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"