Passion in the Pit: Steven White La traviata – Addio, del passato (Ermonela 1 day ago   04:26

San Diego Opera is staging a production of Verdi’s Rigoletto. But while you might be familiar with the classic tale of love and revenge taking place on stage you may not know what is going on in the orchestra pit below. So KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando has this profile of what a conductor’s job entails.

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La traviata – Addio, del passato (Ermonela Passion in the Pit: Steven White 1 day ago   05:42

Ermonela Jaho as Violetta Valéry in La traviata. In this aria, Violetta acknowledges her imminent death and prays that God will forgive her and comfort her. Find an encore screening in a cinema near you

Verdi based La traviata on Alexandre Dumas fils's novel and play La Dame aux camélias, inspired by the life and death of the real Parisian courtesan Marie Duplessis. Verdi offered a more complex and sympathetic portrayal of his heroine than Dumas, highlighting Violetta's noble nature and her devotion to Alfredo. La traviata had an initially lukewarm reception, but after Verdi revised the work in 1854 it became enormously successful. It is currently the most performed opera in the world, and the role of Violetta a favourite for many star sopranos.

Richard Eyre's naturalistic production contrasts the superficial glamour of 19th-century Parisian high life with intimate scenes for Violetta with Alfredo and Giorgio Germont, culminating in the heart-breaking final act. Verdi's sublime score contains some of his most inspired arias and duets, including Violetta's introspective 'Ah fors'è lui' and hedonistic 'Sempre libera', Violetta and Germont's poignant Act II encounter and Alfredo and Violetta's 'Parigi, o cara', in which they dream of a happy future.