Metropolitan Opera 2017-18 Preview: 3 Reasons to See Revival of Verdi’s ‘Il Trovatore’

By David Salazar

On Jan. 22, 2018, the Metropolitan Opera will revive David McVicar’s production of Verdi’s “Il Trovatore.” The production runs until Feb. 15, a total of eight performances.

This year’s production is set to offer up quite some delights for newcomers to Verdi’s mid-period masterpiece. Here’s a look at some reasons you must see this revival.

Rising Stars Take the Lead

Just a few days ago, Jennifer Rowley took over the role of Leonora from an ailing Maria Agresta. Rowley is no longer a best-kept secret among American opera stars, the soprano making quite the impact a year ago in “Cyrano de Bergerac” at the Met. She also got a performance of “Tosca” last week and this role will cement her as one of the future stars of the Met.

But she isn’t the only one to keep an eye out for. Anita Rachvelishvili is a Met veteran, arguably the finest “Carmen” interpreter of the last decade with the company, but she is only just coming into her own as Azucena. She scored raves during her previous outings and there is no reason to believe that she won’t cement herself as THE Azucena of the near future.

Finally, two baritones who are establishing their legacies as the greatest Verdi baritones of their generation will share the role of the Conte di Luna. First up is Quinn Kelsey with the first four performances, followed by Luca Salsi, who gets the final four shows.

Seasoned Veterans

There will be a number of veterans of the role incoming. For years Dolora Zajick has been the go-to Azucena at the Met. She gets one performance, on Feb. 6.

Yonghoon Lee isn’t exactly a grizzled vet, but he is no newbie to this production, having performed it five times during the 2015-16 season alongside Anna Netrebko and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, including an HD performance.

Stefan Kocan has also performed the opera at the Met in this current production 10 times between 2011 and 2015. He shares the role of Ferrando with veteran artist Kwangchul Youn, who has performed the opera 14 times, including the premiere of this production.

The Production

For years, the Met had no idea what to do with this Verdi work as productions fell flat with audiences. But in the hands of David McVicar, the production has found new life at the theater. It vibrates with ideas about brotherhood and betrayal and its rotating set keeps this propulsive opera from losing its pace.