Monday, May 2, 2011

And Thereto I Give Thee My Troth

Text messages on the morning of the royal wedding:
CORDELIA: What is a troth?

ME: It's a kind of trowl.

******

So. In Verdi's opera Il Trovatore, the handsome, maniacal stalker Count di Luna is determined to have the lovely, brainless Leonora, but much to his fury (which is a passion raging fiery in his breast, or some such -- he goes on and on about it), she has fallen in love instead with a gasbag named Manrico who frequently flies off the handle at the slightest provocation. Unluckily for all three of these bombastic individuals, Manrico's stepmother Azucena is harboring a secret: the Count and Manrico, sworn rivals, are actually brothers. To avenge her mother, who was murdered by the Count's and Manrico's father a very long time ago, Azucena leads the Count, Leonora, and Manrico to tragic ends.

Welcome to the world of a certain brand of tragic, romantic, unintentionally-comic opera, everyone. The music is gorgeous and everyone is completely insane and it is frankly kind of awesome and hilarious. There is a scene in this opera wherein Leonora has taken poison in order to save Manrico's life -- specifically, she has promised herself to Count di Luna in return for the Count sparing Manrico's life, but then taken a fatal poison to thwart the Count's desire -- and Manrico, not knowing she's taken the poison, is yelling at her (interminably) for betraying his love. In the meantime, Leonora is flopping on the floor in front of him (on account of the poison), but he's so wound up in his rage that he doesn't notice she seems a little under the weather. Finally, she sings, "I am dying!" He gasps in grief and horror and is like, "NO WAY!" I mean, seriously? Good grief.

Anyway. Did you know that lots of movie theaters all over the world play simultaneous (IOW, live) broadcasts of performances of the Metropolitan Opera? My parents took me to one this weekend and it was fun; I am not generally a fan of opera music -- quite the opposite -- but it's different when you can see it performed. The sets are AMAZING and I particularly fell for Dmitri Hvorostovsky as the evil Count di Luna and Dolora Zajick as Azucena, the woman avenging her mother. If you have a passing familiarity with classical music, there's a good chance you'd recognize the Anvil Chorus from Il Trovatore. (FYI, the production in that video link is not the Met production). Check and see whether there's a theater near you for watching one of these spectacles. It made me want to go to an opera at the Met for real.