Published on December 18th, 2011 12:54 AM
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Verdi intended La Traviata to be not only a musical entertainment, but a challenging work of theatre. Going against operatic tradition, he presented a modern-day drama of the Parisian demi-monde, featuring a courtesan who tries to embrace a more conventional life, is thwarted by social stigma, and succumbs to the ravages of tuberculosis.
Nevertheless, despite Verdi's scrupulous intentions, from its very premiere the work has been staged in other than the originally intended setting. Censors, afraid of the work's topicality, caused the first productions to be set in the safe distance of the early 1700s: