Drama in four parts · Music by Giuseppe Verdi · Libretto by Salvatore Cammarano, based upon El trovador by Antonio García Gutiérrez, revised by Leone Emanuele Bardare · Premiere: Rome, 19th January 1853, Teatro Apollo
Stage direction and Set design
Costume design and set design assistant
*Centre de Perfeccionament Plácido Domingo
Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana
Cor de la Generalitat Valenciana
Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía
26th May 2012
4th, 10th, 16th, 19th, 22nd June 2012
S Y N O P S I S
PART I: The Duel
15th century Saragossa. Courtyard of the Aljafería Palace. Ferrando, captain of Count di Luna's guard, is waiting for the Count with his men. The Count spends many sleepless nights under the balcony of Leonora, a lady and confidante of the princess of Aragon. The nobleman is tense because he does not know the identity of the mysterious troubadour who appears at the same place most days to woo Leonora. Meanwhile Ferrando tries to keep his men awake by telling them the story of how the old Count di Luna ordered a gypsy woman to be captured and burned at the stake, accusing her of bewitching the younger of the Count's two sons. The gypsy's daughter, Azucena, sought vengeance by kidnapping the Count's baby and burning him at the same stake where her own mother had died. On his deathbed, the old Count still believed his son was alive and made his first-born promise to search for him. But they never managed to find him nor ascertain the whereabouts of Azucena.
The palace gardens. Leonora confides in Ines how she is impatiently awaiting the arrival of her beloved Manrico (the troubadour). The Count approaches with the intention of declaring his love for her, but stops on hearing the troubadour's song in the distance. In the dark of the night, Leonora rushes excitedly towards the Count and embraces him thinking he is Manrico. When Manrico appears, Leonora immediately realises she has confused the two men and declares her love for the troubadour. This makes the Count even more jealous and furious, and to make matters worse he recognises his rival in love to be Manrico, an officer belonging to the army of Count di Urgel (who aspires to the throne of Aragon and is Count di Luna's enemy). Unable to intervene between the two gentlemen, Leonora faints while they are fighting a duel.
PART II: The Gypsy
A gypsy camp in the Biscay mountains. The men sing happily as they work the red-hot iron with their tools. Their happy singing contrasts with the mournful tune of Azucena. Once alone with her son Manrico, she tells him of the fateful events of the past that still torment her: how she kidnapped the small child of the former Count di Luna to burn him at the stake, and how in her delirium she mistakenly threw her own child into the fire and raised the Count's son as her own. Horrified on hearing this, Manrico asks her if she is really his mother. Azucena assures him that she is his mother and that he shouldn't believe the nonsense she has just been babbling on about: who had looked after him and treated his wounds after the last fight, when Manrico had almost killed his enemy Count di Luna? But it seems a strange power had stopped Manrico from driving his sword into the Count's body. Reassured and most determined, Manrico swears to his mother that he will kill the Count the next time the opportunity presents itself. A messenger arrives at the camp with instructions for Manrico: he has been appointed to defend recently conquered Castellor and must leave immediately. But first he pays a visit to the convent which is now Leonora's home, where she is about to take her vows as she believed the troubadour to have been killed in the fight.
A convent in the vicinity of Castellor. Night has fallen and Count di Luna bursts into the religious ceremony that is taking place, intent on kidnapping Leonora. The sudden appearance of Manrico is a cause for confusion and surprise, especially as far as Leonora and the Count are concerned as they both believed the troubadour to be dead. Manrico frustrates the nobleman's plan, and Count di Luna has no choice but to give in as he is surrounded by his rival's men. Leonora and Manrico manage to escape.
PART III: The Gypsy's Son
Count di Luna's camp. Reinforcements arrive to help the Count attack the fortress of Castellor. Passionately in love with Leonora, the nobleman wants to attack as soon as possible so as to carry her away from Manrico. Several soldiers approach with a gypsy they found wandering around and who they have taken prisoner. Ferrando recognises her as Azucena. The gypsy reveals that she is Manrico's mother. The Count orders her to be tied up and a fire lit to burn his brother's murderer and the mother of his worst enemy at the stake.
In a room adjacent to Castellor chapel the betrothal between Leonora and Manrico is being prepared. The troubadour tells his beloved of his concern for the imminent attack from the enemy, although he trusts in the bravery of his men to protect them. But suddenly things take a turn for the worse: Manrico's aide Ruiz rushes in and tells him that his mother is going to be burnt at the stake, and he runs to his mother's rescue with his men.
PART IV: The Execution
Aljafería Palace. The troubadour has fallen into the trap set up by the Count, who won the attack. Manrico and Azucena are prisoners in a cell and will be executed at sunrise. Leonora begs the Count to spare the troubadour's life and in exchange promises to give herself to him. The nobleman agrees to her proposal and gives precise instructions to the jailer, while Leonora swallows a deadly poison she has in her ring.
In the dungeon, Manrico comforts his distraught mother until she finally falls asleep. Leonora enters to tell him he is free and must leave immediately. But he does not understand why he has to leave without her. Then Leonora explains the sacrifice she has made for him, just as the poison is beginning to take effect and she faints. At that moment the Count enters and sees Leonora dying in Manrico's arms. Furious for letting himself be deceived, he orders the immediate execution of the troubadour. Azucena awakes and asks after her son. The Count leads her over to the cell window and shows her Manrico's lifeless body. The gypsy then reveals that he has just killed his own brother, while victoriously crying out "Mother, you are avenged".