This article accompanies the fable
Vampires in Venice
La Traviata and the color of camellias
Violetta wears white camellias, except for five days a month when she wears red camellias. Are those the days when she is with a rich lover or the days of her menstrual cycle? You be the judge. Others have noted the camellia was the only flower she could wear that didn't aggravate her TB - because camellias are scentless. (Compare rose symbolism)
La Traviata premiered at the Teatro La Fenice ("The Phoenix") opera house in Venice in 1853. Below is a picture of the interior from 1837.
The play continued to have its own life, known in English variously as The Lady of the Camellias and as Camille. The role was irresistable to most great actresses, notably Sarah Bernhardt, shown below in a poster from 1896 by Alphonse Mucha, and Greta Garbo, who starred in the 1936 George Cukor film Camille.
Photo of the white camellia: Juan Mejuto/Wikipedia