In Robert Carsen’s 2004 production of La traviata for Teatro La Fenice, the Prelude is staged. During this haunting music, we see Violetta lounging on a huge bed while more than a dozen men pay her for her services with wads of oversized dollar bills. By the time Act One begins, the bed is virtually covered in money.
As they say in television land, you could have turned your sets off right there. Virtually all of Carsen’s ideas are established before a single note is sung. He establishes that his Violetta is a prostitute rather than an elevated courtesan, and that money and sexual commerce form the basis of this story. He then proceeds to repeat the money business ad nauseam. Read more »