Il Trovatore Notes

Notes on Verdi's Il Trovatore
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  Il Trovatore Notes: General: Librettist: Salvadore Cammarano and Leone Emanuele Bardare Date: January 1853 Theatre and City: Teatro Apollo, Rome Source Material: El trovador Source Material Author: Antonio García Gutiérrez Source Material Date: 1836 Issues of Innovation:    It’s sheer bleakness  was on a new scale for tragic opera: o   The two lovers both die and it seems there is not one character who ends happy. o   Spoke to the audience as a type of truth of the times    2 Strong Female Roles:      Storyline was extremely new and innovative:   o   Use of past and present (two storylines playing out at the same time). o   Past: the death of Azucena’s mum and her mistaken revenge in killing her own son o   Present: The war between Manrico (and the gypies) and Il Conte di Luna.    Lack of Overture:   o   Verdi wanted to actually begin the opera in scene 2 but Cammarano insisted on having the first scene with Ferrando explaining a bit of the backstory to the plot.    The opera would probably have suffered without it.    More extensive use of offstage singing:   o   Developing on from Rigoletto   o   Eg. Manrico’s entrance after Leonora’s ‘Tacea la notte’ hears him singing the troubadour song offstage. o   Eg. The ‘miserere’ tempo di mezzo   in Leonora’s Act III aria has manrico, once again, singing the troubadour song offstage with the monk chorus (also offstage) singing the ‘miserere’.      Onstage percussive sounds being used in the music:   o   Julian Budden: Striking of the anvils in Act IIs ‘Anvil Chorus’ was extremely new to the audience and made it a stand out moment of the opera.    Provides a strong sense of the work the gipsys do and in turn sets a very strong ‘working feeling to contrast what is about to come from Azucena and so enhancing it’       Operatic Form:    REVERTING TO NORMAL FORMS, MANY CRITICS SUGGEST A STEP BACK FROM RIGOLETTO.      Julian Budden:  A very conventional libretto led to the need for a more conventional musical structure but Verdi showed his distaste by stretching them to their limits. o   Verdi asked for but didn’t get ‘new and bizzare’ forms in the libretto.    Philip Friedheim- Suggestion that libretto functions as lots of separate scenes with no clear dramatic line holding them all together- they each function separately and do not carry the weight of the previous scene through. o   Suggests this is the reason why Verdi found himself reverting to more separate and small operatic forms to create the opera.    Julian Budden:  Act II - ‘Stride la vampa’   o   1 st    movement ‘stride la vampa’      Is almost diagetic, a song that would be sung all the time.    Reminiscent of the first scene of Act 1, helps create the contrast between the two stories that are talking about the same occurrence from two different sides.    Hovers on a B which acts differently within chords of Gmajor and E minor- it sticks around and feels like a relentless yolk on Azucena’s back.   o   Tempo di mezzo:    Chorus leave, depressed but Azucena pays no notice.    Manrico demands to hear his grandmother’s story, which spurs Azucena into the 2 nd  movement of the double aria. o   2 nd  Movement: ***- FIND NAME    Azucena picks up the story where Ferrando leaves off    The music and emotions her are juxtaposed in a bizzare way. Not madness but sheer complexity and conflict within the character.    Julian budden:  ACT III - Manrico’s Aria:   o   Movement 1: ‘Ah si, ben mio’ adagio      Manrico is declaring his love for Leonora as they are about to approach their wedding day.    There is a lot of imagery of death again, ‘I will die for you’ etc.    Contains a rising arpeggio motif in the orchestra, part of the tinta of trovatore   o   Tempo di mezzo:    Manrico and Leonora have a short arioso duet (20 bars) that is the closest they get to a love duet.    Underpinned by an organ, creating the feeling of a wedding and the ideals of religion and purity    The Ruiz comes in and tells Manrico that Azucena has been captured and is going to be executed.     This tempo di mezzo has a lot of action in it and develops the plot a lot more than a conventional tempo di mezzo o   Movement 2: ‘Di quella pira’      Manrico orders his men to help him save his mother.    Moves from Db –   C major (from Leonora’s key to Azucena’s key), from long lyrical themes to short, rhythmic patterns (Leonora –  Azucena).    Becomes a very big contrasting aria, this second movement tears Manrico’s mind away from Leonora and to Azucena.      Top C put into the opera by the tenor Tamberick with Verdi’s consent.      A very rousing second movement, that spoke to the people of Italy as a sign of standing up against oppression.    HEROIC- REALLY CHARACTERISES MANRICO AS THE HERO- giving up his happiness with Leonora for saving his mother.    Julian Budden: Leonora’s Double -aria: o   Movement 1- ‘D’amor sull’ale rose’ - cantabile      The aria begins with a soaring melody that rises high but Leonora’s lack of hope is painted in a dissolving melody at the end. o   Tempo di mezzo (‘miserere’)      This is a huge tempo di mezzo stretched to its extremes.    Have the monks praying offstage intertwined with worrying comments by Leonora.    Manrico’s troubadour song is then heard offstage creating a three way split in the action.    All are presented in succession and then combined to create a very powerful scene.    Leonora is promising to always remember Manrico but this scene gives her courage to do something about his seemingly inevitable execution. o   Movement 2- ‘tu vedrai che amor in terra’ - cabaletta      Leonora is rousing herself with a storng melody but sill a minor key ritornello showing she cannot get away from the tragedy Vocality:      Azucena: o   Julian Budden: First significant role for a mezz-soprano in Verdi opera.    Manrico:    Leonora: Music’s Articulation of Drama:  Source Material   Thematics:    Death: o   Again musical figure of death is used –   the ‘anapaestic rhytm’      Eg. Played by whole orchestra in the ‘miserere’ –  anticipating the death of Leonora and Manrico who are both featured in the tempo di mezzo . o   Death of azucena’s mother and her son, conotations of death for love that Leonora and Manrico constantly sing about, eventual death of Leonora and then Manrico. o   Eg. 1 st    movement of Manrico’s aria.   o   CENOSRSHIP OVER DEATH:      Cannot see Leonora take the poison, cannot talk about dying ‘at the stake’      Infanticide: o   Potent- iItaly had the highest rate of infant abandonment in Europe during 19 th  century.\    Had Il ruota –  aplace where you could abandon kids anonymously. o   Influence of Giuseppina Strepponi:     She had 4 children and aboandoned the 2 nd  (the 3 rd  died    She called it ‘our opera’      Mother/son relationship:    Revolutionary theme –  politically charged (even in apoliticism) o   Roselli: most politically effective opera    Curses and vengeance    Narratives of the past (different versions)    Virility    Civil war Staging and Performance:    Gap between Rigoletto  and Trovatore  longest since Nabucco (he took time over it and Traviata )      Writing for ROME brought about a lot of CENSORSHIP ISSUES:      Julian Budden: Almost tried to dismiss writing the opera when Cammarano was approaching it from too conservative a standpoint. o   Eg. Act 3 –   Manrico’s aria. Verdi wanted the second section to be a duetina with Leonora but Cammarano turned it into the huge double aria we know now.   
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