SAN FRANCISCO, March 8, 2013 – Opera San Jose just completed outstanding performances of Verdi’s Il Trovatore. With every new performance, the Opera San Jose resident ensemble continually outdoes itself and sets expectations higher and higher.
Il Trovatore has all the makings of a traditional opera: personal vendetta, a doomed love triangle, war, vengeance, jealousy, passion, and a heart-stopping finish. It is set in 15thcentury Spain and is the story of two brothers (eventual Counts), separated at birth. One is presumed dead, and a gypsy family’s bond manages to unite these unlikely siblings. As stated, there is romance, obsession, retribution and a dramatic love story that ends in peril. Il Trovatore also features one of the most famous choral melodies ever written: the “Anvil Chorus.”
Cecilia Violetta Lopez in the role of Leonora put on an absolutely stunning performance. Leonora is the target of the bizarre love triangle and exudes all the emotions one would expect in such a situation. She truly evokes the life of Leonora with her thoughtful emotion and incredible range.
Alexander Boyer was magnificent in his performance as Manrico, the love-ridden gypsy who is continually trying to do the right thing. Unsure of his gypsy life, he seeks nothing more than the love and affections of his beloved Leonora.
Zachary Altman played the role of the unfortunate Count di Luna. The Count tries to impose himself on the lovely Leonora, but she will have absolutely none of it. Her heart lies eternally with Manrico. But Manrico is the Count’s sworn enemy. This drives his obsession with Leonora even deeper and he will stop at nothing until they are together.
A standout performance also was given by Silas Elash in the role of Ferrando, the head of Count di Luna’s guardsmen. Also of note: Nicole Birkland, who gave a both elegant and disturbing performance in the role of Azucena, the half crazed, half loving gypsy mother of Manrico with nothing but vengeance on her mind.
Perhaps it was by design, but if there was a weak element in this presentation of Il Trovatore, it was the music. Verdi’s composition is slightly upbeat and somewhat confusing for such a dramatic and tragic story. Directed by David Rohrbaugh, the symphony played the score beautifully, however confusion hovered about the mysteriously light-hearted music at play during times of death and despair.
Opera San Jose performs at the beautiful and inspiring California Theatre. Coming up next for Opera San Jose: Puccini’s Suor Angelica & Gianni Schicchi, running April 13 – 28. This is a tale of redemption and a comedy of deceit. A nun seeks eternal salvation for her mortal sin while a cunning con artist seeks worldly riches in this double-bill of one-act operas.
For more information or to purchase tickets, go to www.operasj.org.
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