Verdi's 'Il Trovatore' from Lyric Opera of Chicago

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Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Scene from Verdi's 'Il Trovatore' A Scene from Verdi's 'Il Trovatore' (Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

The troubadour Manrico and Count di Luna are bitter enemies. But in a twist of fate, they're both in love with Leonora — and they're brothers without knowing it.

Today at 1 pm, tune in for a broadcast of the Lyric Opera of Chicago's fall 2014 production starring Korean tenor Yonghoon Lee as Manrico, Hawaiian baritone (and recent Beverly Sills Artist Award winner) Quinn Kelsey as the Count, and American mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe as Azucena.

Emotions boil in this action-packed story that includes babies switched at birth, kidnapping, mistaken identity, poisoning, civil strife, witches burned at the stake, and a noblewoman who offers herself to a man she hates, to save the man she loves.

David McVicar's production, which updates the action to the Spanish Civil War era, debuted at the Lyric in 2006 and has since made the rounds to the Met and San Francisco Opera.

Ferrando: Andrea Silvestrelli
Inez:  J’nai Bridges
Leonora:  Amber Wagner
Count Di Luna:  Quinn Kelsey
Manrico:  Yonghoon Lee
Azucena:  Stephanie Blythe
An Old Gypsy:  Kenneth Nichols
A Messenger:  Timothy Bradley
Ruiz:  Jonathan Johnson
CONDUCTOR:  Asher Fisch
CHORUS:  Lyric Opera Chorus

Below: Jeff Spurgeon breaks down 'Il Trovatore' in three minutes:

Comments [16]

Luisa de NY from NYC

Fortunately, we have the pleasure of the music. My favorite Azucena was Fiorenza Cossotto who sang the first time I saw this opera, long, long ago. When she told the tale of throwing the baby into the fire, I was shocked at the verismo of her performance. I don't remember breathing but I must have because I'm still here and still listening! I would never guessed that Stephanie Blythe was in the role today. Usually she is terrific and I'll give her a pass for today's performance. There is no always, never or perfect--only human beings doing their job as best they can at a particular moment in time.

May. 30 2015 03:58 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

The singers did not do a great job today. Bellowing. This Spanish massacre deserves better singing. I listened because I love the score.

May. 30 2015 03:53 PM
Paul from Brooklyn, NY

The Met didn't have a great broadcast season this year, but this Trovatore makes the Met look better. Why would they want to broadcast this?

May. 30 2015 03:35 PM

The Leonora of Amber Wagner: truly awful.

May. 30 2015 03:07 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

There is a film made years ago with Deanna Durbin. She is in jail for a minor offense, traffic I think. She sings the Miserere with Jan Peerce. He portrays the policeman who took her to jail. Unfortunately, it was sung in English. He was rather wonderful. I remember his rendition of Bluebird of Happiness. Superb musician. Toscanini's favorite tenor.

May. 30 2015 03:05 PM

Yonghoon Lee: ouch ouch ouch, just awful Di quella pira, 12 second polite applause from the audience lol

May. 30 2015 03:01 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Yes, Ms Blythe is underpowered but overweight. Don't be angry folks. Her voice would improve with a healthier weight. She is also beautiful.
Il trovatore still has great music.
@Mr. Spurgeon: Very droll.

May. 30 2015 02:55 PM

my god what a boring cast, Blythe is underpowered for Azucena with pitch issues. Ouch.

Il Trovatore becomes a joke without great singers.

May. 30 2015 02:01 PM
Adele F (aka AF) from Nassau County, Long Island

p.s. to my previous comment: and I think that when Sherrill came along he reminded people of Leonard Warren--and so it goes.

May. 30 2015 01:42 PM
Adele F (aka AF) from Nassau County, Long Island

I am familiar with only one singer in this cast, and I like his voice VERY MUCH--that's Quinn Kelsey. But, alas, I admit to liking his voice because he reminds me of Sherrill Milnes, so I guess we are all influenced by voices from the past!

May. 30 2015 01:12 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

I have the recording with Jussi Bjoerling and Zinka Milanov. Lucky me but I will listen today. This is a wonderful Spanish Massacre. Hope the singers do it justice.

May. 30 2015 11:21 AM
Les from Miami, Florida

I abstain courteously on this cast. I'll be playing my own CD's or vinyl for this ultimate test of Italian opera singers' art; and I'll also be saying no to stupid updates at the same time (even though unseen by radio listeners). Which shall I choose? It's between Aureliano Pertile/Maria Carena/Irene Minghini-Cattaneo/Apollo Granforte and La Scala with Carlo Sabajno conducting, or Jussi Bjo"rling/Gina Cigna/Gertrude Wettergren/Mario Basiola and Covent Garden with Vittorio Gui conducting, or Mario del Monaco/Leyla Gencer/Fedora Barbieri/Ettore Bastianini and the RAI forces with Fernando Previtali conducting.

May. 30 2015 10:37 AM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Jeff Spurgeon did a funny synopsis for this opera this morning. We can all use a few laughs.

May. 30 2015 10:17 AM

OK, Cherubino, would you care to be more enlightening? The only unknown to me is Amber Wagner, but I found some evidence that she may be entirely listenable and perhaps a great deal more than that.

This Yankee is not fond of cryptic comments.


May. 30 2015 09:30 AM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

My favorite aria from this is Di Quella Pizza.
One of the cast, and I will not mention the name, has eaten too
many pizzas.
Do not want to upset anyone with a snarky remark.
But I bet some of the paying audience is thinking the same thing but is afraid to be so honest.
Everyone is SOOOO sensitive.
Opera is theatre.

May. 30 2015 07:08 AM
Cherubino from South of Y'all

With one exception, a fine cast.

May. 29 2015 02:16 PM

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