The Covent Garden stage is dark, covered with barb wire and full of flames for director David Bösch’s new production of Verdi’s great epic Il trovatore. Back in the 19th century, when it was first staged, many critics respected the work for its composition and the musical mastery of Verdi, however, there were many reservations over the horrifying and perplexing nature of its storyline. This entails child death (similar to what’s showing down the road at the ENO’s production of Jenufa), vengeful gypsy mothers, family feuds and war. Of course, the tragic opera isn’t complete without lovers caught in the fire, set back by impossible circumstances.
Revenge, anger, hatred and determination, to right the wrongs of the past, are the core pillars of this opera classic, which makes Il trovatore a passionate and engrossing work of art. The troubadour Manrico steals the heart of Leonora who is also loved by Manrico’s rival Count di Luna. Manrico’s mother Azucena seeks revenge on those who murdered her own mother, while Count di Luna vows to find his lost brother Garzia, believed to have been murdered by Azucena.