20 July 2016 at 11.21am | 2 Comments
Even for those who have never set foot in an opera house, Verdi’s Anvil Chorus is likely to be a familiar tune. Its rousing tune and rhythmic percussion – including, frequently, anvils played on stage on and off the beat – makes it something of an archetype for a bold, cheery Italian chorus.
The chorus marks a moment of levity in an otherwise dark opera plot of revenge, mistaken identity and tragedy; but the Anvil Chorus tells of the virtues of hard work, the beauty of gypsy women, and the benefits of a large glass of wine, with words by librettist Salvadore Cammarano.
In this performance, a production directed by David Bösch, a troupe of gypsies take the stage in larger-than-life costumes – striking their anvils at dawn before the mood shifts and we hear from Azucena, the gypsy woman who is determined to avenge her mother’s death after she was burnt at the stake by the Count di Luna.
Discover more about the role of the chorus in opera in the exhibition Opera: Passion, Power and Politics, at the V&A Museum 30 September 2017–25 February 2018.