In 1853, the premiere of La Traviata was marked by a scandal: the main character is a lady of the demi-monde, the place and time of action is not a distant country in the legendary era, but set in the composer's contemporary Paris. However, this didn't work at the opera's premiere. The public recieved the opera as a slap in the face of society; at its revival, Verdi was forced to change the components of the action and change the characters into their historical concept. After a century and a half the opera house can hardly be imagined without La Traviata.
The story of the opera is borrowed from the novel and the play by Alexandre Dumas. The heroine prototype was Marie Duplessis, the famous Parisian courtesan: For a short time she was the mistress of the writer and died of tuberculosis at the age of 23. In Paris, impressed by the play, Verdi conceived La Traviata which he initially wanted to entitle Love and Death.
In the Yekaterinburg production, Aleksei Stepaniuk, the director, has directed an action in simulated ballrooms and drawing rooms, not abusing passion to household details, but emphasizing the timeless emotional nature of music – in the expectation that what is happening will not look just a private incident of the past, but will be in empathy to the audience.