The Arizona Opera Outdoor Film Fest
LA TRAVIATA SYNOPSIS:
Violetta Valéry knows that she will die soon, exhausted by her restless life as a courtesan. At a party she is introduced to Alfredo Germont, who has been fascinated by her for a long time. Rumor has it that he has been enquiring after her health every day. The guests are amused by this seemingly naïve and emotional attitude, and they ask Alfredo to propose a toast. He celebrates true love, and Violetta responds in praise of free love (Ensemble: “Libiamo ne’ lieti calici”). She is touched by his candid manner and honesty. Suddenly she feels faint, and the guests withdraw. Only Alfredo remains behind and declares his love (Duet: “Un dì felice”). There is no place for such feelings in her life, Violetta replies. But she gives him a camellia, asking him to return when the flower has faded. He realizes this means he will see her again the following day. Alone, Violetta is torn by conflicting emotions—she doesn’t want to give up her way of life, but at the same time she feels that Alfredo has awakened her desire to be truly loved (“Ah, fors’è lui… Sempre libera”).
Violetta has chosen a life with Alfredo, and they enjoy their love in the country, far from society (“De’ miei bollenti spiriti”). When Alfredo discovers that this is only possible because Violetta has been selling her property, he immediately leaves for Paris to procure money. Violetta has received an invitation to a masked ball, but she no longer cares for such distractions. In Alfredo’s absence, his father, Giorgio Germont, pays her a visit. He demands that she separate from his son, as their relationship threatens his daughter’s impending marriage (Duet: “Pura siccome un angelo”). But over the course of their conversation, Germont comes to realize that Violetta is not after his son’s money—she is a woman who loves unselfishly. He appeals to Violetta’s generosity of spirit and explains that, from a bourgeois point of view, her liaison with Alfredo has no future. Violetta’s resistance dwindles and she finally agrees to leave Alfredo forever. Only after her death shall he learn the truth about why she returned to her old life. She accepts the invitation to the ball and writes a goodbye letter to her lover. Alfredo returns, and while he is reading the letter, his father appears to console him (“Di Provenza”). But all the memories of home and a happy family can’t prevent the furious and jealous Alfredo from seeking revenge for Violetta’s apparent betrayal.
At the masked ball, news has spread of Violetta and Alfredo’s separation. There are grotesque dance entertainments, ridiculing the duped lover. Meanwhile, Violetta and her new lover, Baron Douphol, have arrived. Alfredo and the baron battle at the gaming table and Alfredo wins a fortune: lucky at cards, unlucky in love. When everybody has withdrawn, Alfredo confronts Violetta, who claims to be truly in love with the Baron. In his rage Alfredo calls the guests as witnesses and declares that he doesn’t owe Violetta anything. He throws his winnings at her. Giorgio Germont, who has witnessed the scene, rebukes his son for his behavior. The baron challenges his rival to a duel.
Violetta is dying. Her last remaining friend, Doctor Grenvil, knows that she has only a few more hours to live. Alfredo’s father has written to Violetta, informing her that his son was not injured in the duel. Full of remorse, he has told him about Violetta’s sacrifice. Alfredo wants to rejoin her as soon as possible. Violetta is afraid that he might be too late (“Addio, del passato”). The sound of rampant celebrations are heard from outside while Violetta is in mortal agony. But Alfredo does arrive and the reunion fills Violetta with a final euphoria (Duet: “Parigi, o cara”). Her energy and exuberant joy of life return. All sorrow and suffering seems to have left her—a final illusion, before death claims her.
Hansel and Gretel
In the broom-maker’s house. Hansel complains he is hungry. Gretel shows him some milk that a neighbor has given for the family’s supper. The children dance. Their mother returns and wants to know why they have got so little work done. She accidentally spills the milk and chases the children out into the woods to pick strawberries.
Their father, a broom-maker, returns home drunk. He brings out the food he has bought, then asks where the children have gone. The mother tells him that she has sent them into the woods. He tells her about the Witch who lives there, and that the children are in danger. They go out into the woods to look for them.
