Opera San José continues its 29th season with Giuseppe Verdi's powerful drama, Il trovatore. Set in 15th-century Spain, Verdi's classic has it all: vengeance, war, jealousy, and passion, with an emotional, heart-stopping score. Il trovatore will be sung in Italian with English supertitles. Eight performances are scheduled from February 9 through 24 at the California Theatre, 345 South First Street in downtown San José. Tickets are on sale at the Opera San José Box Office, by phone at (408) 437-4450 or online at www.operasj.org. Il trovatore is made possible, in part, by a Cultural Affairs Grant from the City of San José. Il trovatore, with libretto by Salvadore Cammarano, is a mesmerizing story of romance, obsession, and retribution. Verdi mixes together personal vendetta, a doomed love triangle and one gypsy's lifelong obsession for revenge, creating a compelling and dramatic love story. Based on the play El Trovador (The Troubadour) by Spanish playwright Antonio Garcia Gutiérrez, this powerful opera score features breathtakingly beautiful arias and one of the most famous choral melodies ever written, the "Anvil Chorus."
The opera was first performed in Rome in 1853 where it began a successful march throughout the operatic world with eleven productions in six theaters, totaling 190 performances in its first three years. Today, Il trovatore is a staple of the standard operatic repertoire worldwide.
David Rohrbaugh, Opera San José's founding music director and principal conductor, will conduct
Il trovatore. Rohrbaugh has conducted more than 60 productions and 600 performances with Opera
San José, including company premieres of La rondine, Der fliegende Holländer, Falstaff, Un ballo in maschera, and Werther. He is a professor emeritus of voice and opera from San José State University, where he taught for 30 years and co-directed the Opera Workshop with Opera San José General Director Irene Dalis. The February 17 and 19 performances will be conducted by Andrew Whitfield, resident chorus master for Opera San José. Whitfield served as assistant conductor for The Pearl Fishers and Pagliacci. Whitfield was also Chorus Master for last season's productions of Idomeneo, Pagliacci, La traviata and Faust. He made his West Coast professional debut conducting Lucia di Lammermoor with Festival Opera.
International stage director Brad Dalton returns to Opera San José to direct Il trovatore. Dalton's previous credits with the company include Faust, Idomeneo, the West Coast premiere of David Carlson's Anna Karenina, Così fan tutte and Madama Butterfly. He has directed productions for opera companies throughout the United States and abroad, including San Francisco Opera, The Metropolitan Opera, Washington Opera, Opera Boston, San Diego Opera, Barbican in London, and the State Opera of South Australia. In 2004, Dalton received the prestigious Helpmann Award for "Best Director of an Opera" in Australia.
Il trovatore features members of Opera San José's resident ensemble in the principal roles. Alternating in the role of Leonora, the lady-in-waiting to the princess in love with the troubadour, are sopranos Cecilia Violetta López and Melody King. They previously shared the role of Léïla in the company's production of The Pearl Fishers and more recently as Eisenstein's wife, Rosalinde, in Die Fledermaus. King made her company debut as Yvette in Opera San José's 2010 production of La rondine. Other roles performed by King include Cio-Cio-San (Madama Butterfly), and Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), both for Livermore Opera. Recent engagements for López include the title role in Suor Angelica for Opera San Luis Obispo, Micaëla (Carmen) and Gasparina (La Canterina) for UNLV Opera Theatre, and Poppea (L'incoronazione di Poppea) for the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival.