Flu season is over, but there are lingering ariatic coughs among the opera heroines onstage this week. At the AVA, Mimi, Parisian paramour, is wasting away for her art in Puccini‘s la Boheme and downtown at the OCP, Violetta, la Traviata’s cortesan, is not going to let a little consumption ruin her chances with the mens.

OCP’s Robert Driver said he has mounted many productions of doomed Violetta, but there is always something new to discover in Verdi’s music. “There are a lot of operas I don’t need to do anymore, but I always love traviatta because the story is so compelling. For Verdi, this is the most personal work. Because he was quote living in sin with Giuseppina Strepponi and society didn’t accept her. His father in law from his first marriage, whom he was very close, wrote him a very severe letter about this relationship. It weighed on him and Traviata was a release for him in writing this incredibly poignant story.”

Even though Robert admits to loving many previous casts of the opera, he thinks this one is the strongest he’s directed. “For me, this is the cast. Soprano Leah Partridge sings Violetta and “is just ideal. It doesn’t hurt that she brings the coy gentility of an Atlanta girl” Robert then takes a moment to fantasize about a Traviata set in Atlanta.

British baritone Mark Stone, left on the Academy stage last year in his skivvies in Gianni Schicci plays Germont. “Mark is such a superb actor. And he brings so much thought to this part. The dynamics of the act between Violetta and the father is just the guts of the opera. He finds the perfect dramatic balance. Driver scouted Charles Castronovo, who plays Alfredo, from his first professional role in Don Giovanni in Boston 12 years ago.