Verdi’s Il Trovatore at Teatro Ángela Peralta
By Michael Pearl
Pro Musica presents its third annual opera production at Teatro Ángela Peralta, Friday, February 21, at 7pm, and Sunday, February 23, at 5pm. We will be staging Verdi’s masterpiece, Il Trovatore (The Troubador), a veritable feast of thrilling arias and dramatic action.Opera Pro Musica Presents: Verdi’s Il Trovatore Fri, Feb, 21, 7pm Sun, Feb 23, 5pm Teatro Ángela Peralta 600/500/250/150 promusicasma.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of the greatest operas often seem to teeter on a knife-edge between the profound and the preposterous, and Il Trovatore is no exception. But that’s what makes opera so compelling—stunning music and singing interwoven with a raft of over-the-top characters, populating a story so unlikely that, maybe, it just could have happened!
And compelling it is…right from its premiere in 1853, it was wildly successful and has remained so ever since. So why is Il Trovatore one of the most popular operas of all time? The answer can be heard in just about every number in the score; it’s the music. Il Trovatore features more outstanding tenor arias than nearly any other opera; particularly for the troubador, Manrico, sung by the huge voice of Rodrigo Garciarroyo. There is also a series of memorable soprano arias for Leonora, the marvelous Enivia Mendoza, our Floria Tosca in 2012; some truly searing music for Azucena; the mezzo-soprano and Mexico City Bellas Artes sensation Carla López-Speziale; and a couple of Verdi’s signature, achingly beautiful, baritone arias of Count di Luna, sung by Armando Gama. And that’s not to mention the famous Anvil Chorus!
In the end, all that music has been more than enough to keep the work firmly planted in the world’s opera houses for more than 150 years. It may need a keen mind to keep track of just who betrayed whom, who threw which baby into the fire, and exactly how all these confounding characters wound up in the same opera in the first place; but if you don’t leave Teatro Ángela Peralta whistling a tune from the opera…it’s only because there are too many to choose from!
When Verdi chose Antonio Gutiérrez’ 1836 blood and thunder epic for his story, he was making a conscious decision to set a very modern play to music. The composer, at the very height of his powers, was inspired to tackle a story set during a period of civil upheaval, much like those rocking his own world of Risorgimento Italy. That he chose a historical Spanish setting said more for the theatrical censorship of the day than anything else. What is certain is that he meant Il Trovatore to feel contemporary. He wanted it to reverberate with his audience. Our Director, Ragnar Conde, who staged this production at the Monterrey Opera House a few years ago, will maintain that tradition.
A contemporary staging certainly makes sense of a great deal of the partisan to-ings and fro-ings that frequently impinge on the romantic love triangle at the heart of the drama. And in a world still riven with conflict and civil unrest, Ragnar’s staging achieves a resonance that feels as immediate as today’s news footage. The sense of street fighting and of neighbor against neighbor is vividly conveyed.
Any staging of Il Trovatore needs to convey a freshness of purpose, especially if it is to avoid some of the melodrama in Salvatore Cammerano’s libretto, and Conde certainly achieves this. It was Caruso who famously said that all you need to stage Il Trovatore are the four greatest singers in the world. His quip has held many a staging to ransom over the years, but we certainly have the best cast in Mexico, and they, the music and the innovative production will keep you on the edge of your seat all evening.
There are a very limited number of VIP packages and I urge you to purchase yours without delay to avoid the disappointment of not being able to attend an unforgettable gala. For those of you not wanting the VIP package, this would also be a good time to purchase tickets for the opera itself, which are priced from 150 to 600 pesos.
Tickets for all performances of Il Trovatore and VIP packages may be purchased on our newly designed website, promusicasma.com, by credit card via PayPal, and at our ticket sales outlets: St. Paul’s Church, calle Cardo 6, Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm; as well as at La Tienda in La Biblioteca, Insurgentes 25; Solutions, Mesones 57; La Conexión, Aldama 3; daily until 2pm on Saturday, and at the door half an hour before the concert begins.
The quality of the music and opera Pro Musica brings to San Miguel, our unique Rhythm, Rhyme & Reason program, teaching music in underprivileged schools in the campo, and our work in the city’s orphanages, costs increasing amounts of money to provide. The best way to help us fund our activities is to become a Patron Member. Patron membership costs as little US$100 per year, is US tax deductible, and includes many benefits, such as complimentary concert tickets and Meet the Artists suppers and cocktail parties. For information on all of Pro Musica’s concerts for the 2013-2014 season and Patron Membership, please visit our website: promusicasma.com or email email@example.com.