In the woods. Hansel picks strawberries. The children hear a cuckoo singing and eat the strawberries. Soon they have eaten every one. In the sudden silence of the wood, Hansel admits to Gretel that he has lost the way. The children grow frightened.
The Sandman comes to bring them sleep, sprinkling sand over their eyes. The children say their evening prayer. In a dream, they see 14 angels.
The gingerbread house. The Dew Fairy comes to waken the children. Gretel wakes Hansel, and they see the gingerbread house. They do not notice the Witch. The Witch decides to fatten Hansel up and puts a spell on him. The oven is hot. Gretel breaks the Witch’s spell and sets Hansel free. When the Witch asks her to look in the oven, she pretends she doesn’t know how to: the Witch must show her. When the Witch peers into the oven, the children shove her inside and shut the door. The oven explodes. The gingerbread children come back to life. The mother and father find the children, and all express gratitude for their salvation.
THE BARBER OF SEVILLE SYNOPSIS:
Count Almaviva has fallen in love with Rosina, the ward of Dr.Bartolo, and comes to serenade her. He pretends to be the poor student "Lindoro" so that she will not be influenced by his title. Figaro, formerly the Count's servant and now a barber in Seville, arrives rejoicing in his profession (“Largo al factotum”). He tells the Count that Bartolo has plans to marry Rosina for her inheritance. While they are talking, Rosina appears on the balcony with a note she has written to the handsome young stranger who has been serenading her. Unfortunately Bartolo is right behind her and, alarmed by his ward’s furtive behavior, is determined to expedite his marriage plans. After leaving instructions that no one is to enter the house, Bartolo hurries off to organize the wedding. Promised gold for his assistance, Figaro declares that he can get Almaviva into the house, disguised as a soldier seeking lodging.
Rosina is determined to marry her suitor, Lindoro ("Una voce pocofa”). Bartolo tells his friend and Rosina’s music teacher, Don Basilio, of his suspicions that Count Almaviva is in town and in love with Rosina. Basilio suggests that they spread malicious rumors about the Count. Figaro tells Rosina that Lindoro is his cousin and adds that the young man is deeply in love with her. Rosina is delighted and gives him a note to deliver to the supposed Lindoro. The Count arrives in his soldier's disguise, only to discover that Dr. Bartolo is exempt from housing the military. Almaviva slips Rosina a note, which Bartolo sees, but Rosina smartly substitutes the laundry list. The noise from the ensuing confusion attracts the police, and the Count avoids arrest only by secretly revealing his identity to an officer.
Count Almaviva enters Bartolo’s house again, this time disguised as Don Alonso, a music teacher. He says that Basilio is ill and has sent him to give Rosina’s music lesson in his place. He gains Bartolo’s trust by producing Rosina’s letter to himself, and offering to persuade Rosina that the letter has been given to him by a mistress of the Count. Bartolo dozes off during the lesson and the Count and Rosina are able to share their mutual affection. Figaro manages to obtain the keys to the balcony, the escape route the Count and Rosina plan to use for their elopement that evening. Basilio appears, but is told to go home because he looks so ill, advice he accepts more readily when Almaviva slips him a bribe. Rosina and the Count continue to arrange their elopement but Bartolo catches the lovers in a compromising conversation and the Count and Figaro must make their escape. When Don Basilio returns to admit that he has never heard of Don Alonso, Bartolo instructs him to fetch a notary to perform his wedding right away. Meanwhile, Bartolo uses Almaviva’s letter, which he took earlier, to convince Rosina that the Count intended to seduce and betray her. Furious, Rosina reveals the elopement plans and agrees to marry Bartolo, who rushes off to fetch the police.
When Figaro and Almaviva arrive, Rosina confronts her lover who reveals that he is, in fact, the Count. Their rejoicing is cut short when Basilio enters. He has brought the notary that Bartolo requested. Figaro persuades the notary to wed Almaviva and Rosina instead, while the Count bribes Basilio into acting as a witness. Bartolo arrives too late and with no choice remaining, he blesses the marriage and everyone wishes the couple love and eternal fidelity.
Synopses Courtesy of The Metropolitan Opera