Metropolitan Opera broadcasts continue on Classical 90.5 at 11:00 a.m. this Saturday, February 13, with a performance of Il Trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi, set to an Italian libretto by Salvadore Cammarano and Leone Emanuele Bardare, who completed the text after Cammarano died in 1852. The performance will run approximately three hours. Marco Armiliato conducts.
Verdi’s turbulent tragedy of four characters caught in a web of family ties, politics, and love is a mainstay of the operatic repertory. The score is as melodic as it is energetic, with infectious tunes that are not easily forgotten. The vigorous music accompanies a dark and disturbing tale that revels in many of the most extreme expressions of Romanticism, including violent shifts in tone, unlikely coincidences, and characters who are impelled by raw emotion rather than cool logic.
The opera is originally set in northern Spain in the early 15th century, during a time of prolonged civil war. Audiences of the Romantic era understood civil war as a sort of societal schizophrenia, in which individuals could be easily torn apart, both physically and psychologically, by shifting fortunes and conflicted loyalties. The Met’s production places the action during the Peninsular War (1808–1814), when Spain and its allies were fighting the forces of Napoleon.