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Giuseppe Verdi was well on the way towards renown and prosperity when he took up the story of Violetta, a famed courtesan whose intensely romantic and colorful but tragically brief life marked the emergence of realism into Italian opera. Verdi and Alexandre Dumas intended this melodrama to have a contemporary setting, and David Livermore's stunning production maintains this wish by placing his elegant and powerful cast firmly into the 20th century. This alchemy of masterful acting, vivid bel canto voices and the vitality of Zubin Mehta's conducting results in a triumphant and unforgettably poignant operatic experience.