There is something quintessential about Verdi’s Il Trovatore. It is not, to be sure, the most performed opera in the canon (Carmen or La Bohème is more likely), nor is it the most iconic (that dubious honor belongs perhaps to Aida or Die Walküre). And yet all of opera’s most familiar elements (wags would say clichés) are here in spades: the vigorous, richly upholstered orchestral score; the seemingly fragile but finally tensile soprano; the villainous baritone whose foul mood is at least partly justified; the noble but, of course, ultimately doomed tenor; the overwrought mezzo-soprano who possesses a terrible secret; and, naturally, plenty of sword fights and a soldiers’ chorus. The mix is irresistible. The Metropolitan Opera has been among the many companies susceptible to Trovatore’s charms, staging it repeatedly since 1883. (The opera had its premiere in Rome...

 
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