Il Trovatore

14 - 16 October 2019




October 14, 2019
October 15, 2019
October 16, 2019



a masterful opera by Giuseppe Verdi

Il Trovatore is a drama full of suspense, love, revenge, deceit and death in which two men compete for the same woman. The main character is the mysterious gypsy Azucena, who is out for bloody revenge.

The story:. A soldier tells his men the gruesome story of the witch who was burned and whose ghost is said to still roam the forest. Count Luna is in love with the lady-in-waiting Leonora, but she loves the mysterious troubadour Manrico, leader of a rebel army. It comes to an awkward confrontation between the three, after which Count Luna duels Manrico. Manrico is winning, but when he wants to strike the decisive blow, an invisible hand seems to hold him back. In Tacea La Notte Leonora confesses to a friend that she is madly in love.

Not long after this duel, Manrico was seriously injured on the battlefield. His mother, the gypsy Azucena, saved his life and tended to his wounds. In the gypsy camp, Azucena tells Manrico the story of her mother who was burned at the stake for witchcraft by Count Luna, the father of the current Count. With her child in her arms, she had witnessed the gruesome execution. In revenge, she kidnapped the count's child. In a kind of psychosis she threw it into the fire. But… when she turned around after this heinous act, she saw the count's child standing there. She had burned her own child!

Azucena narrates in Condotta Ell’era what happened: with her mother's cry for vengeance in mind, she walks with the child to the fire...

Manrico is confused. Isn't he her son? But Azucena reassures him. Then comes bad news for Manrico: Leonora is about to enter the monastery, because she thinks that Manrico has died on the battlefield. He wants to stop her. But he's not the only one. Count Luna has the same plan. At the monastery, the two meet again as rivals. But Leonora flees with Manrico, overjoyed that he is still alive.

Count Luna under the spell of Leonora: Il balen del suo sorriso

The lovers swear allegiance to each other in Castellor's castle. Then Manrico receives the message that the count has captured his mother Azucena. He is determined to save her. But unfortunately, Count Luna captures him and puts him in a dungeon with his mother. From his prison, Manrico urges his beloved Leonora to forget him. Meanwhile, a choir of monks sings one Miserere.

Desperate Leonora makes a deal with the count: she will give herself to him if he releases Manrico. The Count agrees and even leaves her alone with Manrico to break the news to him. Manrico is furious and full of blame. He won't listen to Leonora's pleas to embrace freedom. Then Leonora collapses. She had never intended to sell herself to the count and had taken poison before. But the poison works faster than expected. Leonora dies. Enraged, the Count has Manrico executed without trial. Azucena then tells him that he killed his own brother. The opera ends with her shout of jubilation: Madre, sei vendicata (Mother, you are avenged)!

An old gypsy, condemned to be burned at the stake, cries out for revenge. Her daughter kidnaps the Count's child responsible for her mother's death. Shortly afterwards, the remains of a child are found among a still smoldering pyre… Verdi‘s opera Il Trovatore is like a well-crafted Hollywood thriller: too unpretentious to pass for Art with a capital A, but so masterfully crafted that the work is recognized as a great classic.

Critics have spoken highly of Verdi's opera: the improbable plot, the caricatured characters and the old-fashioned forms of music. Il Trovatore (1853) therefore had the misfortune to be composed between two other masterpieces: Rigoletto (1851) and La Traviata (1853). These operas by Verdi were remarkably innovative. Why did Verdi return to those old forms of music?

That had to do with the lyricist. In Rigoletto and La Traviata Verdi teamed up with a rookie in the business, Francesco Piave. The composer dared to make him toil and sweat until he got what he wanted: new poetic forms (ie new music).

The lyricist of Il Trovatore however, was a celebrity, the poet Salvadore Cammarano (who also wrote the lyrics for Lucia Di Lammermoor wrote). Cammarano was a recognized master of his craft, but preferred to work according to the old pattern. In addition, the poet fell ill. He died just before he could complete the opera's text. Verdi did not murmur and after a few adjustments he put the text as Cammarano had supplied it.

The aria Di Quella Pira, would have been the last piece Cammarano completed before his death.

But miracle or no miracle, the result turned out not to suffer at all from the old-fashioned structure. On the contrary, it seemed as if a fixed pattern was needed to channel Verdi's boundless musical energy. In Il Trovatore strong rhythms provide a great driving force, with one catchy melody following another, including the famous Gypsy choir. The audience loved it. The work was a huge success from the start and is still one of the most performed operas in the world.


Dramma lirico in quattro parti
Libretto by Salvatore Cammarano and Leone Bardare.

To the play El Trovador of S.G. Gutiérrez
World premiere January 19, 1853, Teatro Apollo, Rome

New, large-scale production (orchestra and choir) with 120 employees.

Directed by:  Thilo Reinhardt
Musical director:  Igor Chernetski
Stage play:  Karel Spanhak
Costumes:  Ulli Kremer
Lighting:  Paul van Laak

Leonora:  Hanna Litivinova
Azucena:  Maryna Godulian
Manrico:  Oleg Zlakoman
Ruiz:  Pavlo Smirnov
Conte:  Vasile Chisiu
Ferrando:  Viktor Schevchenko
Ines:  Kateryna Lian
Old Gypsy:  Andriy Ripak
Servant:  Viktor Myzuchko