BY THOMAS LENIHAN
Giuseppe Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” concluded Regina Opera’s season.
The convoluted story Is based on the rather morbid “El Trovator” by Spaniard Antonio Garcia Guitierrez. The Count Di Luna is in pursuit of Leonora who does not reciprocate; she loves his rival, Manrico, who serenades Leonora.
The count hates the gypsy Azucena who put a curse on his family after his father had Azucena’s mother burned at the stake. Azucena had then abducted the count‘s brother (in fact, Manrico!) and by mistake had thrown her own baby into the fire and raised Manrico as her own son.
This transitional opera has the format of the older bel canto style which has a slow cavatina or aria followed by a cabaletta, a fast piece which is decorated with trills etc. The cast has very strong voices and yet was easily able to perform the very decorated sections of the work.
The role of the troubadour was ably portrayed by tenor Gerardo Gaytan who rose to heights in “di Quella Pira” in which he promises to save his gypsy mother, Azucena, from the flames of the stake; a clarion “to arms” ended the piece.
Dilara Unsal, his beloved Leonora, has a large voice that miraculously was able to navigate successfully the many intricate trills and decorations of the role.
Galina Ivannikova played Azucena. She has a stupendous voice that similarly was flexible at the same time; she went from thrilling top notes to deep chest tones with ease. Ivannikova excelled in the famous “Stride la Vampa” in which she recalls her mother burning at the stake.
Geeseop Kim has a beautiful voice and served as Captain of the Guard. Both Ivannikova and Kim need work in diction.
Robert Garner played Count Di Luna; his rendition of “Il Balen del Duo Sorriso” (the flashing of her smile) did in fact, “shine more than a star.” His polished technique was the high-point of the performance. Garner’s vocal technique was superb and totally in keeping with the style of the era.
Also in the cast was Monica Camafreita as Ines. Fabrizio Doria served as Manrico’s lieutenant. Charles Gray played an old gypsy while the role of the messenger was spiritedly managed by Wayne Olsen.
The orchestra sounded magnificent under the able leadership of maestro Gregory Ortega. The chorus also gave a spectacular performance, especially during the famous “Anvil Chorus.” Stage Director Linda Lehr did the best she could given the complicated plot. The dramatic flow would have been much better with two intermissions instead of three. The opera was enhanced by the various fight scenes designed by choreographer Robert Aronowitz; the scenes accompanied stirring choral and orchestral sections.
Brooklyn is so lucky to have Regina Opera. Bravi!