BRIGHT YOUNG SINGS; A Modern-Dress Production of la Traviataprompts Toby Young to Compare Today's Celebrities with the Courtesans of 19th-Century Paris
Byline: TOBY YOUNG
LIKE ALL GREAT works of art, La Traviata has been re-imagined many times. The best known modern interpretation is probably the film Pretty Woman - except, unlike Verdi's original, Pretty Woman has an upbeat, Hollywood ending.
As the political philosopher Alan Bloom pointed out, Americans like their tragedies to end on a happy note.
On the face of it, it seems a little pretentious to set La Traviata among the world of It-girls and all-night parties, as Welsh National Opera has done in its new production. Yet the fashionable salons of 19th-century Paris weren't so different from the clubs and restaurants in London and New York where the beautiful people can be found today.
It doesn't seem too farfetched to see in the story of Violetta Valery's tragic decline a foreshadowing of the way celebrities light up the sky, only to fall from grace what feels like moments later in our media-saturated society.
It's become a cliche to describe …
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Publication information: Article title: BRIGHT YOUNG SINGS; A Modern-Dress Production of la Traviataprompts Toby Young to Compare Today's Celebrities with the Courtesans of 19th-Century Paris. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: The Mail on Sunday (London, England). Publication date: June 27, 2004. Page number: 46. © 2009 Solo Syndication Limited. COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group.
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