Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) had drawn the attention of his main librettist, Francesco M Piave, to the Spanish drama "El Trovador", by A G Gutierrez, in around 1850. However, it was to be another librettist, Salvatore Cammarano, who was to create the libretto, for "Il Trovatore" ("The Troubador"), which premiered in 1853, in Rome.
The synopsis, is set in 15th century Spain, and chiefly revolves around the love-rivalry, between Count di Luna, and "The Troubador", for the affections of Leonare, the lady-in-waiting to the Princess. There are other sub-plots, such as the recounting, by Ferrando, captain of the guards, of the time - many years previous to the plot - that an elderly gypsy woman was caught leaning over the cot, of one of the Count's sons. The boy subsequently slipped into ill-health ; the elderly gypsy woman was blamed for supposedly placing a curse on the child ; and the woman was burned at the stake ; her protests of innocence ignored ...
This classic 1980 staging, starred tenor Franco Boniselli as Manrico The Troubador, who started working in opera at a very early age, after winning a national singing competition in the early Sixties ; Bulgarian-born soprano Raina Kabaivanska co-starred, as Leonore. She had been a professional soprano, since the late Fifties ; The baritone Giorgio Zancanaro played Count di Luna ; and the redoubtable Romanian-born mezzo-soprano Viorica Cortez, as ever, shone in the supporting role of Azucena, the daughter of the gypsy woman burned at the stake.
The Berlin Orchestra, conducted by Bruno Bartoletti.
Disc One :-
1)-3) Act One
4)-8) Act Two
Disc Two :-
1)-3) Act Three
4)-6) Act Four
Both discs are in EX condition.