About the Film:
SPECIAL 12 p.m. SATURDAY, FEB. 18 SCREENING!
Details: Tenor Gregory Kunde -- opera star and Penfield resident -- will be at The Little for a special talkback after the Feb. 18 Il trovatore screening. Kundle stars as Manrico in this tale of jealousy, revenge, and love. The talkback will be hosted by WXXI Classical 91.5's Brenda Tremblay.
Summary: The Count di Luna loves Leonora, but she loves Manrico, the Count’s military enemy. Manrico’s mother Azucena tells him how her mother was burnt to death for supposed witchcraft against the Count’s baby brother. Azucena intended to throw the baby onto the fire – but blinded by revenge she lost her own child to the flames.
Background: Verdi wrote Il trovatore hot on the heels of Rigoletto, and its premiere came a scant two months before that of La traviata. But Il trovatore, while no less popular than its neighbours, is quite different. Verdi himself had suggested the source material, Antonio García Gutiérrez’s play El trovador (1836), to his librettist Salvatore Cammarano. He encouraged Cammarano to pursue the same cross-genre developments Verdi had introduced in Rigoletto, writing in an early letter ‘if the entire opera were, let’s say, a single piece, I would find it more reasonable and just’. As it happens, the end result is highly formal in structure, and seems to look back before the innovations of Rigoletto – but audiences since the opera’s premiere have been captivated by its great dramatic concision and energy.
Il trovatore is probably best known for its ‘gypsy’ music – the Anvil Chorus, Azucena’s ‘Stride la vampa’ and Manrico’s heroic ‘Di quella pira’ are key examples. But Verdi wrote wonderful music for all four of his leads, with the ‘aristocratic’ ‘Il balen del suo sorriso’ for the Count, and Leonora’s prayer ‘D’amor sull’ali rosee’ among a host of thrilling ensembles and chorus numbers. German director David Bösch, celebrated for his theatrical productions for Munich and Frankfurt among others, makes his UK debut with this new production for The Royal Opera. The opera’s themes of jealousy, revenge and love play out against a hauntingly beautiful, wintry landscape that has been riven by war.
About Gregory Kunde: Regarded as one of the most accomplished singers on the international opera stage today, the American tenor Gregory Kunde appears regularly at the most prestigious opera houses around the world, working with conductors and orchestras of the highest calibre. Kunde’s achievements have been recognised with a number of awards, most recently with ‘Male Singer of the Year’ at the 2016 International Opera Awards.
Highlights in the 2016/17 season include a return to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden for two roles; the title role Verdi Otello in a new production by Keith Warner, and a return to the role of Manrico Il trovatore. Further highlights this season include the title role Verdi Otello and Polline Norma at the Teatro Real, Samson Samson et Dalila and Renato Des Grieux Manon Lescaut at the Teatro Regio di Torino, Arrigo I vespri siciliani at the Palau de les Arts, Valencia, and the title role Andrea Chenier at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma and in Bilbao. This season will also see Kunde debut the role of Calaf Turandot with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta.
Kunde’s recent highlights include his debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Manrico Il trovatore, Samson Samson et Dalila at the Mariinsky Theatre with Valery Gergiev, the title role Roberto Devereux at the Teatro Real and in Bilbao, Renato des Grieux Manon Lescaut in Bilbao, the title role Idomeneo at the Palau de les Arts, Valencia, Rossini’s Otello at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Rossini’s Otello and Enée Les Troyens at the Teatro alla Scala, Radames Aida at the Arena de Verona, Rodolfo Luisa Miller in Liège and Rodrigo La donna del lago at the Theater an der Wien. On the concert platform, recent highlights include Verdi Requiem in Bilbao, the title role Verdi Otello at the Cincinnati May Festival, title role Peter Grimes with Sir Antonio Pappano at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Faust La damnation de Faust in concert at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam with Charles Dutoit.
Acclaimed throughout his earlier career for his performances in French and Italian bel canto roles, Kunde has now established himself as a leading exponent of many of the Verdi roles and other such dramatic repertoire. Since his critically acclaimed debut as Verdi Otello at La Fenice in 2012, he has performed this signature role in Valencia, Genoa, Salerno, Florence, Turin, Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Seoul, and São Paulo. Since moving into this repertoire, Kunde earned the unique distinction of being the only tenor in recorded history to perform both Rossini Otello and Verdi Otello in the same season (2014/15 and 2015/16).
Kunde’s discography includes Berlioz Les Troyens at the Théâtre du Châtelet (Opus Arte DVD, Gramophone magazine’s ‘DVD of the Year’), Benvenuto Cellini (Virgin Classics CD, Gramophone’s ‘Opera Recording of the Year’), Benvenuto Cellini with Sir Colin Davis (LSO Live CD), and Verdi Otello from the Palazzo Ducale in Venice (Unitel DVD).