If the only value of this Opera di Roma film was to preserve Lisette Oropesa’s incandescent Violetta it would be enough. She has emerged as one of the finest interpreters of the role. But there’s much, much more to savour. Director Mario Martone’s thrilling production is a homage to opera, to Verdi and, above all, to the theatre and live performance at a perilous time.

La Traviata

Lisette Oropessa and Samir Pirgu in Opera di Roma’s La Traviata.

Martone takes an essentially conventional approach to staging. The action takes place in the 19th century and there’s no distortion of the drama to suit a director’s out-there concept. Everyone looks divine in Anna Biagiotti’s costumes, especially Oropesa. Her frocks are stunning and the Cuban-American soprano looks a million bucks in them.

Martone does, however, have something special up his sleeve. In the absence of an audience – but very much in the presence of the Opera di Roma orchestra and the magisterial Daniele Gatti – Martone takes over the whole auditorium and foyers of the opulent Teatro dell’Opera di Roma.

The stalls seats are gone and in their place is a second stage...