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PROGRAMME DETAIL

Giuseppe Verdi • Il trovatore

Dramma lirico in four parts
Libretto by Salvadore Cammarano and Leone Emanuele Bardare after Antonio García Gutiérrez's play El trovador (1836)

With German and English surtitles

Duration of the opera approx. 3 hours.

Print programme (PDF)

CREATIVE TEAM

Daniele Gatti, Conductor
Alvis Hermanis, Director and Sets
Eva Dessecker, Costumes
Gleb Filshtinsky, Lighting
Ineta Sipunova, Video Design
Gudrun Hartmann, Philipp Krenn, Associate Director
Uta Gruber-Ballehr, Associate Set Designer
Ronny Dietrich, Dramaturgy
Ernst Raffelsberger, Chorus Master
Huw Rhys James, Assistant Chorus Master
Patrick Furrer, Musical Assistant

CAST

Anna Netrebko, Leonora
Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Azucena
Diana Haller*, Ines
Francesco Meli, Manrico
Plácido Domingo, Count di Luna
Artur Ruciński, Il Conte di Luna
Riccardo Zanellato, Ferrando
Gerard Schneider*, Ruiz / Un messo
Raimundas Juzuitis*, An Old Gypsy
Members of the Angelika Prokopp Sommerakademie of the Vienna Philharmonic
Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus
Vienna Philharmonic

*Members of the Young Singers Project

On August 18, 21 and 24 Artur Ruciński will perform Il Conte di Luna replacing Plácido Domingo.

ABOUT THE PRODUCTION

It was in 1850 that Verdi discovered a play by Antonio García Gutiérrez, El trovador, that appealed to him as a subject worth setting to music, prompting him to write to his librettist Salvatore Cammarano and invite him to be ‘bold and modern’ in his reworking of the play. El trovador was one of a small number of works including Angel de Saavedra’s 1835 play Don Alvaro – the basis of Verdi’s later opera La forza del destino – that illustrate a brief but independent variation on Spanish gothic Romanticism which, although indebted to the French Romanticism of Victor Hugo, nonetheless represents a particular emotional and spiritual variant of it. Superficially speaking, El trovador may be seen as a historical drama set at the time of the Aragonese wars in the early fifteenth century, whereas it deals in fact with a crisis of religious, social and political authority typical of the age in which García Gutiérrez was living.

There is no doubt that Verdi’s interest was piqued by the boldness and originality of the Spanish play, with its bizarre characters and situations and its socially and morally provocative nature. Two men who do not know that they are brothers become embroiled in the bitterest of struggles not only on the battlefield but also as a result of the fact that they both love the same woman. One of them, the Count di Luna, regards his noble birth as sufficient reason for claiming the hand of the Countess Leonora, while the other, Manrico, has been brought up by the gypsy Azucena as her own son as the result of a series of adverse circumstances. He alone is truly in love with Leonora. Fate pursues its course.

Verdi described the subject as ‘glorious, fantastic and full of powerful situations’, urging on the unenthusiastic Cammarano in a letter dated 4 April 1851: ‘If in opera there were neither cavatinas, duets, trios, choruses, finales, etcetera, and the whole work consisted, let’s say, of a single number I should find that all the more right and proper. For this reason I would say that if you could avoid beginning with an opening chorus (all operas begin with a chorus!) and start straightaway with the troubadour’s song and run the first two acts into one it would be a good thing.’ In the event, Cammarano failed to oblige the composer and instead submitted a draft scenario whose conventional division into individual numbers is less progressive than Rigoletto, in which Verdi had struck out in a new direction and started to break down his traditional historical model. In spite of his initial disappointment, Verdi none the less recognized the potential of Cammarano’s draft, a potential due to its unusual subject matter: ‘Just continue the Troubadour in the way that you have done the introduction and I shall count myself extremely happy,’ he wrote to his librettist less than three months later on 25 June 1851.

