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Il trovatore Music by Giuseppe Verdi Libretto by Salvatore Cammarano Dolora Zajic as Azucena (SFO)

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Presentation on theme: "Il trovatore Music by Giuseppe Verdi Libretto by Salvatore Cammarano Dolora Zajic as Azucena (SFO)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Il trovatore Music by Giuseppe Verdi Libretto by Salvatore Cammarano Dolora Zajic as Azucena (SFO)

2 Giuseppe Verdi ( ) Born near Busseto (Le Roncole) Studied in Milan but conservatory Returned to Busseto as town music master Married Margherita Barezzi in 1836 and had two children. All died within three years ( ) Breakthrough 1842 Nabucco Married singer Giuseppina Strepponi (1859)

3 Verdi’s operas Between ages 26 and 80 composed 26 operas Opera as vehicle for expression of nationalistic ideas Nationalism was not overt element in operas (1848 Italian Risorgimento) Opera as human drama (fast action, striking contrasts, unusual characters, strong emotional situations) Memorable melodies that capture character and feeling of drama Orchestra brilliant but sustains the voice, which is the center of attention.

4 Most important works Nabucco 1842 Rigoletto 1851 Il trovatore 1853 La traviata 1853 Aida 1871 Otello 1887 Falstaff 1893 (Requiem 1874) Aida Otello

5 Place of Il trovatore in Verdi’s oeuvre One of the three operas of the “popular trio” of his middle period (Rigoletto opened 11 March 1851, Traviata on 6 March 1853) Last opera with Cammarano’s libretto (Alzira, La battaglia di Legnano and Luisa Miller) Sandwiched between two innovative operas, this one adheres to a strict formalism, which actually allows for concentration of dramatic moments. Armiliato & Zajic (SFO) López Manzitti & Lappalainen (Virginia Opera)

6 Il trovatore: the facts After the “tragedia” El trovador by Antonio García Gutiérrez (1836) Translated by Giuseppina Strepponi Opera opened 19 January 1853 Premiere at the Teatro Apollo in Rome Libretto by Cammarano completed at Cammarano’s death by Leone Emanuele Bardare Opera in 4 parts (acts) and 8 scenes Paolo Gavanelli as Conte di Luna (SFO)

7 Main characters Conte di Luna (Br) a nobleman of Aragon, in service to the Prince, the operatic villain Manrico (T) officer of the Prince Urgel’s army, supposedly the son of Azucena, really the Conte’s brother, the operatic hero Azucena (MS) a gypsy, the only clearly sculpted, profound character, the main one Leonora (S) lady-in-waiting to the Princess of Aragon, Azucena’s opposite musically and in life, goes from taking the veil to deep sin Others: Ferrando, Ines, Ruiz, an old gypsy

8 Place and time of Il trovatore Year 1409 Biscay and Aragon (Spain) –1,i Palace of Aliaferia –1,ii and its gardens –2,i A hovel in the Biscay mountains –2,ii The porch of a place of retreat near Castellor –3,i an encampment near Castellor –3,ii and a room near the chapel of Castellor –4,i Palace of Aliaferia (different place from 1,i) –4,ii A gloomy prison

9 The plot of part 1: The Duel Scene 1: Ferrando is waiting for the Count who suspects Manrico of being in love with Leonora and thus his rival. He tells the story of Garzia, the Count’s brother, whom the daughter of a gypsy burned at the stake on the old Count’s orders for witchcraft, kidnapped and allegedly threw in the pyre, where the remains of a baby were found. Scene 2: Leonora tells Ines she had met a mysterious knight at a tournament and that he now is back as a troubadour. When they depart the Count comes to declare his love but is met by Manrico and then by Leonora declaring her love to the latter. The two men leave to go fight in a duel.

10 The plot of part 2: The Gypsy Scene 1: Anvil chorus. Then Azucena sings to the fire and tells Manrico about her mother burned at the stake and how shaken by the events she threw in the fire not the Count’s but her own son. Manrico asks whose son he is but she responds she loves him. He says that when he was about to deal the final blow in the duel to the Count he couldn’t. He gets a letter from Leonora who is about to take the veil, thinking him dead. Scene 2: Leonora is about to take the veil and Manrico resolves to steal her away. The Count arrives too with his men but when the two parties fight Manrico rushes off with Leonora.

11 The plot of part 3: The Gypsy’s Son Scene 1: The Count and his men are ready to attack Castelloro when Azucena is brought in captive. The Count guesses who she is and all exult at the prospect of her death at the stake. Scene 2: Manrico and Leonora are about to be married when Ruiz informs him of Azucena’s capture. Manrico sets out to save his mother.

12 The plot of part 4: The Execution Scene 1: Leonora comes in to try to save Manrico, now prisoner, accompanied by a miserere from within. She reiterates her love for Manrico. The Count arrives ready to kill the two but Leonora strikes a deal where she gives herself to him for Manrico’s life. The Count accepts, unaware that she has taken poison. Scene 2: Manrico and Azucena languish in prison. Leonora comes to tell him he is free. As she dies he realizes what she has done. The Count comes in and leads Manrico to the scaffold. As he is decapitated, under Azucena’s eyes, she tells the Count he has just killed his brother and cries that her mother is finally avenged.

13 Main themes of Il trovatore Vengeance Destiny War Musically: Propulsive mature Verdian melodies, orchestra relegated to the role of accompaniment, symmetrical structure of numbers to concentrate emotional fire Azucena--first in a glorious line of Mezzosoprano roles (Eboli, Ulrica, Amneris) Polarity between two women: Leonora’s music long soaring phrases, Azucena’s short phrases based on repetition of short motives

14 Most notable musical moments Leonora’s “Tacea la notte” (“Di tale amor”) Azucena’s “Stride la vampa” “Anvil” chorus Manrico’s “Di quella pira” Leonora’s “Prima che d’altri” and Miserere Manrico’s “Ai nostri monti ritorneremo”


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