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An Introduction to Verdi's Il trovatore
Roberto Servile, Thomson Smillie, Will Humburg
An Introduction to Verdi's Il trovatore
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
 
This series introduces, in words and music, the plot and background of major operas. Using the principal themes and arias, taken from the Naxos recording of the complete work, Thomson Smillie is informative yet entertainin...  more »

      
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This series introduces, in words and music, the plot and background of major operas. Using the principal themes and arias, taken from the Naxos recording of the complete work, Thomson Smillie is informative yet entertaining, enabling the listener to get more from this remarkable art form. Il trovatore has been ruthlessly parodied. It is a tale of murder and mayhem, burned babies, roasted hags, would-be nuns, strolling minstrels and bad baritones. And indeed the libretto does call for a willing suspension of disbelief. The reward is in the music, a score as prodigally melodic as only the mature Verdi could write: the ?Anvil? Chorus, the ?Miserere? scene, two great tenor arias, a beautiful baritone aria - a richness without embarrassment.

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CD Reviews

A Neat Introduction to 'Il Trovatore'
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 12/12/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is one of a continuing series of educational (and entertaining) discs about popular operas put out by Naxos. The idea is this: Thomson Smillie, a British-American opera expert, writes an extended introduction to the opera in which he gives the historical background both of the writing of the opera and of the story of the opera itself; the presentation is made by actor David Timson who then takes us scene by scene, aria by aria, through the opera. In each case the music is provided by a complete opera recording in the Naxos catalog. In this case, it is the recording of Verdi's 'Il Trovatore' ('The Troubador') with Will Humburg conducting the Hungarian State Opera Orchestra, the Budapest Festival Chorus, and soloists, most of whom are not well-known in the world at large but who are more than adequate. This particular recording of 'Trovatore' is one of the better efforts on the Naxos label and introduces us to standout singers such as Daniela Longhi (Leonora), Maurizio Frusoni (Manrico), Roberto Servile (Count di Luna) and Irina Tschistiakova (Azucena). This disc and the others in the series provide a very good way to become familiar with the opera in question and it is easy to imagine representatives of this series (which now numbers 15 operas) being used in classrooms, arts organizations and in your own listening room.Recommended.Scott Morrison"