The libretto by Francesco Maria Piave to Verdi's opera La Traviata
is based on the play La Dame Aux Camelias
by Alexandre Dumas the Younger. This play was a stage version of a novel by Dumas, published in 1848 and based on the life story of a young courtesan named Alphonsine plessis, known more euphoniously as Marie Duplessis, who died of consumption in 1847, at the age of 23.
Verdi is said to have seen the play at the Theatre des Vaudevilles in Paris shortly after its premiere in 1852 and to have been deeply stirred by it. He had already signed a contract to provide a new opera for the Teatro Fenice in Venice and it was there, on March 6th, 1853, that La Traviata, its text based on the Dumas tragi-comedy, was first given.