La Traviata (includes Drinking Song, Libiamo ne' lieti calici)
Verdi's tragic opera falls 15 to its lowest Hall of Fame ranking
Verdi's evergreen opera premiered in 1853 — but the first night was a disaster, prompting jeers from the audience. The composer wrote to a friend, "La Traviata last night a failure. My fault or the singers? Time will tell!" Indeed it did.
Today it is one of the world's most performed operas, most famous for its rousing drinking song. But despite all of that piece's gaiety, La Traviata is a tragic story of love and death.
It was originally entitled Violetta, after the main character — a famed courtesan. The young nobleman Alfredo Germont is in love with Violetta and wants to settle down with her but she is unsure whether she could sacrifice her freedom. When they do move in together, Alfredo's father turns up to tell her to break off the relationship for the sake of his family's reputation. Violetta returns to Paris but is already seriously ill with tuberculosis. She dies in Alfredo's arms shortly after he arrives.
Two words: take tissues.
Find out more
Listen to Classic FM online, on air and on the go
Discover more ways to enjoy the nation's favourite classical music station, wherever you are, from listening on your digital radio to downloading our free app for smart phones and tablets.
The Movie Music Hall of Fame
Discover the nation's favourite film soundtracks in the Classic FM Movie Music Hall of Fame, featuring music by John Williams, Ennio Morricone and Hans Zimmer.
Don't miss the Classic FM Hall of Fame Hour
Join John Suchet for an hour of the very best classical music, from full-blooded Romantic concertos to delicate Classical miniatures.
Browse Halls of Fame past
Discover more about our annual chart and explore Halls of Fame past, as far back as 1996.