The Real Violetta - Act |||
Taking the opera diva Maria Callas’s obsession with Violetta, the heroine of ‘La Traviata’ Opera, as a starting point, this video work aims to construct a poetic and allegorical genealogy of all the counter-(her)stories surrounding ‘The Real Violetta’. Giuseppe Verdi found inspiration for his heroine Violetta in Alexander Dumas’s ‘La Dame aux Camelia’s’, who, in turn, drew from a real person, Marie Douplessis, when creating his own heroine Marguerite Gautier. Unlike their heroines who sacrificed themselves for their male lovers, Marie Douplessis (b. 1824) emerged as a powerful French woman who overcame abusive parents and poverty alone, becoming one of Paris’s most renowned courtesans.
The video serves as a poetic critique of how stories, especially our own, are constructed, romanticized, and censored under the white, Western, institutional, male gaze. (His)tory is inherently non-neutral. ‘The Real Violeta’ is an ode to the Violettas who craft their own (Her)story—the sex worker, the trans people, those who were unjustly labeled as ‘fallen (Traviata )’ due to the actions of others. They are the ones gifting the camellia flower to their community, ensuring the endurance of their genuine narratives throughout the centuries.’