The first revival of David Bösch’s new production for The Royal Opera, with two casts including Maria Agresta, Lianna Haroutounian, Anita Rachvelishvili and Dmitri Hvorostovsky.
Verdi was in a purple patch of creativity when he wrote Il trovatore after the success Rigoletto and just before the premiere of La traviata. Il trovatore is based on Antonio García Gutiérrez’s play El trovador (1836) and librettist Salvatore Cammarano and Verdi produced a work of great drama and energy.
Il trovatore is probably best known for its ‘gypsy’ music – the Anvil Chorus, Azucena’s ‘Stride la vampa’ and Manrico’s heroic ‘Di quella pira’ are examples. Verdi provided wonderful music for all four of his leads, with the ‘aristocratic’ ‘Il balen del suo sorriso’ for the Count, and Leonora’s prayer ‘D’amor sull’ali rosee’ among a host of thrilling ensembles and chorus numbers. German director David Bösch, celebrated for his theatrical productions for Munich and Frankfurt makes his UK debut with this new production for The Royal Opera.
The story centres around Count di Luna who loves Leonora, but she loves Manrico, the Count’s military enemy. Manrico’s mother Azucena tells him how her mother was burnt to death for supposed witchcraft against the Count’s baby brother. Azucena intended to throw the baby onto the fire – but blinded by revenge she lost her own child to the flames.
The Count captures Manrico and Azucena. Leonora promises herself to him if he will give them their freedom, but secretly takes poison. Leonora dies in Manrico’s arms. The Count has Manrico executed. Azucena reveals that her mother is finally avenged: the Count has murdered his own brother.
Bösch’s production may offer some surprises in its use of stark realism and imagery but stays true to the original idea of how civil wars can bring out the worst elements of humanity. It is within these cauldrons of hate and revenge that love stands little chance of surviving.
The performance lasts about 2 hours 50 minutes, including one interval.
Sung in Italian with English surtitles.
If you would like more information or book tickets , visit the Royal Opera House website here
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