234th Season

Mariinsky II (New Theatre)

04 July
19:00
2017 | Tuesday
Conducted by Maestro Placido Domingo.
Il trovatore (opera in four acts )
Opera in 4 acts
"Giuseppe Verdi "Il trovatore" (opera in four acts )"
Artists Credits
Choreography by Emil Faski (revisions)
Vincenzo Raponi, Lighting Designer
Maestro Valery Gergiev, Musical Director
Alla Brosterman, Musical Preparation
Marina Mishuk, Musical Preparation
Pavel Teplov, Principal Chorus Master
Massimo Pizzi Gasparon, Set Designer
Pier Luigi Pizzi, Set Designer
Pier Luigi Pizzi, Stage Director
Performed in Italian
Premiere of this production: 27 Dec 2013

The performance has 1 intermission
Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes

Il trovatore (The Troubadour) is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Salvadore Cammarano, based on the play El trovador (1836) by Antonio Garcia Gutierrez. Cammarano died in mid-1852 before completing the libretto. This gave the composer the opportunity to propose significant revisions, which were accomplished under his direction by the young librettist Leone Emanuele Bardare, and they are seen largely in the expansion of the role of Leonora.

The opera was first performed at the Teatro Apollo, Rome, on 19 January 1853 where it "began a victorious march throughout the operatic world". Today, in its Italian version, it is given very frequently and is a staple of the standard operatic repertoire.

Libretto by Salvatore Cammarano

Il trovatore (The Troubadour) is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Salvadore Cammarano, based on the play El trovador (1836) by Antonio Garcia Gutierrez. Cammarano died in mid-1852 before completing the libretto. This gave the composer the opportunity to propose significant revisions, which were accomplished under his direction by the young librettist Leone Emanuele Bardare, and they are seen largely in the expansion of the role of Leonora.

The opera was first performed at the Teatro Apollo, Rome, on 19 January 1853 where it "began a victorious march throughout the operatic world". Today, in its Italian version, it is given very frequently and is a staple of the standard operatic repertoire.

Pier Luigi Pizzi on his production of the opera
In my opinion, Il trovatore is a stunning example of Verdian melodrama, a point of reference for many other composers in the 19th century. The perfection of the opera’s musical form, its engaging plot, vivid choral scenes and the unusual beauty of the melodies allowed Verdi to convey with great power human passions including love, hate and jealousy as well as revenge and death.
Returning once again to this opera, so adored by many, and doing so at a mature age, I plan to focus on the psychology of the characters. I will also focus particularly on the intense dramatic story being told. The characters of the protagonists seem to me to create a strong impression.
Azucena is, of course, the lead female character: she treacherously fans the flames of the conflict between Manrico and the Conte di Luna, two brothers unaware of their blood ties, and awakens feelings of rivalry and mutual hatred between them.
I find that the Conte di Luna is another protagonist on whom Verdi bestowed the most noble and passionate arias. The insistence with which he seeks out his lost brother, the ardent passion he feels for Leonora, his fervent desire and his malice at unrequited feelings make the Conte di Luna a powerful dramatic character.
In comparison with him, Manrico, who has the privilege of performing the opera’s most famous aria, remains vulnerable and immature, young and inexperienced  – a mere pawn in the hands of the gypsy woman. Of Leonora it could be said that she is one of the most romantic characters in the history of opera. Two arias that Verdi assigned to this role  – Tacea la notte placida and D’amor sull ali rosee  – rouse the most incredibly tender thoughts for this courageous woman who resolves to sacrifice herself for the sake of love.
This opera stirs powerful emotions in me, and I would like to convey this noble feeling to the audience.
Synopsis
Place: Biscay and Aragon (Spain)
Time: Fifteenth century.

Act 1: The Duel

Scene 1: The guard room in the castle of Luna (The Palace of Aljaferia, Zaragoza, Spain)

Ferrando, the captain of the guards, orders his men to keep watch while Count di Luna wanders restlessly beneath the windows of Leonora, lady-in-waiting to the Princess. Di Luna loves Leonora, and is jealous of his successful rival, the troubadour Manrico. In order to keep the guards awake, Ferrando narrates the history of the count to the guard. (Aria: Di due figli vivea padre beato / "The good Count di Luna lived happily, the father of two sons"). Many years ago a gypsy was wrongfully accused of having bewitched the youngest of the di Luna children; the child had fallen sick and for this the gypsy had been burnt alive as a witch over her protests of innocence. Dying, she had commanded her daughter Azucena to avenge her, which she did by abducting the baby. Although the burnt bones of a child were found in the ashes of the pyre, the father refused to believe in his son`s death; dying, he commanded his firstborn, the new Count di Luna, to seek Azucena.

