Act I: The Duel
Scene I – Courtyard of the Palace of Aliaferia in Aragon
Ferrando, captain of the guard in the service of the young Count di Luna, interrupts the drowsy night watch hours with a harrowing tale. Many years ago a Romani woman was burned as a witch for supposedly casting a spell on the count’s infant brother. The woman’s daughter, Azucena, stole the child in order to slay him and avenge her mother’s death. Later, the bones of a child were found smoldering in the embers of a fire. The count has been searching for Azucena ever since.
Scene 2 – Gardens of the Palace of Aliaferia
The beautiful Leonora confides in her companion Inez that she has fallen in love with a mysterious troubadour who appears at her balcony. The Count, in love with Leonora, is devoured with jealousy of this unknown troubadour, who now comes to serenade Leonora. In the darkness of the night, Leonora mistakes the count for this troubadour, Manrico. Manrico appears and a duel ensues. Manrico overcomes the Count, but a mysterious sensation tells him to spare the Count’s life.
Act II: The Romani Woman
Scene 1 – The foot of a Mountain in Biscay
The mountain people begin their day’s work. Manrico is recovering from wounds received several months ago in a battle against the forces of Aragon led by Count di Luna. Azucena recalls the horrific events surrounding her mother’s death and reveals that, out of her mind with grief, she threw her own baby into the flames. She reared the Count’s brother as her son, Manrico. Diverting Manrico’s suspicion, Azucena urges Manrico never to allow the count to escape again but to kill without hesitation. A messenger brings orders from the Prince of Biscay that Manrico is to take over the command of the Castle Castellor and news that Leonora, believing Manrico dead, is seeking asylum in a convent and that the count is now on his way to abduct her.
Scene 2 – Convent cloisters near Castellor
At night the count and his men approach the convent to seize Leonora, but Manrico and his forces arrive in time to rescue her and take her away.
Act III: The Son
Scene I – Count di Luna’s military camp
The count has laid siege to Castellor where Manrico has taken Leonora. Azucena, anxious to find her son, attempts to get through the besieging forces. After Ferrando recognizes her as the woman who killed di Luna’s young brother, she is captured and sentenced to be burned at the stake.
Scene 2 – Grand Hall at Castellor
Inside the fortress of Castellor, Manrico and Leonora are about to be married. Ruiz interrupts, bringing news of Azucena’s capture. Manrico calls for his forces and leads them to rescue her.
Act IV: The Punishment
Scene 1 – The tower of the Palace of Aliaferia
The rescue has failed, and Manrico has been captured. Leonora begs the count to spare Manrico’s life, promising in exchange to marry the count. When the count, happily consenting, leaves for a moment, Leonora takes poison.
Scene 2 – The Palace dungeon
Manrico listens to his mother’s hysterical ravings and tries to comfort her with thoughts of their life in the mountains. Leonora manages an entrance into the dungeon to tell Manrico he is free. Manrico suspects the cost of his freedom and curses Leonora. Leonora lives only long enough to assure Manrico of her faithful love. The count, cheated of his bride, orders Manrico’s death. As Manrico is killed, Azucena shrieks, “He was your brother! O, Mother, you are avenged!”
The premiere took place at the Teatro Apollo in Rome on 19 January 1853, where it "began a victorious march throughout the operatic world" a success due to Verdi's work over the previous three years.
Sung in Italian with English supertitles
This is a sponsored project of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County and funded through ARPA supported by the
Forsyth County Board of Commissioners.
(In order of appearance)
Brian Banion’s combination of offensive wit and cloaked insecurity make him one of the finest Base-Baritones of his generation. Hailed by critics as, “...possessing a French which sounds like pinched Italian.”, and by colleagues as, “unprepared”, Banion knows how to please. He was once advised by a director, “what you are doing is so boring that it is like a ...
Conte di Luna
Atlanta-born baritone Michael Redding has worked throughout Europe and the USA in roles ranging from Mozart to classic American Musical Theatre. Operatic engagements include Escamillo in Carmen with Opera on the James; the title role in Don Giovanni, Count Carl-Magnus in A Little Night Music...
Toby Bradford, tenor, from Pasadena, California, is finishing a Master of Music in Vocal Performance at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute, where he will also be puruing a Professional Artist Certificate this year under the tutelage of Dr. Marilyn Taylor. He completed a Bachelor of Music from the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, under the instruction of world-renowned baritone Vladimir Chernov.
Up and coming soprano, CAROLYN ORR, from Montgomery, Texas, is a vibrant musician who is passionate about spreading her love for opera. In the Fall of 2022 Carolyn will be a first year Master’s student at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute where she is pursuing a Master of Music in Vocal Performance studying with Dr. Marilyn Taylor.
American tenor Ben Gulley has been hailed as “outstanding” (Opera News) and “startlingly gifted” (San Francisco Classical Voice). An exceptionally versatile artist, Mr. Gulley’s recent seasons have included feature roles in opera, solo engagements, concert, film work, touring and important appearances abroad. Recent artistic and critical triumphs include his 2022 Broadway World Best Actor
Grammy Award winning American mezzo soprano Tichina Vaughn has established an important presence among the world’s leading opera houses, concert halls and theaters. As an outstanding singing-actress versatile in opera, operetta, musical theater, and jazz, Vaughn continues to gather both popular and critical acclaim.