Magazine article Opera Canada

Winnipeg

Magazine article Opera Canada

Winnipeg

Article excerpt

Manitoba Opera brought Verdi's Il trovatore to life in all its blood-and-guts glory, opening its 2008/09 season Nov. 22 with a tale of deadly vengeance that also includes some of the most exquisite arias in the repertoire. MO last staged the opera 20 years ago, turning to former Winnipegger Michael Cavanagh to stage this latest production. Tyrone Paterson led the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

Verdi once said he wished to name his opera for its gypsy protagonist, Azucena. Seeing this production would have clinched the decision. As Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Emilia Boteva's character journeyed into madness, fixated on the horror of seeing her own mother burned at the stake, her pain was palpable. First seen as a wild-eyed gypsy performing "Stride la vampa!" she quickly devolved from there until her final, triumphant declaration that Count Di Luna has mistakenly killed his own brother.

Internationally acclaimed tenor Richard Margison, his last MO appearance in 1992, is only performing twice in Canada this year. His portrayal of Manrico was heroic, especially in his dazzling, technically assured "Di quella pira" and expressive "Ah si, ben mio." However, his booming voice sometimes proved too much of a good thing as the romantic Troubadour, overpowering his delicate serenading of love-smitten Leonora in music that begs for greater subtlety.

Canadian lyric soprano Michele Capalbo is a rising superstar whose particularly luminous Leonora nearly stopped the show with her soaring bel canto aria "D' amor sull' ali rosee. …

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