The best traditional Italian opera utilizes dramatic energy woven throughout passionate timeless stories. Opera Carolina’s “Il Trovatore” (The Troubadour) is a must-see powerful and memorable performance of this tale of romance, bitterness and revenge.
This is the first of three operas in the Opera Carolina 2011-2012 season. Opera Carolina, a Knight arts grantee, begins its season with an all-star cast, including Denyce Graves as Azucena, Antonello Palombi as Manrico, Lisa Daltirus as Leonora and Michael Corvino as Count di Luna. These talented performers will take your breath away. They are so amazing in their characters that one barely needs the English translation projections. (Though they do help.)
You have two more opportunities to catch “Il Trovatore” performances on Oct. 20 and 23. This opera, by composer Giuseppe Verdi and librettist Salvatore Cammarano, is conducted by James Meena and directed by Jay Lesenger. The Opera Carolina Chorus and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra seamlessly work with the amazing set and main characters to transform the Belk Theater into 15th century Spain.
Another time and place is created using minimal dramatic stage elements with projected scenery that combines what looks like hand-painted landscapes in deep, rich meaningful colors. The locations, the dramatic mountains of Biscay, for example, help set up the emotion of this story without words. The colors and details of location reinforce the story, the passion of scorned lovers mixed with a bit of revenge.
This is the story of two unknowing brothers, one love interest and one crazy, mad mother. Add this to their intertwined history of family devastation and you have “Il Trovatore.” The passionate Leonora, whose love burns like fire burns, is desired by two powerful men. The flame is a fitting metaphor for this emotional story of love and loss. “Joy brings terror to my heart” is a line that reinforces the close proximity of joy to hate and love to pain. That is the power of rich drama that makes opera so meaningful.
Timeless opera is classical music combined with passionate acting and singing. And, when super talented opera performers — like the ones on stage for this Opera Carolina’s “Il Trovatore” — sing a cappella, one does not even miss the accompanying orchestral music. These artists are that good.
One unforgettable line from the performance is, “Such agony assails my heart and steals my breath.” Opera Carolina’s “Il Trovatore” stole my breath.
Opera Carolina’s performance of Verdi’s “Il Trovatore”
Belk Theater, 130 N. Tryon St., Charlotte
Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011 at 2 p.m.
Tickets start at $15 for balcony seats