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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: August 2011

1 - Anatomy of a warhorse: Il trovatore from A to Z



What is Il trovatore “about?”

  1. a. the standard dramatis personae of Italian Romantic opera: heroic tenor, yearning soprano, unpleasant and unsuccessful baritone, wronged and vengeful mezzo-soprano, loyal bass, plus these people's various attendants.

  2. b. the Romantic Middle Ages.

  3. c. the Middle Ages as romanticized in the later novels of Sir Walter Scott.

  4. d. the Middle Ages as further romanticized by Scott's followers, above all, in the dramas of Victor Hugo and his followers – most notably for Il trovatore, in the play El Trovador by Antonio García Gutiérrez.

  5. e. the characteristic structure of arias and duets of its time: recitative leading into the cantabile, then the tempo di mezzo, and, finally, the cabaletta.

  6. f. the dangers posed by gypsies (though gypsies did not yet reside in Aragon at the time the play was set).

  7. g. the gypsy's revenge, revenge becoming an emotion the audience can identify with since it is mediated by a romantically distant setting and by music that seeks to overwhelm any moral compunctions we may have (see violence).

  8. h. very little in the present and a lot in the past (see narrating).

  9. […]

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