Saturday, May 14, 2011

VERDI : IL TROVATORE

Radio New Zealand Concert network
Sunday  13th of March 2016 at 6.04 - 9.00 pm
Sunday 10th of February 2013 at 3.03 - 6.05 pm
Sunday 15th of May 2011 at 3.03 - 6.20 pm
Sunday 5th of April 2009 at
3 - 6.10 pm

INTRODUCTION
SYNOPSIS (Bogart)
SYNOPSIS
REVIEW
LIBRETTO
LIBRETTO
SCORE

VERDI: Il Trovatore, an opera in four acts
A swashbuckling gypsy troubadour knight unknowingly confronts his brother as a rival in war and love. Featuring some of opera's best known and energetic melodies

Count di Luna.................. Juan Jesús Rodriguez
Manrico............................ Marcello Giordani
Azucena............................ Dolora Zajick
Leonora............................ Angela Meade
Ferrando........................... Kwangchul Youn
Iñez................................... Carolyn Sproule
Ruiz.................................. Raúl Melo
Old Gypsy........................ Edward Albert
Messenger......................... David Lowe
Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orch/Marco Armiliato ( 2013
Count di Luna............. Alexey Markov
Manrico........................ Marco Berti
Azucena....................... Stephanie Blythe
Leonora........................ Angela Meade
Ferrando...................... Christophorous Stamboglis
Ines.............................. Edyta Kulczak
Ruiz............................. Hugo Vera
Old Gypsy................... Brandon Mayberry
Messenger.................... David Lowe
Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orch/Daniele Callegari

The SYNOPSIS by Richard Bogart is very helpful: he separates the three sub-plots (war, love, revenge).
The most famous piece is the anvil chorus, at the start of Act 2: In a gypsy camp in 15th-century Spain, Manrico the wounded troubadour (and leader of a rebel army) has taken refuge with the woman he thinks is his mother. The men are working at their anvils, plying their trade as tinkers, and declaring that wine and women are the best stimulants for increasing productivity.

Spain was in its perennial uncivil war: at that time the king of Aragon was battling with rebels, and the heroine Leonora is a lady-in-waiting. She has two suitors dancing attendance on her: the young Count di Luna (commander of the king's army) and the knight Manrico (she had crowned him victor at a tournament) who comes to serenade her as troubador.

The soldiers hear the story of the baby Garcia Luna being burnt to death by the daughter of the gypsy woman who was executed (by burning at the stake) for putting a hex on the child in his cradle. (Was she trying to steal it for 'baby-farming' purposes, like Gilbert's Buttercup?)

The gypsies get Azucena's version of the event as they work at their anvils; then she tells Manrico that she accidentally consigned her own baby to the flames, and brought the Luna child up as her own dear son; but when he expresses surprise she tries to take his mind off it by reminding him of the care she has lavished on him.

At the very last moment, when Manrico is summarily executed by Count di Luna, Azucena blurts out: He was your brother! He cries "Quelle horreur" in Italian (Quale horror), though actually speaking a Spanish dialect. She declares: You are avenged, Mother! And his response, the last line of the opera is: And I still live (E vivo ancor!).

Had Azucena brought Manrico up as
her son simply to have him hound the son of her mother's killer, and then to sacrifice him at this climactic moment, to make the hated son of the old Count suffer over the loss of a brother? She could have told the Count the truth before that moment of exultation and execution, and before Leonora took poison because everyone else around her was sentenced to death. But was anyone in a forgiving mood at any point?

2009

Leonora........................ Sondra Radvanovsky
Azucena........................ Dolora Zajick
Manrico........................ Marcelo Álvarez
Count di Luna............... Dmitri Hvorostovsky
Ferrando....................... Kwangchul Youn
Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orch/Gianandrea Noseda
2011Count di Luna............... Dmitri Hvorostovsky
Manrico........................ Marcelo Álvarez
Azucena........................ Dolora Zajick
Leonora........................ Sondra Radvanovsky
Ferrando....................... Stefan Kocan
Ines............................... Maria Zifchak
Ruiz.............................. Eduardo Valdes
Old Gypsy.................... Robert Mahler
Messenger.................... Raymond Aparentado
Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orch/Marco Armiliato

Notice the presence of Dmitri the white-haired Russian baritone who is turning up everywhere after singing winsomely and winningly at a Welsh contest a few years ago. Dolora Zajick (when younger) is on a videotape I have of a Metropera production (conductor James Levine) featuring Luciano Pavarotti as her son Manrico, and herself as Azucena the vengeful gypsy woman; Sherrill Milnes is the Count di Luna. An earlier MetOp star, Robert Merrill has that role in the first audio recording of it that I acquired (from the World Record Club in Australia), and the tenor is Franco Corelli; Thomas Schippers conducted the orchestra of the Rome Opera House, and the acoustic ambience of that building shines forth through the speakers (especially in our garage, right next to the office I am working in at this moment). On a large black disc of highlights, Pavarotti sings with Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne, and Richard Bonynge waves the baton, of course. On three small silver discs, Placido Domingo joins with Rosalind Plowright, under Giulini's direction. The third member of the Gang of Three, namely José Carreras, sings with Katia Ricciarelli. You can get Leontyne Price with Domingo; Maria Callas with Giuseppe di Stefano; Jussi Björling with Zinka Milanov and Leonard Warren, and this is the first one I ever heard (I thought I had a copy of it now, as people keep donating their old stuff to my large collection, but it did not come to light in my search today, though I did locate the movie A NIGHT AT THE OPERA, in which the Marx Brothers create havoc in a performance of Il Trovatore. There was an old film I saw when it came out (1950s) with an Italian tenor who had visited Australia for a concert tour, not in his prime, more like sub-prime.

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