CHICAGO – Lyric Opera of Chicago presents Verdi’s Il Trovatore in a revival of the acclaimed production from renowned director Sir David McVicar, conducted by Asher Fisch. It opens Monday, October 27 with 8 performances through Saturday, November 29. Performance dates: Oct. 27, Nov. 12, 15, 18, 21, and 29 at 7:30pm; and Nov. 5 and 9 at 2pm.
One of the most memorably melodic and dramatically barnstorming of all romantic Italian operas, Il Trovatore centers on the gypsy Azucena (mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe), who has raised Manrico (tenor Yonghoon Lee) as her son. She harbors a dark secret, however, as to his true birth. Both a troubadour and a warrior, Manrico is in love with the noblewoman Leonora (soprano Amber Wagner), who is also loved by Manrico’s enemy, Count di Luna (baritone Quinn Kelsey). The Count has spent his life searching for his brother, who died under mysterious circumstances involving a gypsy. Urged on by his henchman Ferrando (bass Andrea Silvestrelli), the Count takes Azucena prisoner, leading to tragic consequences for all concerned. Quinn Kelsey and Amber Wagner are alumni of The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, Lyric’s premier artist-development program.
Asher Fisch conducts this production, originally directed by Sir David McVicar. The revival director and choreographer is Leah Hausman. The sets are designed by Charles Edwards, the costumes by Brigitte Reiffenstuel, and the lighting by Jennifer Tipton. Michael Black is chorus master.
“Il Trovatore is full of vocal showpieces. Finding the demonic energy that drives the piece is the central musical and theatrical challenge,” notes Anthony Freud, Lyric’s general director. “The David McVicar production presents a bold, exciting vision of the piece, and with Asher Fisch leading our topflight cast, the Lyric audience will discover the glories of this piece all over again.”
This production moves the action to Spain in the early 1800s, during the time of the Peninsular War, but according to director Sir David McVicar, the message of the opera is both epic and timeless. “The theme in the play that got Verdi’s attention was a nation pulling itself apart, and the idea of two brothers in conflict not realizing they’re from the same family,” says McVicar. “That interests me—the idea that as a community, a nation, a world, we could be ripping ourselves apart because we can’t recognize our similarities, only our differences.”
The Oct. 27 opening night performance will be broadcast live on 98.7WFMT and streamed on wfmt.com starting at 7:15pm. For those listening to the broadcast, live mobile titles will be available at lyricoperalive.org.
Operagoers can also enjoy the exhibit DON GIOVANNI: Past to Present before curtain and during intermission of all performances of Il Trovatore. Located in the Opera Club Wine Cellar on the lower level of the Civic Opera House, this new exhibit showcases the 60-year history of Mozart’s Don Giovanni at Lyric and pays tribute to the new production that opened Lyric’s 2014-15 season. It is free to all ticket holders and will be on display through December.
For tickets and information call (312) 827-5600 or go to lyricopera.org.
Watch video and read articles about this production at lyricopera.org/InsideTrovatore.
The Lyric Opera production of Il Trovatore is generously made possible by an Anonymous Donor, Julie and Roger Baskes, the Howard Family Foundation, and the Mazza Foundation.
To download a PDF of score cuts, click the link below:
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Founded in 1954, Lyric Opera of Chicago’s mission is to express and promote the life-changing, transformational, revelatory power of great opera. Lyric exists to provide a broad, deep, and relevant cultural service to Chicago and the nation, and to advance the development of the art form.
Lyric is dedicated to producing and performing consistently thrilling, entertaining, and thought-provoking opera with a balanced repertoire of core classics, lesser-known masterpieces, and new works; to creating an innovative and wide-ranging program of community engagement and educational activities; and to developing exceptional emerging operatic talent.
Under the leadership of general director Anthony Freud, music director Sir Andrew Davis, and creative consultant Renée Fleming, Lyric strives to become the great North American Opera Company for the 21st century: a globally significant arts organization embodying the core values of excellence, relevance, and fiscal responsibility.