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Love Death and Divas - the 'poetry of the brothel', Opera North and the BBC

Written by
Rob Martin

If you're an opera fan, or even if you're not, you probably know more music than you think from Verdi's 'La Traviata', so popular and well loved is it.

But at its London debut in 1856 it was condemned for bringing 'the poetry of the brothel' to the stage.

On Saturday20 June, this is explored via a new BBC TV documentary, 'Love, Death and Divas' filmed with Leeds based Opera North. It will look at how one of the most popular operas in the world came to being, based on real life people, exploring the arias and researching the history of this masterpiece which scandalised London in its depiction of real life as high art.

Professor Amanda Vickery and BBC Radio 3 presenter Tom Service reveal the extraordinary story behind the opera’s first night in London and its scandalous heroine, the courtesan Violetta Valéry, whose dramatic life and tragic death were based on those real-life characters and events.

You may think you know La Traviata but Opera North and the BBC are going to show you a whole new story to it.

'La Traviata - Love, Death and Divas' featuring Opera North is on BBC 2 at 9pm this Saturday.

Opera North perform at Leeds Grand.

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