Opera in four acts (eight scenes)
Libretto by S. Cammarano
Graf di Luna
Leonora, the Duchess
Ferrando, the approximate graph
Ines, the confidante of Leonora
Ruiz, a friend of Manrico
The Old Gypsy
Leonora’s friends, approximate count, monks, soldiers, gypsies.
The action takes place in Biscay and Aragon (Spain) at the beginning of the XV century.
HISTORY OF CREATION
The plot of “Troubadour” is borrowed from the play of the same name by the Spanish playwright AG Gutierrez (1812-1884), successfully staged in Madrid in 1836. This is a typical romantic drama with intricate intrigue and a bloody denouement, with indispensable fights, vengeance, poison and fatal mysteries. Romantic dramatic art attracted Verdi with the brilliance of colors, the acuteness of scenic situations, the seething passions. Sincere stamina, heroic struggle against the gloomy forces of oppression, embodied in the drama of Gutierrez, vividly excited compatriots Verdi – contemporaries and participants in the liberation
The plot fascinated the composer – he carefully considered the plan of the opera, and wrote the music of “Troubadour” for 29 days. Despite the fact that in the libretto created by S. Cammarano (1801-1852), the intrigue was unnecessarily confused, the liberation idea of the work was revealed in relief, a major stroke. In addition, the shortcomings of the libretto are completely redeemed by the music of Verdi, courageous, passionate, imbued with the pathos of freedom.
“Troubadour” was conceived back in 1850. The completion of the opera delayed a number of other works, as well as the sudden death of the librettist. On the remaining sketches of Cammarano, the end of the third and fourth act was completed by the young poet LE Bardare. The premiere of “Troubadour” was held on January 19, 1853 in Rome. Opera immediately won universal recognition. “Troubadour” became one of the most popular works of Verdi.
“Troubadour” is a drama of sharp contrasts, violent clashes, strong, romantically uplifted feelings. Recreating the tragic fate of the heroes of the opera, embodying their experiences, the composer paid much attention to showing the life background of unfolding events. Colorful images of gypsies, monks, soldiers and approximate graphs, outlined in relief, memorable choruses, give the opera a variety, revitalize the action. Music “Troubadour” is rich in beautiful, freely pouring melodies, close to folk tunes. It is not by chance that many of them became in Italy widely known and beloved people revolutionary songs.
The first act is “Duel”. The first picture conveys the gloomy, oppressive atmosphere of a medieval castle, anticipating subsequent cruel and bloody events. In the center of the picture – the story of Ferrando with the chorus “Two of the Count’s little son was lovely.” The story begins in a calmly-narrative manner, but is increasingly saturated with an anxious feeling, agitated by impetuosity.
The second picture takes action in a different plan: it opens with a light, serene Cavatina Leonora “Full of luxurious charm, the night stood quiet”; beautiful, thoughtful melody, gives way to cheerful dance motifs adorned with coloratura. Manrico’s song “Forever alone with grief” reveals the lyrical features of the image; The harp in the orchestra imitates the sound of the lute, on which the troubadour in love improvises. In the tercet, the march-like, martial musical theme of the graph is juxtaposed with the melodic melody of Leonora and Manrico.
The second act – “Gypsy woman” – includes two pictures. In the first gypsy chorus “You see, the sky has played in the dawn” draws the world of freedom-loving people; the smooth melody passes into a vigorous, energetic march, accompanied by sonorous sound of hammers on the anvil. In this frame, sadly sounds the song of Azucena “The flame, rising, everything illuminates”; her passionate melody appears in the music of the opera more than once. Behind the song follows the mournful, tragic story of Azucena “In the fetters of the fire with a curse.” In a duet with Azucheny, Manrico’s image acquires new features: in his party there are invocatory, heroic melodies.
At the beginning of the second picture of the second act – the great aria of the Earl de Luna “Her glance is bright, clear.” The central episode of the finale is a full-fledged ensemble with a chorus, which conveys the numbness of the heroes, struck by an unexpected meeting.
The third act is “The Son of a Gypsy Woman”. In the first picture there is a militant revival; vigorous exclamations of the choir, brilliant fanfares lead to the march melody “Here the regimental trumpet calls us”. Azucena’s melodies, the Count and Ferrando are dominated by Azucena’s melodies. Her sad song “I lived in terrible poverty” conveys a tender love for my son, and the heroic tune “Why are you so ruthless” – hatred and proud contempt for enemies.
In the center of the second picture is the image of Manrico. His aria “When you swore before my altar to be forever” is marked by the beauty and nobility of the melody. The famous kabaletta “No, it will not be possible to defiant villains”, picked up by the choir, is full of mighty will, heroic impulse.
The fourth act is “Execution”. Aria Leonora “Sighs of love and sorrow” grow into a great dramatic scene; heartfelt, full of passionate melody is combined with the ominous tunes of the funeral prayer and with the farewell song of Manrico. The duet of Leonora and the Earl of the Moon is based on the clash of contrasting musical themes – the swift, flight melody of the heroine and the persistently adamant replica of the Count; the second episode of the duo (Leonora promises to become the wife of Count di Luna) is imbued with enthusiastic rejoicing (by her death the selfless Leonora hopes to save the beloved Manrico).
This jubilant music is opposed by the gloomy beginning of the last picture of the opera. Duetto Azucena and Manrico relay a change of woeful mood; in the orchestra the motifs of the first song of Azucena sound, drawing terrible visions of execution; quiet sorrow pierced the gypsy’s melodious appeal to his son “Yes, I’m tired, weakened strength”; her dreams are embodied in an artless lullaby melody. A brief sedation is disturbed by the appearance of Leonora – there is an excited ensemble; Manrico’s angry speech is answered by the pleading phrases of Deonora, with them the clarified song of Azucena, dreaming of free space, is woven.