HHOT's La Traviata at Proctor's

A Singer’s Notes 65: Hubbard Hall Opera Theater’s La Traviata at Proctor’s, Schenectady

Please forgive me if I think of Verdi’s La Traviata and Otello as religious dramas—a father must (or thinks he must) give a child over unwillingly to death—Abraham and Isaac all over again. It is not insignificant that Otello is old enough to be Desdemona’s father. Nor is it insignificant that there is a constant use of the word sacrifice in La Traviata, and no use of the word in Otello. Reading Garry Wills’ recent book Why Priests? has instructed me of the indelibility of the sacraments for old style Catholics. Once a priest, you are always a priest. Once married as a devout Catholic, you are always married. Thus Desdemona’s death was not considered a sacrifice by the Church since she had in fact given up nothing and had no penitential past. Desdemona is a Mary, a Jesus.

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