declares his love for her. Only after he has left does she realize that she desires Alfredo.
Later, having come together and established themselves as a couple in a villa outside Paris, Violetta is visited by Alfredo’s conservative father Giorgio, who pleads with her to break off the affair so as to save the honor of the Germont family. Torn between the happiness she has found with Alfredo and loving concern for his place in society, she agrees.
Upon returning to the villa from a trip to Paris, Alfredo is grief stricken when he finds her goodbye note. On seeing an invitation from Flora Bervoix to a party in Paris, however, he concludes that Violetta has abandoned him to return to Parisian high society and he runs off to seek revenge.
On the arm of Baron Douphol at Flora’s party, Violetta is confronted by Alfredo, who throws in her face the money he has just won gambling, not realizing that at the request of his father she has sacrificed his love and her own happiness for his sake. Later, in her Paris bedroom where she lays dying of consumption, Violetta receives a letter from Alfredo’s father; he has told Alfredo of her selflessness and Alfredo is en route to her. When he arrives, she has only enough strength to whisper with her final dying breath that she will pray for him once she is in heaven.
Recorded at Teatro alla Scala, Milan LIVE on Opening Night
Diana Damrau and Piotr Beczala