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On 27 April 2008, Arizona Opera presented a slightly updated production of Verdi's La Traviata in the southern city of Tucson. The stage director was Thaddeus Strassberger, who has mounted opera productions in numerous theaters both in the US and abroad. Here, he concentrated on making his characters real and true to life. For example, since Violetta was in the last stages of tuberculosis, he had her inject herself with opiates to dull the pain.

Alexandra Deshorties as Violetta, after having just injected herself with an opiate, in Arizona Opera's 'La Traviata'. Photo © 2008 Scott Humbert
Alexandra Deshorties as Violetta, after having just injected herself with an opiate, in Arizona Opera's 'La Traviata'. Photo © 2008 Scott Humbert

Alexandra Deshorties was a valiant Violetta who raged against the death that stalked her. She made you see the legendary courtesan as a flesh and blood woman who sang Verdi's exquisite music with stylistic grace. Sean Panikkar played her true love, Alfredo, with intense emotional commitment and opulent virtuosity. For him, the often omitted cabaletta, 'O mio rimorso', held no terrors whatsoever, and he tossed it off with seeming ease. We can hope to hear a great deal more from both of these young artists.

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Copyright © 4 May 2008 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA

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