Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Would You Traviata? Which answer would you give to your prospective father-in-law?

You are in love. You meet your prospective father-in-law for the first time. He stops by when your lover is gone.

He says that because of your past his youngest daughter will not be accepted by the new family into which she is marrying. He asks to you abandon your love.

Do you:

1. Tell him he confused your show with The Real Housewives of New Jersey.

2. Open a pre-marked chapter in the book "How to work with people you hate."

3. Remind him that you don't speak English.

4. Agree and comply immediately.

If you answered No. 4 you are Violetta in La Traviata. Continue reading this blog entry, but first take a moment to check-in with your primary care physician. We will wait for you:


In Act Two of La Traviata, Violetta agrees with Giorgio Germont, who is the father of her lover Alfredo, to abandon her relationship because it would be best for his family. She also believes that through this sacrifice she might be forgiven for her past as a courtesan.

The aria, Dite alla giovine (Go tell your daughter), sung in this clip by Mirella Freni from a 1973 film of La Traviata, is the place where Violetta articulates her sacrifice. The music makes for a powerful case of building intensities.

The interjections made by Germont [1:22], here played by Sesto Bruscantini, indicate that because of the emotion, because of the music, he realizes for the first time how great a sacrifice he is asking her to make. Hmmm.

Why does Violetta agree to do this, and why does she agree without even talking with Alfredo? Is this an impulse that is particular to the 19th century or does it continue to exist in the text-message age?

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