Concerned that "It is perfectly possible to see a production of La Traviata where the audience have absolutely no idea what the story is about", he's aiming for a more explicit portrayal of its demi-monde setting. So he's made a study of the story's inspiration, Alphonsine Duplessis, and legendary 19th century courtesans like Cora Pearl and La Paiva.
Only Northern Britain merits this meticulousness though: "I would never have accepted at a big American house or Covent Garden because you just wouldn't get the cast to rehearse. They would just turn up with so many preconceptions." Oops?