The curtain opens on the NNT Opera's second season under Artistic Director Otaka Tadaaki with Il Trovatore, one of the three masterworks from Verdi's middle years. Verdi wrote powerful arias for soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor and baritone, highlighting characters of different voice parts. In this, the audience gets to experience the contrast of voices that is the true joy of Italian opera. It is a dramatic tale of love and hate, of men and women living life in earnest as they are buffeted by the whims of fate. Though the tangled web of interpersonal relationships makes for a complicated plot, producer Ulrich Peters has created a lucid and powerful production while managing to stay true to the essence of the original storyline. Add in the dramatic music, and Il Trovatore is a real treat for the opera fan. The voices of Walter Fraccaro, Tamar Iveri, Vittorio Vitelli, and Andrea Ulbrich offer a feast for the ears.
Spain in the 15th century. Count di Luna is in love with the beautiful lady-in-waiting Leonora, but she loves Manrico, who also loves her. One day, Manrico is told by his mother Azucena the secret concerning his birth and begins to wonder who he really is. He is then informed that Leonora, believing the news that Manrico was killed in a battle, is about to enter a convent and rushes away to prevent her. The Count, too, goes to the convent to try to change her mind but she is rescued by Manrico and his followers, who have rushed to the site. The angry Count captures Azucena to lure Manrico out. Manrico, who has come to his mother's rescue, is captured and imprisoned together with her. Leonora calls on the Count and earnestly begs him to release Manrico, offering herself in exchange, then kills herself by taking poison. Infuriated by Leonora's trick, the Count immediately orders Manrico's execution. Azucena shrieks, "He was your brother! You are avenged, O mother!" Then she falls lifeless. The Count stands speechless.