It is in fact the traditional design of the libretto that allowed Verdi to adopt such a modern approach to its musical setting, a modernity for which he was later to be reproached. Particularly striking is the much reduced role of the recitatives, for in recapturing the spirit of his Spanish source Verdi has preferred hard edits between the self-contained, autonomous scenes and dispensed with anything that might be regarded as a continuously unfolding action. The scenes are arranged according to a sense of strict geometry. Central to them all are large-scale narratives that evoke the distant past and provide a background for Verdi’s examination of the elemental emotions of love, jealousy, hatred and revenge, emotions to which the protagonists all fall victim, so blindly are they in thrall to their passions: Leonora prefers to die for the sake of her love; the gypsy Azucena is consumed by a desire for vengeance that triggers the action of the drama and motivates each of her actions; Manrico is so overcome by jealousy that he accuses the dying Leonora of being unfaithful; and the Count, ignorant of the true circumstances, kills his own brother out of his feelings of hatred.

With its constantly shifting perspective, Verdi’s music functions on the one hand as a neutral observer of the various situations depicted in the opera, while at the same time zooming in on the inner lives of the characters and exploring their emotions in every last detail. Hand in hand with this approach goes a permanent tendency to cross-fade the past and the present in ways that recall the cinema. In spite of a number of negative reactions, the opera proved a triumph at its first performance at the Teatro Apollo in Rome on 19 January 1853. The second of Verdi’s trilogia popolare that comprises Rigoletto, Il trovatore and La traviata, it continues to occupy a prominent place in the composer’s overall output.

Ronny Dietrich
Translated by Stewart Spencer

SALZBURG FESTIVAL BLOG

Artur Ruciński sings the role of Conte di Luna, replacing Plácido Domingo for the remaining performances of “Il trovatore”

17 AUG2014

by FESTSPIELKIEBITZ  16:07 h;
posted in: Opera, General

Due to an acute infection of the bladder and respiratory tract and very high fever, Plácido Domingo has been forced to withdraw from the performances of Il trovatore on August 18, 21 and 24, 2014. Artur Ruciński will perform the role of Conte di Luna in his place.

read more ...

Director Alvis Hermanis on "Il trovatore"

9 AUG2014

by FESTSPIELKIEBITZ  11:55 h;
posted in: Opera, General

Tonight, the new production of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Il trovatore has its premiere at the Großes Festspielhaus. In Alvis Hermanis’ production, Anna Netrebko sings Leonora, Marie-Nicole Lemieux sings Azucena, and Francesco Meli as Manrico and Plácido Domingo as Conte di Luna take the other main roles under the baton of Daniele Gatti. A heartfelt “Break a leg!” to all involved!

read more ...

Alternative ways to get the Salzburg Festival experience!

7 AUG2014

by FESTSPIELKIEBITZ  11:51 h;
posted in: Opera, Concert, General

Once again, numerous Salzburg Festival productions are being recorded in cooperation with the exclusive media partners UNITEL CLASSICA, ORF, and ServusTV to broadcast via TV or radio on various stations. This presents a wonderful opportunity to experience the Salzburg Festival without purchasing tickets to the shows and sometimes these performances are aired live! Here’s a glimpse of the great variety of media productions scheduled for broadcast this year – mark the dates of your favourite productions in your calendar now!

read more ...

Untitled (The Sound of Speed and Light) – Image detail, © Robert Longo

CHOOSE DATE

Grosses Festspielhaus (Display seating plan with categories)

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SPONSOR

Supported by Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Il trovatore will be recorded by ORF in cooperation with UNITEL and ZDF for Arte in collaboration with the Salzburg Festival, the Viennese Philharmonics and CLASSICA and will be broadcasted as follows:
15.08.2014 at 8.15 pm at ORF 2 and Arte as well as CLASSICA

Sequence will be broadcasted at 22.08.2014 at 12.00 pm at ZDF in "Anna Netrebko – Die Kunst der Verwandlung“.

A recording of the premiere will be broadcast by ORF on Saturday, August 09, at 7:00 pm live on the Ö1 channel.

All information is subject to change.