Giuseppe Verdi

Il Trovatore, opera

    Description by Richard LeSueur

    The second of the three great middle period operas that solidified Verdi's fame, Il Trovatore is the work that is most based in the traditions of the first half of the nineteenth century. Based on a play by Gutierrez, the plot is filled with the twists and unlikely coincidences that, over the years, have made the opera the butt of many jokes. However, Verdi was stirred to the height of his inspiration by this work, and from its premiere it was an even greater success than its predecessor, Rigoletto.

    The original text was by one of the composer's favorite librettists Salvatore Cammarano, but Cammarano died soon after the initial draft was completed, forcing Verdi to turn to Leone Bardare for revisions. Verdi initially contemplated naming the opera after its Gypsy character, Azucena, but in the end the tenor ruled the day.

    In 1856, Verdi was commissioned to revise the opera slightly for a French version at the Paris Opéra; he added a ballet to the third act, rewrote the ending of the final scene, and made other minor revisions. None of these revisions have been incorporated into the standard performance version of the opera.

    The importance of Il Trovatore lies in its music; it displays some of the most ingratiating melodies Verdi ever wrote. It has been said that in order to mount a successful performance of this opera, all you need (!) are the four greatest Verdi voices available. From the soaring phrases of Leonora's opening aria to the martial excitement of Manrico's "Di quella pira," all of the conventional operatic forms are used to give the singers a chance to shine. Only Azucena does not have the traditional two-part aria, but she has some of the most memorable solos and duets in the entire opera. From her entrance with the drama of "Stride la vampa" to the tenderness of her Act Four duet with Manrico, she displays a full range of emotion. Di Luna, the baritone villain, is more one dimensional. The role of Manrico is one of the most difficult that Verdi wrote; he needs the grace of a lyric tenor for "Ah si, ben mio" and a full dramatic tenor sound for the following "Di quella pira" (which contains two unwritten high Cs that add considerably to its difficulty). Most tenors find it safer to have this aria transposed down in performance and some even do this on recordings.

    Verdi's Il Trovatore is among the last of the "stand and sing" operas: those that give their best effect when well sung, regardless of dramatic portrayals. With its wealth of great music, Il Trovatore will always be an audience favorite, while the critics will complain about its lack of subtlety.

    Parts/Movements

    1. No. 1a, Introduction
    2. No. 1b, All'erta!
    3. No. 1c, Di due figli
    4. No. 1d, Abbietta zingara
    5. No. 2a, Che più t'arresti?
    6. No. 2b, Come d'aurato
    7. No. 2c, Tacea la notte placida
    8. No. 2d, Di tale amor
    9. No. 3a, Tace la notte!
    10. No. 3b, Deserto sulla terra
    11. No. 3c, Non m'inganno
    12. No. 3d, Ah! dalle tenebre
    13. No. 3e, Di geloso amor
    14. No. 4a, Vedi! La fosche notturne spoglie [Anvil Chorus, Coro di Zingari]
    15. No. 4b, Stride la vampa!
    16. No. 5a, Soli or siam!
    17. No. 5b, Condotta all'era in ceppi
    18. No. 6a, Non son tuo figlio?
    19. No. 6b, Mal reggendo all'aspro assalto
    20. No. 6c, Perigliarti ancor languente
    21. No. 7a, Tutto è deserto
    22. No. 7b, Il balen del suo sorriso
    23. No. 7c, Per me ora fatale
    24. No. 8a, Ah! se l'error t'ingombra
    25. No. 8b, Perché piangete?
    26. No. 8c, Degg'io volgermi
    27. No. 8d, E deggio e posso creduto
    28. No. 9a, Or co dadi ma fra poco
    29. No. 9b, Squilli, echeggi
    30. No. 9c, Ballabile
    31. No. 10a, In braccio al mio rival!
    32. No. 10b, Giorni poveri vivea
    33. No. 10c, Deh! rallentate
    34. No. 11a, Quale d'armi fragor
    35. No. 11b, Ah! si, ben mio
    36. No. 11c, Di quella pira
    37. No. 12a, Siam giunti
    38. No. 12b, Timor di me?
    39. No. 12c, D'amor sull'ali rosee
    40. No. 12d, Miserere... Ah, che la morte ognora
    41. No. 12e, Tu vedrai che amore
    42. No. 13a, Udiste? Come albeggi?
    43. No. 13b, Qual voce!
    44. No. 13c, Mira, d'acerbe lagrime
    45. No. 13d, Vivrà! Contende il giubilo
    46. No. 14a, Madre, non dormi?
    47. No. 14b, Se m'ami ancor
    48. No. 14c, Ai nostri monti
    49. No. 14d, Che! Non m'inganno!
    50. No. 14e, Parlar non vuoi?
    51. No. 14f, Ti scosta!

