The Real Traviata
Giuseppina Strepponi was the most famous singer of her day when Giuseppe Verdi, then an unknown composer, wanted her to perform his work. They became lovers and eventually married, although she already had three illegitimate children. Their story, told here, is the stuff of grand opera.
Anne De Courcy, Daily Mail
Now, for the first time, the story of her life and enduring love has emerged. La Strepponi’s compatriot, the author Gaia Servadio, has disentangled her tale from dusty archives, letters and manuscripts. It is old in Servadio’s new book.
Sue Gaisfor, The Independent
Servadio’s researches are impressive, particularly when she writes of the atmosphere in pre-unification Italy, when there were half a dozen customs-posts between Naples and Milan, when the Austrians were in power and when opera was held in such high esteem that it was the essence of popular culture.