Natalie Dessay made her first European appearances as Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata in a new production by the French director Jean-Francois Sivadier at the 2011 Aix-en-Provence Festival. This DVD captures her intense performance in the company of American tenor Charles Castronovo as Alfredo and French baritone Ludovic Tezier as his father, Giorgio Germont. "Her theatrical impact is devastating," wrote the Financial Times. She made her debut in the role in 2009 at the Sante Fe Festival in the US, and subsequently sang Violetta in Japan. Dessay's 2011-12 season will include La Traviata at the Vienna State Opera (in this Aix-en-Provence production by French theatre and opera director Jean-Francois Sivadier) and the New York Metropolitan. Violetta makes tremendous demands on a singer, both vocally and dramatically, and signals Dessay's transition from lighter coloratura roles to the more full-bodied lyric repertoire. "I'm tired of playing weeping girls," she told the French magazine Tele 7 Jours, "Violetta is a real woman. That makes a nice change!" Sivadier's production was staged in the open air, in Aix-en-Provence's exquisite Theatre de l'Archeveche with it's huge spiral staircases, medieval arches and 18th-century wings. The stage decor was minimal, the simple costumes evoked the 1940s or 1950s, and the prime focus was on intense characterization.