The other day, the Metropolitan Opera celebrated the 1000th performance of Verdi’s La Traviata. While it may have been Wyatt Earp’s favorite opera, it is not mine. Having gone through his opera programs and ticket stubs, I know he saw the legendary Enrico Caruso do Alfredo! I also suspect Wyatt Earp was at the Met’s performance of Carmen, with Caruso, the night of the San Francisco earthquake.
Like I said, it isn’t my favorite opera, but I understand that it is one of those stories, based on Alexandre Dumas La Dame aux Camélias. It is the story of the world-weary consumptive, fallen woman, who loves a wealthy young man. His father tries to break up the relationship, to protect the reputation of his daughter. Violetta leaves Alfredo, who finds her as she is dying. According to his notes, Verdi wanted the production to be realistic. I never liked Traviata until I saw the Met’s David McVicar production, and I don’t like modern interpretations of classics.
Can you imagine – 1000 performances of a single opera? The only performance of Traviata that I saw at the Met was back in the late 1980s. Naturally it starred Sherrill Milnes. The first performance of Traviata at the Met was on November 5, 1883.