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Urania WS 121366
    2017 Dynamic CDS 7769
    2016 Sony Classical 88985311342
    2015 Bongiovanni HOC 08586
    2014 Warner Classics 634094
    2013 United Classics T 2CD2012064
    2013 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099941674
    2012 Krescendo Records / Zebralution
    2012 VAI Audio VAIA 1274
    2012 Urania / Urania Records WS 121198
    2012 Myto Records MCD 00314
    2012 Decca 4783478
    2012 La Scala 008
    2012 Cetra / Warner Classics 2564661890
    2012 Bongiovanni HOC 07071
    2012 Decca
    2012 Broken Audio BRAUR 0188
    2011 Myto Historical / Myto Records 00269
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon 4779336
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon
    2011 Opera Australia OPOZ 56013CD
    2011 Sony Classical 88697986032
    2011 Oehms Classics OC 951
    2011 Walhall WLCD 0338
    2011 Sony Classical / Sony Classics 8869791006
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099964077
    2010 Preiser Records 20059
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon 001303802
    2009 Ponto [Mitridate] 2002
    2009 World of Classic / Zebralution
    2009 Opera Fanatic 5
    2009 Denon Records
    2008 GOP Great Opera Performances 66372
    2008 Royal Opera House Heritage Series 11
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 004400734458
    2008 EMI Classics 11973
    2008 EMI Classics 5628982
    2007 Allegro Corporation 9902
    2007 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 0946395918
    2007 Opera D'Oro 7045
    2007 Osteria 1001
    2007 Gala Records 760
    2007 Decca 000829702
    2007 BRV 9801
    2006 Opera D'Oro 5602
    2006 Deutsche Grammophon 000768402
    2006 Deutsche Grammophon 413355
    2006 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 0946377365
    2006 Deutsche Grammophon 4775915
    2006 Golden Melodram 50057
    2005 Bella Voce 107230
    2005 IDIS 6449/58
    2005 EMI
    2004 Ponto 1023
    2004 Decca 000262902
    2004 Preiser Records 20029
    2004 EMI Music Distribution 62901
    2004 Golden Melodram 60014
    2004 Arts Music 43045
    2004 Urania 11913
    2004 Preiser Records 89593
    2003 Caprice Records 22051
    2003 Aura Classics 1902
    2003 Orfeo 582032
    2003 Naxos Historical 8110240/41
    2002 Opera D'Oro 5009
    2002 EMI Music Distribution 57360
    2002 Sony Music Distribution 89553
    2002 Myto Records 22258
    2002 Warner Fonit 82663
    2002 Opera D'Oro 1338
    2002 Decca 470 589-2
    2002 Opera Legacies 6010
    2001 Fono Enterprise 1020
    2001 Opera D'Oro 5004
    2001 IDIS 6352/3
    2001 Myto Records 12243
    2001 Lyrica 11104
    2001 Living Stage 34721
    2001 Myto Records 11053
    2001 Naxos 8 1101623
    2001 Myto Records 13247
    2000 Preiser Records 90382
    2000 Bel Canto Society 5000
    2000 Datum 12313
    2000 Gala Records 100536
    2000 Chandos 3036
    2000 Arkadia 78033
    2000 Bel Canto Society 5012
    2000 Myto Records 2041
    2000 Opera D'Oro 1229
    2000 Gala Records 100505
    2000 Opera D'Oro 1268
    2000 Marston 52026-2
    1999 BMG / RCA Red Seal 74321 61951-2
    1999 Living Stage 34709
    1999 Urania 22115
    1999 Dynamic 225
    1998 Golden Melodram 20015
    1998 Decca 460735
    1998 Romophone 89003-2
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 453118
    1998 RCA 7432139504
    1997 Bluebell 045
    1997 Grammofono 2000 78737
    1997 Opera D'Oro 1129
    1997 London 448743
    1997 Bella Voce / BellaVoce 7216
    1997 EMI Music Distribution 56333
    1996 Arkadia 78007
    1995 London 430 694-2DHO2
    1995 Naxos 8 660023/4
    1995 Pantheon 6636
    1995 Philips 446151
    1995 Deutsche Grammophon 447 659-2GX2
    1994 Sony Music Distribution 48070
    1994 ASV CDDCS225
    1994 Myto Records 90213
    1993 Great Opera Performances 704
    1993 Legato Classics LCD173
    1992 Nimbus 7834
    1990 RCA 60560
    1990 RCA Victor 6643
    1988 Deutsche Grammophon 423858
    1987 EMI Music Distribution 49347
    1986 London 417137
    Serenissima 360101
    Arkadia 483
    Rodolphe 325
    Eagle Records 7000
    Golden Melodram 202002
    Pantheon 6621
    Disky 704
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    The Radio Years 44
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