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Default Let's Opera with (the incredibly classy) Vii Zafira! Il Trovatore.

February 7th, 2012, 15:25

Bonjour, trolls and trollettes watchers and watcherettes. Pleased to meet you. I am your incredibly slim, stylish, fashionable, charming, and irresistible Let's Opera! host, and while this lasts I'll also be your guide into incline, unrelenting incline. You can call me Kimagure Majo Yousei Vii Zafira, and I am in no way a feline. Promise. Nor a witch.

Inspired by Kz3r0's opera threads and Vaarna's that-total-jerk-I'm-no-longer-online-friends-with's Let's Read threads (both references to that forum which shall not be named) I decided to try my hand at something new and kind of different: Let's opera! So in this thread of mine, as well as a couple more future ones I have already planned, we will listen opera while we read the librettos in both the original language and a translation, and don our monocles and top hats to discuss this and that in a cultured and refined enviroment between an update and the next. Which means this will probably be about me and Kz3r0 talking among ourselves while crickets play unfitting music and balls of dry grass roll around, but I wanted to try my hand at it anyway.

07.02.12: In retrospective that's more or less exactly what happened. Go figure.

In this one thread, as you can surely deduce from the thread's subject, we will be listening Verdi's Il Trovatore. By which I mean I will upload it to YouTube, bit by bit, and I will post here the link to the video, which at least for now will be a static image with music, and the bit's libretto in both Italian and english, and you can read while they sing and stuffies. I will be making the translation myself with a little bit of guidance from other translations I have read, and that's kind of half the point of this all, so feel free to point any mistakes I make so that I can fix them.

Before proceeding, however, I will do a little bit of an introduction for those of you who aren't into this. Il Trovatore is one of the three operas that represent the middle point of Verdi's career and evolution as a composer, in which it can be argued he starts moving away from the kind of solid structure the medium had developed into and finding his own way of doing things, at times even playing with the public's spectatives and the medium's tropes to surprise them and confuse them. The other two operas from this, let's say, trilogy are Rigoletto and La Traviata, and I plan on doing all those three at the very least.

The libretto is an adaptation written mostly by Salvadore Cammarano of the homonymous play by Antonio Garcia Gutierrez, a well known spanish dramaturge who became pretty important thanks to, precisely, that work of his, which kind of sent his career rocketing through the roof. Cammarano himself was a pretty prolific librettist, also known as that guy who wrote Donizetti's Lucia Di Lammermoor, and he kind of died writing this one. Literally, so Verdi got the not often seen chance of not only asking for a second opinion but also of getting directly and deeply involved in the libretto with the help of a young upstart poet by the name of Leone Emanuele Bardare.

According to Enrico Caruso, who even the most commonerish of you must know at least by name, the only thingie you need to make a good Il Trovatore are the four greatest singers in the entire world. The entire work hangs from just four roles: Il Conte Di Luna, Manrico, Leonora, and Azucena. Everyone else is just colour and movement, fluff and background lore. We will be listening to the recording Carlo Maria Giulini directed back in the eighties, which includes a pretty good line up and I like enough for me to have it on one of the memory thingies I always keep on my purse so I can listen to it every now and then, when it strikes me to do so. This recording is considered kind of atypical and not the most representative, however, by a lot of people. I don't care, shoo.

The Dramatis Personae thingie, now.

Il Conte Di Luna, which means Count of Luna if you didn't knew, is a nobleman in the Prince of Aragon's payroll, and is in love with Leonora, the local distressed soprano blonde. He is sung by a Baritone and is, all in all, a really funny character. It is interesting to point that it was Verdi who codified the Baritone voice, and up until then it was considered indistinct from a Bass, or at least a variation of it. Verdi was so in love with Baritones that he did a lot of work for and with them, and today there is the concept of a Verdi baritone as being almost it's own type of voice. In this recording the role goes to Giorgio Zancanaro.

Manrico is an officer in the Prince of Urgel's army. He is also in love with Leonora, and is the titular troubadour. That's what trovatore means, if you were wondering. He is sung by a tenor, Placido Domingo in this one recording. Domingo does him very well, and this recording convinced me Domingo was kind of born to play this kind of idealistic and nice and slightly emo character. His deserto sulla terra is, like, one of the most totally D'awww! Have huggies! moments in opera. Ever.

Azucena's a gypsy and Manrico's mother. She is sung by a Mezzo Soprano, Brigitte Fassbaender here. I really love how she does the role, it's coarse and weird and cool at the same time. Mezzo Soprano characters tend to have a lot more character and personality than most sopranos, since we are at it. Most of the time, at least.

Leonora's a noblewoman who is in love with Manrico yet courted by a Conte Di Luna who doesn't know how to take no for an answer. A soprano does her, Rosalind Plowright in this recording. Note, however, that since then Rosalind Plowright's range has gone into Mezzo Soprano territory and she no longer is considered a Soprano. I'm not that much into sopranos, myself. Most of the time they are too aetheric and innocent and distressed damsel and, like, conceptually blonde, if you get my meaning. I tend to get sleepy when an opera goes into those long arias were a Soprano girl sings alone and really slowly about her woes for ten straight minutes while i'm bitting my nails in expectation of what will happen when she actually stops holding the drama down to do bird imitations. Though I do really like a couple of soprano roles, usually written by Mozart, and get to at least enjoy a good amount of others.

Those are the important ones. I have the rest of the cast written somewhere so just kind of ask me if you hear some other voice you like and want to check names.

That's it, more or less. On a final note I plan on adding other recordings and versions I like later on, once the Libretto is complete, every now and then.

And since we are at it, in before round two of Wagner's boring and overrated. EDIT: The animated .gif that was posted here crashed the thread for IE users, so I removed it.-Jaz

Erm, I mean… If I were a feline, that is. But I'm not, so we won't need to go there at all. Promise.

07.02.12: I was going to remove that last part, but… Shitstorm incoming!
Tell me more, tell me more… Like, does he have a car?

Let's opera! Il Trovatore.
Last edited by Jaz; February 7th, 2012 at 23:10. Reason: removed animated .gif that crashed thread in IE
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