Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Il Trovatore

On this quiet, early morning, thunderous music surrounds me!
by Charlie Leck

On this day, January 19, one-hundred and fifty years ago, at the Teatro Apollo in Rome, Giuseppe Verdi’s extraordinary opera, Il Trovatore, was premiered. More than two years later, in May of 1855, significantly revised, it was performed in New York City at the Academy of Music.

I am not, by any means, an aficionado of great opera; yet, if I needed to pick one particular opera I could see, it would be this work by Verdi. Why? My answer is not that of an opera expert or musically inclined person. I simply like the music – especially the triumphant pieces. I think so many of the various movements from this opera are stunning and inspirational. It is the only opera I have in recorded format. Occasional (usually during the winter) I pull it out to listen to it.

If you want to see and hear what I am talking about, you can watch and listen on You Tube as Giuseppe Sinopoli conducts the famous Anvil Chorus from Verdi’s opera Il Trovatore (The Troubadour).

This morning, needing a boost of energy and some motivation, I have my CD of the opera playing here on my computer as I write. My recording is one done in 1976 featuring Liciano Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland, Marilyn Home, Ingvar Wixell and Nicolai Ghiaurov. Richard Bonynge conducts the National Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Opera Chorus. I like it very much but I don’t know how it ranks among other great recordings. I’ve heard Pl├ícido Domingo do some of the songs from Il Trovatore and he is remarkable. So is Jose Carreras.

Errico Caruso once explained that it would only take four of the greatest singers in the world to successfully perform Il Trovatore.

Again on You Tube, you can listen to the extraordinary Soldier’s Chorus. It will give you more of a sense of the operatic nature of this work.

And also, here is Pavarotti, in a performance at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, singing Di Quella Pira from Il Trovatore.

As in most Opera, as far as I am concerned, it is not the story that attracts us; and, in this case in particular, Il Trovatore does not tell a compelling tale. I won’t even bore you with it. To me, it is the grandness of the music that is so attractive.

Enough for the 19 January 2010 post. The year is upon wings and is flying!

Thanks for opening your wallets and your hearts!
So many of you wrote back after my blog of a few days ago about the crisis in Haiti, telling me you have already made, or soon will make, contributions to the great needs there. Thanks so much for both coming to my blog occasionally and for being so generous in this time of great brotherly need.

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