From the thrill of unexpected romance to a heartbreaking reconciliation that comes too late—Verdi’s La Traviata is one of the most popular of all operas. Alfredo (Charles Castronovo) falls in love in with the courtesan Violetta (Ermonela Jaho) in glamorous Paris society, but underneath the surface run darker undercurrents, leading to a tragic ending. The opera’s wealth of melodies includes the famous Brindisi (drinking song) and the exuberant “Sempre liber”—both showing the lyricism of Italian opera at its most immediately appealing. Recorded live in 2019, Richard Eyre’s production for The Royal Opera brings out all the emotional color, from the giddy discovery of love, through painful confrontation to the inevitable conclusion. Lavish period sets and costumes enhance the reality of a moving story based on true life. The cast also includes Plácido Domingo. Sung in Italian with English subtitles.