Virginia Opera performs Verdi’s ‘Il Trovatore’ at Center for the Arts

Posted: October 8, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Il Travatore poster

Virginia Opera’s new production of the powerful classic “Il Trovatore” comes to Mason’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall on Friday, Oct. 17, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 19, at 2 p.m.

This production marks a significant milestone for Artistic Director Peter Mark – it is his 100th production conducted for the Virginia Opera in his 34 seasons with the company, and the Oct. 19th performance is Mark’s 700th appearance as conductor of a Virginia Opera production.

A pre-performance discussion, free to ticket holders, begins 45 minutes prior to each performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III.

Staged only three times in Virginia Opera’s 34-year history – the last in 1998 – “Il Trovatore” is a musical marvel that takes audiences on a chilling and twisted journey of lustful obsession and unforgiving revenge in 15th century Spain.

The troubadour Manrico leads insurgent forces in combat against the wealthy Count di Luna, both men seeking to win the favor of beautiful Lenora. Meanwhile, neither is aware that the vengeful gypsy Azucena is pulling the strings. Nor are they aware that they are actually brothers, separated at birth.

Making her long-awaited return as Leonora is the Finnish-Canadian soprano Eilana Lappalainen. Also returning are Argentina’s Teatro Colón leading tenor Gustavo López Manzitti as Manrico, and two-time Grammy Award-winning Panamanian-American baritone Nmon Ford as Count di Luna.

American mezzo-soprano Jeniece Golbourne makes her company debut as Azucena, along with Egyptian bass-baritone Ashraf Sewailam as Ferrando.

Returning in the director’s chair for this new production is Lillian Groag, praised for her inspired staging of Virginia Opera productions that most recently include last year’s “Tales of Hoffmann” and “Agrippina.” Also featured are a new set design by Michael Ganio and lighting by Richard Winkler.

“‘Trovatore’ is quintessential opera,” says Peter Mark. “It’s grand, it’s passionate, it’s filled with soaring melodies and exciting ensembles; and, having lived through ethnic cleansing and the kind of horrors we have witnessed recently, I do not find the story very far-fetched. Lillian and I have decided to take it completely seriously and to try to find the inherent drama, which is there in every second of the music.”

Mark will conduct both performances. The opera will be sung in Italian with Digitext Supertitles projected above the stage. Estimated running time – including one intermission – is two hours and 27 minutes.

Tickets are $86, $72 and $44 (Friday) and $98, $80 and $48 (Sunday). Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit

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