La Traviata: Verdi (Focus on introduction)

Beginning with the introduction of this opera, a certain atmosphere is being created, which in my opinion, is different than the introductions of previous operatic pieces which we have come across so far. The opera begins with a rather mysterious mood, which is created through a mixture of major and minor pitches played by violins. However, this mysterious and somewhat anxious atmosphere is beautifully released with a consonant interval or pitch which leads to a beautiful transition towards a more romantic and joyous melody and atmosphere! Also, this new part after the transition resembles the music which is played during elegant ballroom dances and therefore reflects a romantic atmosphere. Similar to the way in which Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” introduces all the various elements which the audience will be exposed to, the introduction in “La Traviata,” communicates to the crowd that the following opera that they are about to witness reflects a romantic drama, due to the mysterious opening combined with the transition to the joyous and romantic atmosphere. Also, this introduction also resembles the introduction of L´Orfeo for instance, due to the presence of a ritornello! The ritornello in this opera is identical in melody, with the difference that the melody is played in lower pitches the second time. When trying to identify whether this opera should be considered seria or baffa opera, then I would say that this piece contains aspects and elements from both each operatic style. It suits the baffa style, due to the existence of characters which reflect nobility, servants and figures of real social classes. Also, the beginning scene in Act 1 contains several comedic moments which hints towards the baffa style. At the sime time however, the Seria operatic style is very much present as well due to the abundance of singing in this piece. In Act 1, scene 1, singing dominates the progression and action of the opera, which is a trait of the Seria opera.


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