GVerdiAnother Il Trovatore. This one from Parma’s Teatro Regio’s series of all the composer’s operas. It’s just chance that this post on the opera follows a previous one on the same work. I confess that I didn’t expect much from this performance as Verdi’s lyrical lunatics were portrayed by singers, excepting Marcelo Álvarez in the title role, who were unknown to me. But this is a very good mounting of Verdi’s perfect opera – perfect if emotional power and melodic beauty is your measure.

Álvarez is scheduled to sing both leads in the Met’s staging of Cav and Pag later this season. Now 52 he has matured into a spinto tenor. His reading of Manrico was well done, much better than his performance in the same role a year earlier at the Met and better than his HD telecast in 2011. He still omits the second ‘All’armi!’ of the three that conclude the third act stretta. And the whole cabaletta was transposed down a half tone. But all and all, a very workmanlike showing.

The best singing came from the Georgian mezzo Mzia Nioradze as Azucena, a role she has sung at the Met. She has the vocal heft and power needed for Verdi’s demented gypsy, a character he deemed so important that he almost named the opera after her. Mzia Nioradze Stride la vampa

The young Italian soprano Teresa Romano has the sound needed for Leonora, but she doesn’t have the floated pianissimi needed to realize the role. She did better with her first act aria than she did with that in the fourth act.

Claudio Sgura sang the Count di Luna. He has a forceful baritone that conveyed the sexual frustration that  leaps like lightning from the count. It’s not fair to criticize a performer for singing a role as written, which is what Sgura did. But so accustomed to the interpolated high notes that virtually every baritone inserts into the part have we become that it’s jarring when they are omitted. I suspect that Sgura left them out because he’s not comfortable putting them in.

Bulgarian bass Deyan Vatchkov was effective as Ferrando as was the Teatro Regio’s reliable chorus. What made the performance work was the electric conducting of the veteran Russian maestro Yuri Temirkanov. He realized the febrile nature of the score and never let the pace lag. The staging and sets were the the theater’s usually spare offering. They were quite effective.

Good as this performance was, I’m not sure who would want to buy it. There are so many recordings of Il Trovatore available that I guess this one is only for the opera lover who has to have everything. But if it doesn’t deserve a permanent place in your library, it is worth a viewing.


Giuseppe Verdi

Il conte di Luna – Claudio Sgura
Leonora – Teresa Romano
Azucena – Mzia Nioradze
Manrico – Marcelo Álvarez
Ferrando – Deyan Vatchkov
Ines – Cristina Giannelli
Ruiz – Roberto Jachini Virgili
Un vecchio zingaro – Enrico Rinaldo
Un messo – Seung Hwa Paek

Parma Teatro Regio Chorus and Orchestra
(chorus master: Martino Faggiani)
, conductor

Lorenzo Mariani, stage director
William Orlandi, set and costume designer
Christian Pinaud, lighting designer

Recorded live at the Teatro Regio di Parma, 5 and 9 October 2010