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Great Performances At The Met: Il Trovatore

Airs Sunday, October 16, 2011 at 12:30 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Marcelo Álvarez as Manrico and Sondra Radvanovsky as Leonora in "Il Trovatore."

James Levine conducts David McVicar’s stirring production of Verdi’s intense drama, "Il Trovatore," starring four extraordinary singers—Sondra Radvanovsky, Dolora Zajick, Marcelo Álvarez, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky—in what might be the composer’s most melodically rich score.

Dolora Zajick as Azucena, surrounded by the cast of "Il Trovatore."
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Above: Dolora Zajick as Azucena, surrounded by the cast of "Il Trovatore."

Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Count di Luna in "Il Trovatore."
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Above: Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Count di Luna in "Il Trovatore."

The cast earned excellent reviews for their performances after the premiere of David McVicar’s critically acclaimed production in 2009: as the heroic troubadour of the title, Marcelo Álvarez is “exciting, conveying Manrico’s urgency and desperation” (The Wall Street Journal); in the role of Leonora, Sondra Radvanovsky is “remarkable…a spirited, feisty heroine” (Variety); Dolora Zajick is “a force of nature” (The New York Times) as Azucena, the gypsy with a dark secret; and Dmitri Hvorostovsky’s “vivid presence and rich baritone emphasize Count di Luna’s swings between hell-bent vengeance and romantic obsession” (Variety).

McVicar’s production of "Il Trovatore," notoriously difficult to stage due to its complex plot, also won critical acclaim for its straightforward emotional power. The New York Times applauded McVicar’s “clear-headed, psychologically insightful and fluid staging.”

This staging of "Il Trovatore," which is visually inspired by Francisco Goya’s series of prints entitled “The Disasters of War,” features sets by Charles Edwards, costumes by Brigitte Reiffenstuel, lighting by Jennifer Tipton, and choreography by Leah Hausman.

Renée Fleming, who stars in Strauss’s "Capriccio," is the host for "Il Trovatore" and will interview the opera’s stars during the intermission. Barbara Willis Sweete directs the transmission and Jay David Saks is music producer.

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Preview: Great Performances At The Met: Il Trovatore

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