"What happens in the opera house is meant to be a point of discussion for what's happening in contemporary life," he says. "It's not that I have a thesis statement about America's role in foreign wars or our role in occupation. But opera has the power to spark conversation in other areas of life."
"There's something about the life force that Verdi put into the piece that resonates with me," Mr. Strassberger says. "He had this dark period in his life, when he was about to throw in the towel, and to find this well of creativity within you seems against all odds."