Scene 2: Garden in the palace of the princess

Leonora confesses her love for Manrico to her confidante, Ines. (Tacea la notte placida / "The peaceful night lay silent"... Di tale amor / "A love that words can scarcely describe"). When they have gone, Count di Luna hears the voice of his rival, Manrico, in the distance: (Deserto sulla terra / "Alone upon this earth"). While Leonora in the darkness mistakes the count for her lover, Manrico himself enters the garden, and she rushes to his arms. The count recognises Manrico as his enemy, who has been condemned to death due to his political affiliations and challenges him to a duel over their common love. Leonora tries to intervene, but cannot stop them from fighting (Trio: Di geloso amor sprezzato / "The fire of jealous love" ).

Act 2: The Gypsy Woman

Scene 1: The gypsies` camp

The gypsies sing the Anvil Chorus: Vedi le fosche notturne / "See! The endless sky casts off her sombre nightly garb.."). Azucena, the daughter of the Gypsy burnt by the count, is still haunted by her duty to avenge her mother. (Aria: Stride la vampa / "The flames are roaring!"). The Gypsies break camp while Azucena confesses to Manrico that after stealing the di Luna baby she had intended to burn the count`s little son along with her mother, but overwhelmed by the screams and the gruesome scene of her mother`s execution, she became confused and threw her own child into the flames instead (Aria: Condotta ell`era in ceppi / "They dragged her in bonds"). Manrico realises that he is not the son of Azucena, but loves her as if she were indeed his mother, as she has always been faithful and loving to him. Manrico tells Azucena that he defeated Di Luna in their duel, but was held back from killing him by a mysterious power (Duet: Mal reggendo / "He was helpless under my savage attack"). A messenger arrives and reports that Leonora, who believes Manrico dead, is about to enter a convent and take the veil that night. Although Azucena tries to prevent him from leaving in his weak state (Ferma! Son io che parlo a te! / "I must talk to you"), Manrico rushes away to prevent her from carrying out this intent.

Scene 2: In front of the convent

Di Luna and his attendants intend to abduct Leonora and the Count sings of his love for her (Aria: Il balen del suo sorriso / "The light of her smile" ... Per me ora fatale / "Fatal hour of my life"). Leonora and the nuns appear in procession, but Manrico prevents Di Luna from carrying out his plans and instead, takes Leonora away with him.

Act 3: The Son of the Gypsy Woman

Scene 1: Di Luna`s camp Di Luna and his army are attacking the fortress where Manrico has taken refuge with Leonora (Chorus: Or co` dadi ma fra poco / "Now we play at dice"). Ferrando drags in Azucena, who has been captured wandering near the camp. When she hears di Luna’s name, Azucena’s reactions arouse suspicion and Ferrando recognizes her as the murderer of the count’s brother. Azucena cries out to her son Manrico to rescue her and the count realizes that he has the means to flush his enemy out of the fortress. He orders his men to build a pyre and burn Azucena before the walls.

Scene 2: A chamber in the castle Inside the castle, Manrico and Leonora are preparing to be married. She is frightened; the battle with di Luna is imminent and Manrico’s forces are outnumbered. He assures her of his love (Aria, Manrico: Ah si, ben mio coll`essere / "Ah, yes, my love, in being yours"), even in the face of death. When news of Azucena’s capture reaches him, he summons his men and desperately prepares to attack (Stretta: Di quella pira l`orrendo foco / "The horrid flames of that pyre"). Leonora faints.

Act 4: The Punishment

Scene 1: Before the dungeon keep

Manrico has failed to free Azucena and has been imprisoned himself. Leonora attempts to free him (Aria: D`amor sull`ali rosee / "On the rosy wings of love"; Chorus & Duet: Miserere / "Lord, thy mercy on this soul") by begging Di Luna for mercy and offers herself in place of her lover. She promises to give herself to the count, but secretly swallows poison from her ring in order to die before Di Luna can possess her (Duet: Mira, d`acerbe lagrime / "See the bitter tears I shed").

Scene 2: In the dungeon

Manrico and Azucena are awaiting their execution. Manrico attempts to soothe Azucena, whose mind wanders to happier days in the mountains (Duet: Ai nostri monti ritorneremo / "Again to our mountains we shall return"). At last the gypsy slumbers. Leonora comes to Manrico and tells him that he is saved, begging him to escape. When he discovers she cannot accompany him, he refuses to leave his prison. He believes Leonora has betrayed him until he realizes that she has taken poison to remain true to him. As she dies in agony in Manrico`s arms she confesses that she prefers to die with him than to marry another (Quartet: Prima che d`altri vivere / "Rather than live as another`s"). The count has heard Leonora`s last words and orders Manrico`s execution. Azucena awakes and tries to stop Di Luna. Once Manrico is dead, she cries: Egli era tuo fratello! Sei vendicata, o madre. / "He was your brother... You are avenged, oh mother!".


Mariinsky Theatre:
1 Theatre Square
St. Petersburg
Mariinsky-2 (New Theatre):
34 Dekabristov Street
St. Petersburg
Mariinsky Concert Hall:
20 Pisareva street
St. Petersburg