La Traviata is unique in Verdi's output. Unlike Aida or Nabucco, it is remarkable for its realistic portrayal of the tale of Violetta who, on her deathbed, recalls her life as a courtesan in flashback form. In it Verdi made a head-on attack on the hypocritical society that censured his relationship with Giuseppina Strepponi. He also exalted human life and virtues such as generosity, compassion and selflessness, which are negated by the implacable judgement of a class-dominated society. In this adaptation of the novel by Alexander Dumas Fils, La dame aux camélias, he made subversive references to topics that were outlawed at the time (syphilis and tuberculosis). This, and his moral stance, aroused a storm of fury at the opera's first showing. Now David McVicar's masterly version, featuring his usual dramatic and highly-charged mise en scene, offers a contemporary re-reading. A grandiose melodrama in a period setting.