Violetta’s house in Paris
Violetta, a courtesan under the protection of Baron Douphol, is entertaining guests, among them Alfredo Germont, who has been in love with her for some time. Although she is a very ill woman, Violetta insists upon leading a hectic social life. As she leads her guests off to dance, she is seized by a coughing fit and has to withdraw. Alfredo joins her and professes his love. Violetta gently discourages his affection; playfully giving him a camellia flower, she tells him to return when it has faded. After the party has broken up, Violetta wonders if Alfredo is her true love. She soon shrugs off such sentimentality, believing that abandoning herself to the hollow pleasures of her life is her only option.
ACT II - Scene One
A country house near Paris
Three months later
Violetta and Alfredo are now living together. When he learns from her maid Annina that Violetta has sold her possessions to pay their debts, Alfredo leaves for Paris to raise the necessary money. In his absence, Violetta receives an unexpected call from his father. Germont orders her to end the relationship; otherwise his daughter’s marriage into a respectable family will be threatened. Violetta tells him that it will kill her, but she finally agrees. When Germont withdraws, she writes a farewell note to Alfredo. Alfredo interrupts her, and she bids him farewell and rushes away. After she has gone, a servant gives him her note. Alfredo is devastated. Germont enters and attempts to console his son, but Alfredo assumes that Violetta has deserted him to return to her old friends, and he rushes off to Paris.
ACT II - Scene Two
Flora’s house in Paris
The same night
A party is in progress. Alfredo appears alone, and then Violetta enters escorted by Baron Douphol. The two men play cards and Alfredo wins. Violetta sees Alfredo alone and begs him to avoid a duel. In response to his accusations, she falsely declares she loves the Baron. In a fury, Alfredo summons the guests to witness the repayment of his debts and flings his winnings at her feet. The Baron challenges him. Germont enters in time to witness his son’s outburst and reproaches him.
A few months later
The doctor tells Annina that her mistress is dying. Violetta reads a letter from Germont telling her that Alfredo, who fled abroad after dueling with the Baron, now knows of her sacrifice and is returning to ask her forgiveness. The lovers are reunited, and Germont arrives to give his blessing. But it is too late, and Violetta dies in Alfredo’s arms.