The great Caruso famously stated: “all it takes for a successful performance of Il trovatore is the four greatest singers in the world”, and it must be acknowledged that it is a brave company indeed who takes on this much-loved melodramatic, but ultimately gloomy masterpiece of Verdi’s. Scottish Opera may not have found the magical four in this production but they certainly have two truly outstanding singers in Gwyn Hughes Jones’ troubadour of the title and Anne Mason’s Gypsy Azucena.
With an almost incomprehensible plot, at best it could be described as unconventional, it certainly stretches the boundaries of belief, this difficult to stage work relies on Verdi’s masterful music to make sense of proceedings.
Martin Lloyd-Evans’ revamping of the Company’s 1992 simplistic but soaring set design does little to aide an often too-static production other than setting the atmosphere firmly in the Middle Ages, but it must be said that it doesn’t hinder the narrative, rather lending it a welcome cohesion.
What elevates this production is a hugely talented cast. Claire Rutter is an assured Leonora, coping with ease with this notoriously difficult to sing role, Roland Wood’s Count di Luna is both commanding in presence as well as voice, but it is Anna Mason’s emotive Azucena and Gwyn Hughes Jones gloriously voiced Manrico who truly capture the eye and ear.
The chorus under the direction of Susannah Wapshott is particularly fine sounding, however the much-anticipated Anvil Chorus is a tad underwhelming, more tinkling triangle than arresting anvil.
Under the brisk baton of Tobias Ringborg the Orchestra of Scottish Opera sound full blooded throughout.
This is a traditional, assured, no-frills production with a fine cast and a blistering orchestra: highly recommended.
Runs until 17 May 2015 then touring.
This article was original written for and published by The Public Reviews at: http://www.thepublicreviews.com/il-trovatore-theatre-royal-glasgow/