Between 3 and 25 July, the Teatro Real will show 14 performances of a new production of Il trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi, in a collaboration with the Opera of Monte Carlo and the Royal Danish Opera, where the production premiered last year.
The performance of Il trovatore on Saturday, 6 July will kick off programming for the 5th edition of Opera (6-14 July) and will be broadcast for the general public at 9.00 pm, on the Teatro Real's Facebook page, on its opera, OperaVision (Opera Europa's platform) and on screens in towns across Spain.
Registration will remain open until next Sunday, 30 June for all those who wish to host a viewing of Il trovatore at their cultural centres, town halls, squares, auditoriums, etc. and participate in the opera festival sponsored by the Teatro Real: firstname.lastname@example.org
Eighteen years after the great triumph of Antonio García Gutiérrez's(1813-1884) El Trovador (1836), Giuseppe Verdi commissioned the veteran librettist Salvatore Cammarano to transform the Spanish romantic poet's multifaceted drama into a libretto that would avoid traditionally closed-off operatic tropes such as arias, cabelletas, cavatinas, duets, trios, choruses, etc., instead prioritising continuity and fluidity in the dramaturgical discourse. Cammarano, despite dying without finishing the opera, created a libretto that incorporates all the formal clichés of the time, but with a structural balance: four acts divided into two scenes of unequal duration.
In the opera, two plot lines intersect: the thirst for revenge of the gypsy Azucena, whose mother and son were burnt at the stake, and the love triangle in which Leonora is fought over by two enemy suitors, representing opposing families, classes and ideologies.
Working with this libretto, Verdi composed an opera full of dramatic nerve, melodic beauty and great theatrical effects; the dizzying opera flows freely, bypassing the incongruences and excesses of the libretto: high-voltage music emerges and resoundingly drags the audience to a collective, indecent and inevitable catharsis.
The production of Il trovatore at the Teatro Real is the brainchild of Francisco Negrín, who aims to help the audience to delineate the dark meanderings of the drama, highlighting their hidden impulses. Starting with the metaphorical elements of the libretto—time, fire and night—Negrín shows the ghosts and visions of the protagonists, trapped in their inheritance of a gruesome past, which appears in the plot's constant flashbacks.
Maurizio Benini will conduct this popular summer title, having previously conducted Tosca and L'elisir d'amore at the Teatro Real, with staging by Francisco Negrín, who we saw in 2010's L'Arbore di Diana, by Vicent Martín y Soler.
Three casts will bring Verdi's popular "gothic drama" to life. The leading quartet for the world premier and broadcast of the opera will be composed of tenor Francesco Meli (Manrico, il trovatore), soprano Maria Agresta (Leonora), mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk (Azucena) and baritone Ludovic Tézier (Count of Luna). The same roles will later be played by Piero Pretti, Hibla Gerzmava, Marie-Nicole Lemieux and Artur Rucinski (second cast); and Piero Pretti, Lianna Haroutounian, Marina Prudenskaya and Dimitri Platanias (third cast). All casts will feature Italian bass Roberto Tagliavini, soprano Cassandre Berthon and tenors Fabián Lara and Moisés Marín.
This is Il trovatore's third revival at the Teatro Real: first in 2000, with García Navarro and Elijah Moshinsky; and in 2007, with Nicola Luisotti for the same production, since it was performed more than 300 times between 1854 (the date of its premier in Madrid) and 1925. Now, as back then, this title is one of Spain's most beloved operas.
SCHEDULE | PARALLEL ACTIVITIES
Until 30 June | Teatro Real, Main Room, Workshops, Rehearsal Rooms
Uncover Opera: Il trovatore: A workshop to uncover all the secrets behind the production of Il trovatore, with the people who make it possible, showing everything from how the stage itself works, to the staging, to choir, orchestra, and ensemble rehearsals. The workshop will culminate with participants attending the opera's dress rehearsal on Sunday, June 30.
6 July at 9.00 pm | Teatro Real, Plaza de Oriente, around the world and on Palco Digital
Major international broadcast of Il trovatore: The Teatro Real will take opera to the streets by placing three giant screens in the Plaza de Oriente, which will broadcast Il Trovatore from the Main Hall of the Theatre. Over 150 cultural centres, plazas and theatres across Spain, the rest of Europe, the Americas and Asia will join this broadcast; it will also be available through the Palco Digital online platform for free.
From 8-11 July at 7 pm and 12 July at 6.30 pm | Teatro Real, Sala Gayarre and Palco Digital
Verdi on the big screen: to mark the 155th anniversary of Giuseppe Verdi's birth, a film cycle will be organised at the Sala Gayarre, which will broadcast five operas by the Italian composer that have been performed at the Teatro Real in previous seasons: La traviata, Aida, Falstaff, Un ballo in maschera and Otello.
9 July at 6 pm and 11 July at 12 noon | National Archaeological Museum, Vault Room
Touching history: The coins of Il trovatore, Manrico and Leonora's wedding coins: The National Archaeological Museum will offer an exclusive visit to its vault with the curators of its coin department, who will exhibit a series of 15th-century coins that the protagonists of Il Trovatore could have used. Free activity (10 spots), with prior reservations to be made at email@example.com
10 July at 7 pm | Palacio de la Aljafería, Zaragoza
The Aljafería Palace, of opera and legends: The Aljafería Palace in Zaragoza will host a conference with writer Miguel Angel Yusta as speaker, followed by a one-hour visit to the Tower of the Trovador, where Antonio García Gutiérrez developed part of the plot to El trovador—the work on which Giuseppe Verdi's opera is based. Free admission until spots are filled.
Until 31 July | Museum of Romanticism, museum galleries
A work of art, an opera: During the entire month of July, in relation to the premier of Il trovatore, the Museum of Romanticism will exhibit a fan from its collection with the image of Marietta Gazzaniga, the soprano whose interpretation of the gypsy Azucena brought her immense fame at the end of her career in the 19th century.