What is Violetta fighting for when Alfredo’s father, Germont, confronts her in Act II of La Traviata?
Remember, we’re talking about adding depth to a character in opera by using the guideposts from the book Audition.
Guidepost number one is relationship and we’re to “find the love” in every scene.
Guidepost number two is “what are you fighting for?” and we’re to find deep seated desires for the character to fight for in a scene.
In Act II of Traviata, Alfredo discovers that Violetta has been selling her possessions in order to support their country lifestyle of love and leisure. We have known since the beginning of the show that Violetta is not long for this world.
Alfredo leaves to get some dough and in his absence his father, Germont, arrives and accuses Violetta of being a gold digger — a gold diggin’ cougar since Alfredo is younger. Violetta defends herself and proves she’s not after money.
Germont then explains that Violetta’s relationship with Alfredo is casting a poor light on Alfredo’s sister's engagement, and that since there is no way Violetta will ever be married to Alfredo she should make a sacrifice and send him away.
The text is all very high brow with Germont being impressed by the generosity and nobility of Violetta’s character, etcetera.
Okay, what is Violetta fighting for? Yes, love. Good — but what kind of love? Alfredo is loving Violetta in a way to which she is unaccustomed as a courtesan.
Germont makes the futility of this love painfully clear to Violetta.
He’s asking Violetta to die alone so that his daughter can make a good bourgeois match. Germont is kind of a dick even though Verdi paints him in a sympathetic light.
What if Violetta is fighting for something more basic than love? What if she wants to have someone care that she lived? What if she is fighting to avoid a lonely death? She’s fighting to have someone hold her hand.