Il Trovatore è la seconda opera della “trilogia popolare” di Giuseppe Verdi creato tra Rigoletto e La Traviata.Il Trovatore è un dramma in quattro atti e otto quadri, ambientato in Spagna al principio del secolo XV, che racconta, con un bel canto espressivo, fiammeggianti passioni come l’amore, la gelosia, la vendetta, l’odio e la lussuria .Manrico e il Conte di Luna, innamorati della stessa donna, nel dramma si fronteggiano fino alla morte come nemici, senza sapere che sono fratelli.Appartenenti a due diverse classi sociali, essi condividono solo l’amore di Leonora il chè raddoppia l’esistente astio del conflitto sociale.Il dramma in alcune parti potrebbe cadere nell’incredibile, ma la musica di Verdi e la poesia del libretto riscattano l’opera trasformandola nell’opera migliore del musicista.
Il 1851 fu un anno di grande impegno per Giuseppe Verdi che da Parigi, dopo il successo del Rigoletto, lavora a distanza con il librettista napoletano Salvatore Cammarano al libretto de “Il Trovatore”, ma nel contempo ha firmato un contratto con l’Opéra di Parigi per una nuova opera “Les Vêpres siciliennes”.
Verdi stesso aveva consigliato il librettista Salvatore Cammarano di ispirarsi al soggetto di “El Trovador” dello scrittore spagnolo Antonio Garcìa-Gutiérrez, un dramma d’ispirazione romantica, rappresentato a Madrid nel 1836 e che aveva colpito il Maestro per la potenza e l’originalità della trama e dei personaggi.
Nel marzo 1852 il Maestro tornò a Busseto, assieme a Giuseppina, e continuò a lavorare sul Trovatore, pur essendo continuamente ostacolato dalle precarie condizioni di salute del suo librettista e da quelle del padre (la madre era morta l’anno prima). Corrispondeva inoltre con Francesco Maria Piave per il libretto della Traviata.
Il 19 gennaio 1853 Il Trovatore viene rappresentato all’Apollo di Roma e per Verdi fu un successo senza precedenti: il pubblico ne fu entusiasta, La Gazzetta Musicale lo definì come un trionfo meritato e Il Trovatore fu definito un capolavoro, come viene considerato tutt’oggi.
Composed: 1853 by Giuseppe Verdi
Premiered: January 19, 1853 – Teatro Apollo, Rome, Italy
The Setting of Il Trovatore
Verdi’s Il Trovatore takes place in a 15th-century Spanish town.
Within the guardroom at the Palace of Aragon, Captain Ferrando orders his men to keep watch for Manrico, the troubadour and enemy of Count di Luna. di Luna paces impatiently outside underneath Lady Leonora’s bedroom waiting for Manrico to arrive.
di Luna is in love with Leonora, but she is in love with Manrico. In an effort to keep the guards from falling asleep, Ferrando tells a story of the Count’s history. The Count had a younger brother who was made weak and ill by a gypsy woman many years ago. For that, the king had sentenced her to death and she was burned at the stake. As she burned, she commanded her daughter, Azucena, to avenge her. Azucena kidnapped the baby and threw him into the pit of fire to burn alongside her mother. Though an infant’s bones were found in the ashes, the king refused to believe his son’s death. On his deathbed many years later, he commanded his son, di Luna, to seek Azucena.
Inside Leonora’s room, she confides in her friend, Ines, and tells her she loves Manrico. Though Ines expresses reservations, Leonora brushes them away. Leonora hears Manrico’s voice outside in the distance and runs outside to greet him.
In the dark, she mistakes di Luna for Manrico, but luckily Manrico soon appears. She quickly runs to his side to embrace him. Jealously, di Luna calls for a duel. Manrico accepts, even though Leonora does all she can to stop the duel. The two men run off into the night to fight.
In the early dawn light, Manrico sits next to his mother’s bedside within the gypsy camp, and the gypsies are heard singing the famous anvil chorus.
Still remembering her mother’s plea for vengeance, Azucena tells Manrico a life changing story. She tells them that when she sought the king’s child, she mistakenly grabbed her own baby threw him into the pit of fire. Even though Manrico realizes he is not her biological son, he swears to her that his love for her is unchanged. After all, she has always been loving and faithful to him. He swears to his mother that he will help her seek vengeance, but he was unable to kill di Luna. Even though Manrico won the duel, he tells her that he felt a strange power come over him, stopping him from taking di Luna’s life. Moments later, a messenger arrives bringing news that Leonora, believing that Manrico is dead, has entered into a convent. Determined to stop her, he makes haste to Leonora despite his mother’s objections.
Outside of the convent, di Luna has devised a plan to kidnap Leonora. His passion for her burns even more intensely than before. As Leonora and the nuns make their way inside, di Luna sets his plan in motion. However, Manrico arrives just in time to save Leonora, and the two quickly set out hand in hand, escaping di Luna and his men.
di Luna has set up camp not far from where Manrico and Leonora are staying.
Ferrando brings in Azucena after finding her wandering outside. She claims to be looking for her lost son. When di Luna reveals his identity, Azucena is taken aback. In that moment, Ferrando recognizes her as the murderer of di Luna’s younger brother. di Luna orders her to be burnt at the stake.
Manrico and Leonora are happily in love and are about to give their hands to one another in marriage. As they say their vows, Manrico’s friend, Ruiz, rushes in to tell them that Azucena was captured and sentenced to burn at the stake. Manrico stops everything and rushes to her aid.
When Manrico arrived outside of his mother’s prison, he too was captured. Ruiz brings Leonora to the prison where she vows to save him. Not long after, di Luna arrives. Wanting nothing more than her lover’s freedom, she pledges herself to di Luna, but secretly, she swallows poison.
She will not let di Luna have her.
Within their cell, Manrico comforts his aging mother, who has now begun to fall asleep, dreaming of sweeter days. Leonora arrives and urges Manrico to escape. However, after learning how she has managed to do this, he feels betrayed and refuses to leave his cell. Within moments, the effects of the poison begin to show and Leonora falls into Manrico’s arms. She tells Manrico that she’d rather die in his arms than to be married to another man. di Luna walks into the cell moments after Leonora dies and sees her lifeless body in Manrico’s arms. He orders his men to execute Manrico. Azucena arises when she sees the execution carried through and shouts that her mother has been avenged, for di Luna has killed his own brother!