Q:Im not agreeing or disagreeing but why does everyone say Alfredo is a jerk? I guess I havent watched it enough.
Ooh thanks for the ask! I would love to clarify my understanding of Alfredo.
So in the beginning of the opera, he declares that he is in love with Violetta minutes after they are formally introduced. He says he’s been in love with her for over a year and even stayed at her bedside when she was sick (even though they technically didn’t know each other). The fact that he had never really interacted with her and talked with her before falling in love is (well it’s normal behavior in opera) but in real life, that is really creepy and as a woman, I would feel sort of violated if that happened. In real life, this would be creepy infatuation, not real love. Imagine lying sick in a hospital bed and some dude you’ve never actually met is sitting and watching you.
Then in beginning of act 2, they are in love and happy. But situation arises so she leaves him. She writes him a letter saying that she is leaving him, and his first decision is to follow her to the party. If his only intention was to tell her that he loved her and try and win her back, that’s fine. But his behavior at the party is what really brings out his “jerk” behavior.
I would go so far as to call it abusive and categorize it under intimate partner violence. While Alfredo is playing cards with the Baron, he makes snide comments about Violetta, to the point where the Baron is getting angry on behalf of Violetta. Intimate partner violence is not just physical, it is also psychological and emotional. A true, loving, respectful partner would never torment you this way. One of the questions that is asked when screening for intimate partner violence is “Does your partner treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?” Based on Violetta’s regrets about coming to the party and Alfredo’s behavior at the card table, it’s a resounding yes.
Then, later in the scene, Alfredo begs Violetta to come back to him, and when she refuses, he accuses her of loving the Baron. He then calls ALL of the party guests to witness as he verbally shames Violetta in front of them. He then throws money at her, yelling that he has paid his whore. That is textbook abusive behavior.
No matter how heart broken Alfredo may have been for having been dumped by Violetta, he has absolutely no right to humiliate and belittle her that way. He didn’t get his way, so he became jealous, controlling, and possessive.
And then later, when the situation is clarified, he comes begging for forgiveness. I don’t doubt he really loved Violetta. But there is absolutely no justification for his behavior. If she left him, no matter the reason, she had the right to leave him without being treated the way Alfredo treated her.
So yeah, I think Alfredo is a mega douche who is extremely entitled. He’s basically the nice guy who treats you really well, and then the minute you turn down his advances, he turns into a mega douche and calls you a slut (in this case, Alfredo literally called her a whore). When I was younger, I used to think La Traviata was this really sad romantic love story. As I’ve gotten older, I no longer find this to be true. It’s still a tragedy, and I love Violetta. I find her to be an incredible woman, who is both extremely strong and extremely fragile. If I cry watching La Traviata now, it’s not over the love story. I cry because my heart breaks for Violetta. Alfredo can go burn in a ditch for all I care.
Opera singers chatting about opera. Soprano Tamara Wilson interviews reigning Cardiff Singer of the World, Mezzo Jamie Barton.
Other parts of the interview:
It’s hard for me to coherently describe just how awesome I think Jamie Barton is.
So why did no one tell me that Kelli O’Hara performed at the Met with RENEE FLEMING
Unless I’m mistaken, this hasn’t happened yet. Kelli O’Hara is slated to perform in the Met’s new production of Merry Widow in which Renee Fleming is starring. The performances for the run with Fleming will be January of 2015.
Q:Have you seen the Met's production of The Ring with that new staging from that Siegfried post? It's amazing! I've watched it so many times this year!
I have! Well, not the whole thing. But it was definitely an interesting production. I’m not quite sure how I feel about “the machine,” though it does lend itself to some really cool visuals. I’d say my favorite thing about that RIng cycle was the cast. Gawd, what an awesome cast that was.
Mary Rose Go, a Filipina-American soprano, says she’s “always felt extremely uncomfortable” about productions of Madame Butterfly and Turandot—two Puccini operas that often involve gong-banging pageantry similar to The Mikado. And that’s even as opera producers are nowadays keen to cast someone who “looks the part.” Go says she opted out of the chorus section of a Madame Butterfly production in order to avoid “a space where an Asian American’s worst Halloween nightmare can happen nightly in rehearsal,” as she put it.
“Madame Butterfly isn’t my voice type but, unless they re-imagined the production and got rid of the kimonos,” says Go, “I prefer not to be part of those productions.”
So do these two share a wardrobe or…