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When we realized that Opera Colorado was going to be producing Giuseppe Verdi’s masterpiece, Il Trovatore, little did we know how lucky Out Front Colorado would get – an interview with a major player in the production. Greg Carpenter, Opera Colorado’s General Director said Il Trovatore brings a modern twist to the age-old art of opera.

Wayne Tigges as Ferando in Opera Colorado's 'Il Trovatore.' Photo by Matthew Staver

OFC: What should an opera virgin know about ‘Verdi’s Il Trovatore’?

Greg Carpenter:  Il Trovatore contains some of Verdi’s most recognizable and most beautiful music, including the famous Anvil Chorus, which has been used in countless TV commercials over the past few decades.  It has a highly dramatic story which contains revenge, revenge, and more revenge, along with mistaken identity, war, and of course a couple in love!  It’s the same stuff that populates most 21st century movies and TV drama.

Can you tell the readership at Out Front Colorado a little bit about the look and sound of this production of Il Trovatore?

Although the production remains fairly true to the story’s 15th century setting, our production does hint a bit at a slightly contemporary look. The walls of the Count di Luna’s castle are all tilted on rakish angles, reflecting the twisted world in which the characters live. This is one of Verdi’s early operas, so musically it is writing in the bel canto style, which means long, beautiful lyric lines, lots of waltz tempos and big, unamplified singing!

How does Il Trovatore stack up along side the other famous operas in the Verdi canon?

As I mentioned Il Trovatore is one of Verdi’s early works, so there is an incredible amount of arias, duets and ensembles for each of the five principal characters.  15 years ago Il Trovatore was firmly seated in the top 10 list of most performed operas in the US, but it now has moved well out of that list, due to the fact that it is so difficult to find singers who can sustain the vocal demands of this piece.  We have been very fortunate to have assembled the “dream team” for this production.

Can you talk a little bit about the artists who will be singing the roles of the central characters?

This is truly an international cast.  Three of our artists (Michele Capalbo our Leonora is Canadian, Avgust Amonov our Manrico is Russian and Robert Hyman our Count di Luna is American) are well seasoned veterans of the work and have sung their respective roles in some of the great opera houses of the world.  Robert Hyman has sung the role of Count di Luna over 70 times!  Our Azucena, Nancy Maultsby has sung Verdi roles with Opera Colorado in the past, but is singing this role for the first time, as is Wayne Tigges our Ferrando.  Our conductor Alexander Polianichko is a regular conductor at the Mariinski Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia and was last with us for our production of Rusalka in 2011.  It is an amazing cast that is capable of standing up to the demands of this work.

Michele Capalbo as Leonora in Opera Colorado's 'Il Trovatore.' Photo by Matthew Staver

After having been spoiled rotten by this incredible Opera Colorado season what can we look forward to next season?

We have an exciting 2013 Season of “Great Literature,” planned.  We will open the season with Gounod’s Romeo and Juliette.  The centerpiece of the new season will be Mozart’s beloved Don Giovanni.  And, we will end the season with the Professional World Premiere of American composer Lori Laitman’s opera The Scarlet Letter, based on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous novel.  The librettist for The Scarlet Letter is none other than Colorado’s Poet Laureate, David Mason.  It will be a very exciting season with one traditional piece, one traditional piece placed in an updated setting and of course a brand new work.

‘Il Trovatore’ plays May 4 and May 6 at The Ellie Caulkins Opera House, 14th & Curtis St. Box Office Numbers: For Opera performances, please contact the Opera Colorado Box Office: (303) 468-2030, Ticketmaster: 800-755-6244877-474-4833, or 877-475-4833

More info on the Web at http://www.operacolorado.org/