• Verdi: Il trovatore
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  • Verdi: Il trovatore
    Brown Theater | Sung in Italian with projected English translation

    Featuring a quartet of some of the finest Verdian singers in the world today, Houston Grand Opera presents Verdi’s Il trovatore from April 26 – May 11, 2013. Acclaimed American soprano, Tamara Wilson will sing Leonora, the noble lady in love with the troubadour and officer, Manrico, sung by Italian tenor Marco Berti. The gypsy Azucena will be sung by Dolora Zajick and Count di Lunca by Tómas Tómasson. The searing and powerful score will be conducted by HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers.

    Set in 15th-century northern Spain, Il trovatore tells the story of Manrico, a gypsy troubadour who has fallen in love with the Duchess of Aragon. However, the Count di Luna is also attracted to Aragon, and when he attempts to take her from Manrico, the troubadour takes the count’s life in a duel, not realizing they were brothers, and that his mother Azucena actually stole him from a family of royals many years ago.

    This tale of chivalry, honor, valor, and tragic love features one of the great mezzo-soprano roles, the gypsy Azucena, a signature role for American mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick. Called ‘a force of operatic nature’ (LA Times), Zajick is widely considered one of the true dramatic Verdi mezzo-sopranos, typified by the famous and difficult roles of Azucena, Ameris in Aida, and Eboli in Don Carlos. Zajick has sung these roles around the world from Covent Garden to the Metropolitan Opera including the major European houses in Paris, Germany, and Italy. Zajick was last seen at HGO in the 2008 production of Cavalleria Rusticana.

    American soprano and HGO Studio alumna Tamara Wilson’s roles this season include such Verdi heroines as Amelia in Un ballo in maschera, Alice Ford in Falstaff, and Amelia Grimaldi in Simon Boccanegra. Of her appearance in a production of Aida for Opera Australia the critics noted, “From her first note to her last, Tamara Wilson displays a voice of distinctive beauty and apparently effortless power, warm and evenly produced throughout her considerable range.”(The Opera Critic.)

    The troubadour Manrico will be sung by Italian tenor Marco Berti. In 2007, he made his international debut at La Scala as Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor and has appeared there in Beatrice di Tenda, La bohème, La Rondine, and Macbeth, among many others. A recipient of the 2005 Giuseppe Verdi Gold Medal, Berti has a wide repertoire. His CD released in 2007, Rare Verismo Arias includes such operas as La Wally by Alfredo Catalani, Maristella by Giuseppe Pietri, and Germania by Alberto Franchetti. Last seen in Houston in 2007 as Radames in Aida, a role he later reprised for Lyric Opera of Chicago, prompting the Chicago Tribune to write, “Berti has the heroic Italianate quality in his bright, penetrating tenor.”

    Manrico’s rival, Count di Luna, will be sung by Icelandic baritone, Tómas Tómasson, who was recently seen as Don Pizarro in HGO’s Fidelio. Appearing on the international scene in 1995, he regularly performs with all the major houses in Europe and the UK.

    South African bass-baritone Vuyani Mlinde will sing the role of Ferrando, Captain of the Count’s guard. Attending London’s Royal College of Music he is making his mark with all the bass-baritone roles from Leporello and the Commendatore in Don Giovanni to the philosopher Colline in La bohème. Music OMH said of his performance in Don Giovanni, “Vuyani Mlinde as Leporello proved to be a hit with the audience. He carried the role with real humor and wit, and his resonant bass deftly rattled through the ‘catalogue’ aria to great effect.”

    Production co-owned by Los Angeles Opera and Washington National Opera.

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