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Flashcards in Verdi and Wagner Deck (11):

La traviata - Background

1853 first performance Teatro La Feniceinitially a failureplay by Alexander Dumas 'la dame aux camelias *real story Maris DuplessisLibrettist Francesco Maria Piave
3 acts
Violetta: coloratura - courtesan
Alfredo Germont -tenor - young aristocrat
Giorgio Germont - baritone - Alf-Father
Baron Douphol - bari - Viol lover
Flora Bervoix - mexxo - Viol-friend


La traviata - Summery of plot

Act 1: Paris, Violetta's Home- party despite declining health- meets Alfredo who loves her, she gives him camellia flower
Act 2-1: Country house near Paris-Viole/Al happy in love, - Al's father comes and convinces Viol to leave- Al assumes she has left him for former lover Baron
Act2-2: Paris Violet's friends' house- party with Baron- Al arrives to spoil, Violetta reaffirms her love
Act3: Paris, Violetta's apartment- lying on deathbed, Al and father return with blessings- Violetta dreams of happy future as she collapses and dies.


La traviata Act 2 Scene 2 - name the eight recits/arias once Violetta is alone at the party

1. Invitato a qui seguirmi - I've asked him to follow me
2. S'ei cadra per mano mia - I were to kill him
3. Ogni suo aver tal femmina - Al shames Violetta
4. Oh, infamia orribile - chorus
5. Di sprezzo degno - Father repremands son
6. Ah si! che fecit - Al deep remorse
7. Alfredo, Alfredo, di questo core - Al you will know
8. Combined chorus and solos


La traviata Act 2 Scene 2 - first two songs

Invitat a qui seguirmi: Violetta alone nervous to save Alfredo, asks him to leave-opens in Db, urgency, soft clarinets basson stringflurry 16th notes violins Alfredo entry
Db Major exchanges between them tension mounting
S'ei cadra mano mia- Alfredo broad phrase doubled by woodwinds strong 1st beat emphasissuggests jealousy and reckless bravado
*Violetta says she made a vow then in desperation falsely says she loves Baron


La traviata Act 2 Scene 2 - second two songs

Ogni suo aver tal femmina: 'for that lady' i lost it all.
C major common time, Allegro sostenuto
simplicity Alfredo-self rightousness contrast to:
Oh, infamia orribile - party guests shocked, demand he leavesC min, 2/4 Velocissimo, unison chorus+orchestrasudde shift to minor mode; conveys fury disapproval


La traviata Act 2 Scene 2 - third two songs

Di sprezzo degno- Giorgio Germont reprimands his son
Eb Major, Con dignitoso fuoco 'with dignified passion
'Ah si! che fecit - sobbing, Al feels deep remorse
Eb minor'what have I done? in short breathless phrases


La traviata Act 2 Scene 2 - finale

Alfredo di questo core - exhausted Violetta says one day Al will known why con voce debolissima e con passione 'fragile voice, passion'
Large Ensemble: Al's solo remorse song, with guests chorus, father's reflections and Violetta's bel canto caressing melody soars above everything else
Eb Major
Lastly Baron challenges Alfredo to a duel, Violetta collapses.


Wagner's Die Walkure - Background

2nd of 4 operas in Der Rings des Nibelungen
1870-1876 first performances
German language, Wagner wrote libretto
Norse mythology and epic medieval poem called Nibelungelied
Structure: 3 Acts


Wagner's Die Walkure - Characters

Woten - ruler of the Gods BaritoneFricka - wife of Wotan goddess of marriage - mezzo
Valkyries - 9 sisters warrior daughters of Wotan and Erda (earth spirit) Soprano and mezzos
Siegmund - mortal song of Wotan - HeldentenorSieglinde - twin sister ^ - soprano
Hunding - Sieglinde's husband Siegmund's enemy - Bass
Brunnhilde- The favourite Valkyrie of Wotan - soprano


Wagner's Die Walkure - Plot Summary

Pre-story: Alberich makes all-powerful ring; Wotan steals it, but gives it up to build Valhalla fortress for the Gods. Wotan father's twins to regain possession of the ring
Act 1: Forest Hut: Siegmung frees his love Sieglinde from his enemy Hunding, unaware they are siblings
Act2: Valhalla: Siegmund fights Hunding, Brunnhilde to help, Fricka opposes incestry, Siegmund is killed and Wotan kills Hunding in return
Act 3: Mountain Plateau: Valkyries gather the dead, Brunnhilde foresees Sieglinde to bear child she escapes Wotan. But Brunnhilde is to be punished, softened by compassion Wotan puts her to sleep and surrounds her by fire only a hero can penetrate
Post-story: son of Sieglinde; Siegfried frees Brunnhilde but is killed. Order must be restored by returning the ring; everything goes up in flames, the gods are killed and balance returns.


Wagner's Die Walkure - Wotan's farewell to Brunnhilde

'der augen leuchtendes Paar - your radiant eyeslow strings - Slumber Motive ostinato; light 16th note little syncopation undulating melody
underscore Wotan's farewell
Wotan kisses Brunnhilde - magic sleep Motive chromatic harmonies harps woodwinds contrary motion
Then Spear Motive-bold descending figure forcefully trombones - Wotan summons Loge God of Fire
string tremolos Flames encircle Brunnhilde - Magic Fire Motive: staccato 16th notes woodwinds flickering flames
Wotan prophesies rescue using Siegfried's motive-upward-thrusting theme brass
Wotan leaves - slumber motive and magic fire motive co-mingle, curtain falls.