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Il Trovatore


ACT I
"THE DUEL"

SCENE 1
THE PALACE OF ALIAFERIA

In the vestibule of the palace at Aliaferia, home
of the heroine Leonora, the soldier Ferrando
recounts the history of the DiLuna family to the
servants and soldiers about him. When Count di
Luna's two sons were small children an elderly
witch cast a spell on one of them. For this crime,
she was burned at the stake. In revenge, her
daughter, the witch Azucena, stole the Count's
other son and cast him into a fire. For years
now, everyone has pursued this woman,
anxious to bring her to justice. Meanwhile, the
ghost of her mother continues to haunt the
region in the form of an owl. As everyone
becomes intent on the story, the midnight bell
tolls and all curse the witch. Outside, Count Di
Luna waits to court the lovely Leonora.

SCENE 2
GARDENS OF THE PALACE

In the castle garden, Leonora confides to her
friend, Inez, her love for a mysterious knight.
She has heard him serenading her from afar.
Once before they had met at a tournament,
when she crowned him victor of the games,
many years before. Miraculously he has
returned, although Leonora had thought him
lost. Inez warns this love bodes ill, but Leonora
swears her devotion to her admirer. The two
women return to the palace as Count Di Luna
enters, and a hidden troubadour begins his
off-stage serenade. Leonora rushes from the
palace directly into Di Luna's arms. And, when
the troubadour, her mysterious lover, Manrico,
appears the Count immediately challenges him
to a duel. The two men now exit, preparing for a
sword fight.

ACT II
"THE GYPSY"

SCENE 1
AN ENCAMPMENT OF THE GYPSIES

At their camp in the mountains of Biscay, a large
band of gypsies break into a rousing "Anvil
Chorus." Immediately after, the witch Azucena
takes center stage with her aria "Stride la
vampa," exclaiming about the horrifying
experience of seeing her mother wrongly
burned alive for the supposed crime of
bewitching Count di Luna's child. She explains
to her son Manrico (the mysterious troubadour)
how she had stolen a child of the Count's,
intending to cast him into the flames in revenge.
Mistakenly, however, she threw her own child to
the fire instead. At this moment, the audience
may be aware that Manrico is, in fact, the
brother of his rival, Count di Luna. Manrico,
however, remains puzzled and questions
Azucena about his true identity. She is his
mother, she assures him.
Manrico sings of his unusual duel with the
Count, amazed at his inability to kill Di Luna
when he had him beaten. Some strange force
inspired him to spare the Count's life. Suddenly,
a message arrives from the Prince at the castle
of Castellor, asking for Manrico's aid in
combating Di Luna's forces. Leonora, he is told,
thinks him dead and is about to join the holy
order of nuns at the convent in Castellor.
Despite Azucena's protests, Manrico rushes
away.

SCENE 2

The Count stands ready at the convent to
abduct Leonora before she takes her vows. In "Il
balen" he sings of his tormented heart. As the
chorus of nuns explains the ceremony
underway, di Luna attempts to kidnap Leonora.
Manrico appears with his contingent of soldiers.
Di Luna's plan is thwarted and the lovers
reunited. The scene ends in an emotional
ensemble.

ACT III
"THE GYPSY'S SON"

SCENE 1
THE CAMP OF COUNT DI LUNA

Outside Castellor, Di Luna's army sings
enthusiastically about the pleasures of
gambling. Inside the castle, Manrico plans his
military defense and his marriage to Leonora. A
gypsy woman is found prowling the shadows of
the camp and captured.. Taken to Di Luna, she
is identified by Ferrando as the witch who
kidnapped the old Count's son. Di Luna
commands her to be burned at the stake when
she cries out to Manrico for deliverance.

SCENE 2
THE CHAPEL IN THE STRONGHOLD
OF CASTELLOR

In Castellor, Manrico declares his undying
devotion to Leonora in the lyrical "A si ben mio."
But the messenger, Ruiz, runs in with the news
that his Azucena has been imprisoned by Di
Luna and hasn't long to live. With this
announcement, Manrico seizes his sword and
rallies his forces with the stirring aria, "Di quella
pira!"

ACT IV
"THE ORDEAL"

SCENE 1
THE DUNGEON TOWER OF
ALIAFERIA

Far from victorious in his assault on Di Luna's
camp, Manrico has been captured and ordered
to be beheaded. Outside the prison tower,
Leonora cries in despair, while monks intone
the "Miserere" for those soon to die. Manrico
sings his sad farewell to life. As the Count
enters, Leonora pleads for clemency for
Manrico and offers to give herself in exchange
for her lover's safety. When the Count agrees,
Leonora secretly swallows a dose of poison
hidden in her ring.

SCENE 2
THE INTERIOR OF THE TOWER

In prison, Manrico sings to his mother, Azucena,
of their peaceful mountain home. Together they
reminisce in the duet "Ai nostri monti." Leonora
arrives begging him to flee. Hearing of her
bargain with the Count, Manrico is infuriated,
then realizes she has preserved her honor with
poison. Azucena deliriously continues singing
sweet memories of home. The Count enters
and, witnessing the death of Leonora realizes
he has been deceived. He orders Manrico's
immediate execution and, further, that Azucena
be forced to watch her son's demise. At the
window, Azucena turns triumphant vengeance
on Count Di Luna with the cry: "Egli era tuo
fratello! - "He was your brother!"