Sondra Radvanovsky as Leonora in Il Trovatore
in Bilbao (February 2002)
Voices carry Il Trovatore in a crowd pleaser
By CHARLES WARD
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle [Jan. 24, 2005, 11:13AM]
The opening-night audience for Houston Grand Opera's revival of Il Trovatore had one thing on its mind: grabbing every chance to cheer the familiar tunes that propel Verdi's dramatically awkward piece.
As soon as soprano Sondra Radvanovsky finished Leonora's first big aria, the bravos let loose -- far more intensely than usual in the middle of a performance.
The ache to approve a style of music many people view as true "grand" opera continued right up to the curtain calls. Then, the crowd unleashed cascades of applause and yells.
That reaction should have made HGO general director David Gockley happy. His past productions of Il Trovatore have been plagued with troubles. While he did need to replace the mezzo-soprano for Azucena at the start of rehearsals, Friday's production at the Wortham Theater Center went on without hitch (save for a couple of off-stage clanks and sliding scenery that needed a shot of WD-40).
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