Il Trovatore review

Il Trovatore, Australian Opera
Joan Sutherland Theatre, Opera House
15th of July
Until July 30th

For those who know Verdis The Trovator from Opera Australia’s earlier dark production by the late, honored Elke Neidhardt, Davide Livermore’s new production with digital set by Giò Forma and D-Wok quite leaps off the stage.

Il Trovatore is performed at Sydney Opera Australia.

Il Trovatore is performed at Sydney Opera Australia.

This happens literally in the Anvil Chorus, where the gypsies, far from sitting patiently at their forges and contemplating girls, exude joy as a circus troupe with hinted, salacious agility – and graphically too in the striking tarot-style imagery that implicitly fateful prophecy act from the giant moving digital screens.

Yet displacement, ethnic cleansing and genocide still lurk behind the theme, just as with Verdi and Neidhardt, with an artillery-ravaged apartment block, a bombed-out church, Gianluca Falaschi’s modern costumes and the stark silhouette of eerily abandoned fairground ruins all making the most of an impact ominously in the present.

As Manrico, the track’s troubadour, tenor Yonghoon Lee triumphed over a seasonal lurgy that unsuccessfully stalked his vocal cords for the first half to deliver an intensely projected sound, richly hued like burnished copper and with a radiant high C in “Di quella pira l’orrendo focci’ in Act III. His fiery-eyed dramatic personality had the poised poise of a feisty hero about to drive out an army of demons with a single blow.

Leah Crocetto sings Leonora with sweetness and power, forming crescendos with masterful control in her cavatina “Tacea la notte placida” in Act 1. She took a commanding lead in duets and ensembles, deftly backing Lee where he needed to mark a line or two, and with unparalleled vocal composure she maintained the dramatic and musical focus of the work’s climax in the aria ‘D’amor sull’ali’ Act 4 upright rosee” and ethereal misery Choir.

As the possessed jealous villain Count di Luna, Maxim Aniskin’s baritone had the ruthless power of raw steel, heavy and unflinching, with a menacing stage persona to match.

The ensembles of these three carried the work’s fierce dramatic confrontations with exciting vigour, reinforced by the Opera Australia Chorus’ superb work in moments of excited energy, in screaming finales and in passages of ephemeral stillness. Il Trovatore review

Jaclyn Diaz

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