CULTURE

Fiery ‘Il Trovatore’ returns to Athens

One of last year’s highly successful National Opera productions, Verdi’s opera «Il Trovatore,» goes on stage once more at the Olympia Theater for a limited number of performances, starting tomorrow. Verdi’s fieriest opera, both in the literal and metaphorical sense, «Il Trovatore» shows all four heroes (Manrico, his beloved Leonora, the Conte di Luna and Manrico’s supposed mother Azucena) consumed by the fire of their passions. Fire is the element that runs through their lives: Azucena’s Gypsy mother is burnt at the stake for witchcraft and Azucena herself throws her own child into the fire. Both the Conte di Luna and Manrico burn with passion for Leonora and she, in turn, is ardently in love with Manrico. Verdi made the best use of the libretto and its particular features. The arias, the duets, the vocal ensembles, the choral parts, the narrations and the dramatic monologues are all in perfect harmony, resulting in a richly inventive musical masterpiece. The peak is achieved in the «Miserere» scene, where the voices of the monks, Manrico and Leonora are juxtaposed against a highly inspired ensemble. First staged at Rome’s Apollo Theater on January 19, 1853, the opera met with great success. It has remained one of Verdi’s most popular works. The National Opera production is directed by Vassilis Nikolaidis and features alternating conductors Angelo Cavallaro and Myron Michailidis. The sets are by Giorgos Gavalas and the costumes by Claire Bracewell. The characters are sung by Martha Arapi, Dimitria Theodosiou, Julia Souglakou, Vangelis Hadzisimos, Luigi Frattola and others. Saturday, Sunday, February 8, 10, 11, 12 and 15 at the Olympia Theater, 59-61 Academias, tel 210.361.1516/4433.