La Traviata: “Sempre libera”

“Sempre libera” (“Always free) is a duet from Giuseppe Verdi's opera La traviata.

In mid-19th-century Paris, Violetta Valéry is a courtesan of fragile health. At one of her parties, she encounters young Alfredo Germont. She has not previously considered herself capable of true love, but she falls in love with Alfredo, who has long loved her from afar. They live blissfully in the country until Violetta is visited by Giorgio Germont, Alfredo’s father. He insists that she give his son up, for the sake of his family. Heartbroken, Violetta agrees and resumes her life with her previous lover, Baron Douphol. The furious Alfredo confronts Violetta at a party, violently insults her in public, and challenges the Baron to a duel. Alfredo goes abroad, but when he learns from his father of Violetta’s sacrifice, he returns to her. They have time for only a brief, ecstatic reunion before Violetta dies.

In this scene, Violetta (Albina Shagimuratova), a courtesan in Paris, gives a party where she's wooed by Alfredo (Giorgio Berrugi). Once she's alone, she
laughs off the idea of true love and vows to live for pleasure, even when she hears the voice of Alfredo outside her window.

“Sempre libera”

Song title: “Sempre libera” (“Always free”)

Opera: La traviata

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi

Year Written: 1853

Language: Italian

Performance dates: February 16 – March 22, 2019

Artists: Albina Shagimuratova (Violetta), Giorgio Berrugi (Alfredo), and the Lyric Opera Orchestra under Maestro Michael Christie


Special thanks to the Chicago Federation of Musicians local 10-208 and artists of the American Guild of Musical Artists.

Photo: Todd Rosenberg