From the Philadelphia Enquirer:
Q: If sets don't reflect settings, how do we know where we are?
A: Listen to the music. Ultra-realistic Franco Zeffirelli productions made the music dispensable. Now that the productions don't explain the opera, the composer does. Again.
DrB: That was what I liked best about the Salzburg Traviata DVD--the clarity and abstraction of the production brought the music into sharp focus for me. I loved the music of Verdi's La Traviata as I had not done before.