In September 2015, the British Council , Creative & Cultural SkillsRoyal Opera House and Spectaculu challenged students in Brazil and the UK to create five minute films inspired by Verdi’s opera La Traviata (‘The Fallen Woman’). This was part of Design Challenge, which connected students across the world working on set, costume, make up and marketing as well as film.  

La Traviata tells the story of courtesan Violetta Valery and her doomed romance with former client Alfredo Germont. Students explored the opera’s themes of illness, reputation, sexuality and gender politics . 

The Brief

The brief adopted Spectaculu’s four performance making considerations:

  1. Philosophy: students had to consider the social context and motivation of the opera’s writer, Giuseppe Verdi, and how today’s world would (and does) respond to its themes, supporting their research and socio-emotional skills
  2. Word: students were asked to think about how the characters of their films could communicate the emotions of the opera without singing, considering other forms of language without losing sight of the formal nature of the original structure
  3. Voice, Interpretation and Body: students had to choose and direct actors who could communicate the world of the opera – a world in which bodies are used to influence and as currency – with their own physicality, and judges were looking for films which could create the feel of live theatre
  4. The Look: Taking special consideration of the images of women - especially ones considered to be ‘fallen’ or ‘disgraced’ - presented to them in the media, students were asked to explore the influences of artists on their work and show an understanding of how to subvert and play with the audience’s understanding of the subject matter


Films were judged according to the professional standard of the following components:

  • Cinematography
  • Screenplay
  • Soundtrack
  • Technical Production
  • Overall Impression

 Brazilian Winners

Below are all five winning films, with English subtitles - categories to be announced soon.