Giuseppe Verdi

Il Trovatore

James Levine conducts Verdi’s thrilling depiction of life on the edge in his first performances of the work in 29 years. Sir David McVicar’s exhilarating production features Maria Agresta as the noble heroine, Leonora, Yonghoon Lee as the troubadour who loves her, Quinn Kelsey as his rival, and Anita Rachvelishvili as the Gypsy Azucena, whose bloodthirsty curse propels the story.

Production a gift of The Annenberg Foundation

Read Synopsis
  • Sung In
  • Italian
  • Met Titles In
  • English
  • German
  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • Estimated Run Time
  • 2 hrs 51 mins
  • House Opens
  • Act I & II 71 mins
  • Intermission 35 mins
  • Act III & IV 65 mins
  • Opera Ends
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Cast

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TBA

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World premiere: Teatro Apollo, Rome, 1853. Met premiere: October 26, 1883. Verdi’s turbulent tragedy of four characters caught in a web of family ties, politics, and love is a mainstay of the operatic repertory. The score is as melodic as it is energetic, with infectious tunes that are not easily forgotten. The vigorous music accompanies a dark and disturbing tale that revels in many of the most extreme expressions of Romanticism, including violent shifts in tone, unlikely coincidences, and characters who are impelled by raw emotion rather than cool logic.

Creators

In a remarkable career spanning six decades in the theater, Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901) composed 28 operas, at least half of which are at the core of today’s repertoire. Salvadore Cammarano (1801–1852) was one of the foremost librettists of his day. He collaborated with Donizetti (Lucia di Lammermoor, among others) and wrote the text for La Battaglia di Legnano and Luisa Miller for Verdi. After his death the Trovatore libretto was completed by fellow writer Leone Emanuele Bardare (1820–after 1874).

Production Sir David McVicar

Set Designer Charles Edwards

Costume Designer Brigitte Reiffenstuel

Lighting Designed by Jennifer Tipton

Choreographer Leah Hausman

Giuseppe Verdi

Composer

Giuseppe Verdi

Setting

The opera is originally set in northern Spain in the early 15th century, during a time of prolonged civil war. Audiences of the Romantic era understood civil war as a sort of societal schizophrenia, in which individuals could be easily torn apart, both physically and psychologically, by shifting fortunes and conflicted loyalties. The Met’s production places the action during the Peninsular War (1808–1814), when Spain and its allies were fighting the forces of Napoleon.

Music

Verdi’s score for Il Trovatore perfectly expresses the extreme nature of the drama at hand. Throughout the opera, the use of melody is as uninhibited as the emotions of the protagonists. But that melody often appears to be as disturbed as the situations it portrays: much of the score is written in uneven meters (such as 3/4 or 6/8), and even those segments that are set in common 4/4 time have vigorous counter-rhythms fighting against any sense of symmetry. Beyond the rhythmic irregularities, another feature of the score is the heavy use of minor keys in almost all of the main arias.

Met History

Il Trovatore was the third opera presented at the new Metropolitan Opera House in 1883. It remains a pillar of the repertoire with a total of nine new productions and four opening-night appearances. The 1940 production featured costumes by Mary Percy Schenck, a Broadway designer who also created the costumes for the Met’s new Ring cycle in 1948 and that same year won a Tony Award for her work on the play The Heiress.