It was only my second time at the opera, and it was even more magical than the first time. La Traviata, an Italian love story. As a hopeful romantic (I rebuke the term hopeless) and a lover of all things Italian, I immediately accepted the invitation from my opera-buff friend for an afternoon at the Kennedy Center. When she shared that it was the opera featured in one of my favorite movies of all time, Pretty Woman, I immediately envisioned myself as Julia Roberts in her striking red gown adorned by six-figure jewels, and got even more excited.
As a lover of music and the arts in general, I live for moments like these at the opera. This particular piece, La Traviata, was the full entertainment experience. Everything from the wistful, dramatic and at times spiritual tones of the music, to the captivating staging and scenery, and the superb acting and singing all left me co-signing my audience-mate’s sentiments “Brava!” in my head at the end of every scene, particularly the lead character Violetta’s arias.
In a nutshell, La Traviata tells the story of a young woman, Violetta, who is suffering from a serious illness, yet catches the attention and ultimately heart of a man named Alfredo. After initially rejecting him, Violetta falls deeply in love with him and they get to live happily for a short period of time until outside forces, over which neither have any control, threaten their relationship. Ultimately though, love prevails and they are reunited shortly before her [SPOILER ALERT] untimely death.
Yes, La Traviata means “the fallen woman” and she does die at the end. However, the entirety of the production leaves you feeling more joyful and peaceful than the title, or even synopsis suggests. Violetta’s arias alone left me absolutely mesmerized. And I don’t know if it was the fact that my friends and I attended the closing show at the Kennedy Center or if I was just caught up in my Julia Roberts moment, but I found myself with the rest of the audience jumping to my feet for a standing ovation, wildly applauding the cast with tears in my eyes at conclusion of the performance.
Opera may not be your thing, but if you ever decide to step outside your comfort zone and give it a try, I recommend La Traviata. There is a reason it is the most frequently performed opera of all time. Even if you aren’t a hopeful romantic like I am, I believe this love will win you over.