While I still consider myself a novice in all things Opera, I have, in fact, attended every production of L’Opéra to Montréal’s 2011-2012 season to date. This gives me some authority to tell you that, if you are considering seeing a show this season, see Il Trovatore!
Already one of the most popular operas worldwide, Verdi’s Il Trovatore is a wonderfully passionate, poignant, and powerful demonstration of how one can be moved by song. A convincing portrayal of a woman pursued by a Count but in love with a Troubadour. Set against a backdrop of vengeance, both Leonora and Manrico must fight till the very end to be together against all odds.
Unlike many of the more elaborate sets and costumes of previous productions, simplicity is what made this story of ill-fated lovers believable. The lighting was a wonderful production unto itself, playing perfectly off the minimalist, yet bold, set designs. Soldiers, counts, and ladies alike were given larger than life stature against the graphic backdrop of iron like structures.
The singers all brought amazing strength to their roles; Laura Brioli (Azucena – mother of Manrico), in particular, solicited not one, but two “BRAVA”s from audience members. Dongwon Shin (Manrico) also received a well-deserved “BRAVA” from an enthusiastic spectator. Such outbursts never having occurred in my previous forays, I much appreciated the crowd’s enthusiasm for the performances. Another new factor in my experience was multiple pauses allotted for set changes. This surprised me given that, as aforementioned, the sets did not appear to be complex, though they were admittedly grandiose.
You will be truly delighted when you reach the “Anvil Chorus” (Coro di zingari) and are treated to a piece I almost consider the theme song for opera. The power of hearing all those gifted voices singing at once is enough to make you truly happy you left the warmth of your home and supported L’Opéra de Montréal.
Il Trovatore – 21, 24, 26, 28 January 2012, 7:30 pm