Three state operas unite for feminist La Traviata

Director Sarah Giles and Opera Queensland’s Patrick Nolan discuss the themes of their new opera and explain why it is being staged as a co-production.
A woman sits with her back to us, an ornate dress spread out on the floor around her; we can see her face reflected in a large mirror sitting opposite her.

‘The thing that I’m always fascinated by is looking at the politics of now through the prism of another era. And given how politics are going at the moment, I think looking backwards is actually incredibly useful,’ said Sarah Giles, the director of a new production of La Traviata opening in Brisbane this week.

Verdi’s 1853 opera about a consumptive courtesan (a high class sex worker) is consistently named as one of the ten most popular operas in the world, but what does it have to say about the contemporary world?

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts