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Watch: How to play an operatic tyrant

The cast and creative team of Verdi’s Il trovatore on what makes the opera's score and characters so impactful.

By Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer)

6 February 2017 at 3.08pm | Comment on this article

‘The music grabs you by the scruff of the neck. It’s like a blockbuster.’

As English conductor Richard Farnes explains in this film, Verdi's captivating score ensures audiences remain glued to the action on-stage throughout Il trovatore.

The plot, too, packs a punch: the opera begins midway through the story of a gypsy, Azucena, who plans to avenge the Luna family's murder of her mother by abducting their youngest son. Years later, Count di Luna aims to win the heart of noble lady Leonora. She, however, has other ideas, and is in love with a revolutionary named Manrico – who looks strangely familiar.

German director David Bösch says the opera is about love, fear, and violence and ‘everything that is human’. Set against the background of a civil war, Bösch explains the onstage tension between two very different worlds – ‘the cold world of the soldiers and the world of the gypsies with their freedom for living.’

‘Its freedom that is missing in Leonora’s life; what matters is to be with the man she loves,’ agrees Armenian soprano Lianna Haroutounian who plays the woman at the centre of the love triangle. Leonora is caught between a revolutionary, Manrico, played by American tenor Gregory Kunde, and the tyrannical Count di Luna.

‘For me, the Count is a little bit crazy,’ explains Ukrainian baritone Vitaliy Bilyy. ‘Outside he is a strong man but it’s really just a show for everybody. That’s interesting.’

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Il trovatore runs until 8 February 2017. The production was broadcast to cinemas worldwide on 31 January 2017

The production is a co-production with Frankfurt Opera and is staged with generous philanthropic support from the Royal Opera House Endowment Fund.

By Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer)

6 February 2017 at 3.08pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged by David Bosch, by Giuseppe Verdi, by Verdi, cinema, David Bösch, Film, Gregory Kunde, Il trovatore, Lianna Haroutounian, Production, Richard Farnes, Vitaliy Bilyy, YouTube

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