Indeed, although it is set in 15th-century Spain amidst a bitter civil war, it could just as easily be transformed to modern-day Sicily. The predominant emotions of vehement anger, fierce rivalry, passionate love and bloodthirsty revenge are just as relevant now as they have always been.
The opera may be Verdi’s darkest work but herein lies its power and its magnetic appeal. The fire of feelings should blaze with heat like the pyres where the unfortunate characters are burned.
Verdi’s intense masterpiece is directed by Judit Galgóczy and looks close to selling out for at least two of the performances in the Erkel Theatre already. This opera is absolutely unmissable, hugely popular and wonderfully melodramatic.
“Il Trovatore” when performed to perfection is a frenzied tornado of an opera with its spiralling intensity as Verdi’s musical score and the fierce emotions of the characters drag you through the drama. A perfect “Il Trovatore” appears so effortless as to be almost simplistic.
But despite an easy plotline, “Il Trovatore” is deceptively demanding. It is a monster of a work, placing voracious demands on its performers as well as requiring flawless direction and perfect casting. Without the expansive vocal ranges and intense dramatic acting, more than many operas this is one production that can crash to the floor if there is a single weak link.
Countless opera companies have fallen short on ‘Il Trovatore’; one or more of the leading performers have been lacklustre and it has failed to ignite into the blazing inferno it should be.
Get it right and “Il Trovatore” is tremendous; if you are looking for vengeance, sacrifice and suffering, here you will find a melodrama of the highest order with layer upon layer of raw emotion. The lyrical power of the words through arias and choruses speaks of tragedy and rage, murderous love, anger and pain.
Ádám Medveczky is the conductor leading the orchestra through what is essentially a symmetrical score but with sweeping grand flourishes. The two male leads, Manrico (Stuart Neill/Kamen Chanev) and the Count di Luna (Michele Kalmandy/Alexandru Aghenie) are dramatic and vocal opposites, fighting for the love of Leonora.
But it is perhaps the leading female roles of Leonora and Azucena who bring the raw power to this opera. Poles apart in personality and vocal range, they expose the absolute extremes of human nature.
Gabriella Létay Kiss has everything needed to elevate the leading soprano role of Leonora into the dizzying heights. This is a role that demands every fibre of her soul in the final act, but having seen her as Madama Butterfly, Suor Angelica and Desdemona, she is more than capable of producing a star performance.
The gypsy, Azucena (Ildikó Komlósi/Andrea Ulbrich) is the character who best represents the spirit of “Il Trovatore”; a blazing fireball of vengeance and passion.
And herein lies its essence as the trio of voices in the first act rises through, setting the pace in “Di geloso amor sprezzato” or “The fire of jealous love”.
Let it burn on.
Friday March 18 until Friday April 1
Erkel Theatre, II János Pál Pápa tér 30, District VIII
Tickets and information: