Verdi: Il Trovatore (Joan Sutherland) (Arthaus Dvd: 100276)
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Joan Sutherland was at the height of her career when she took on the role of Leonora - arguably the most dramatic of all Verdi heroines - in 1983. Elijah Moshinsky's production, in which he was ably supported by the Australian artist Sidney Nolans (set design), Luciana Arrighi (costumes) and Nick Chelton (lighting), was tailor-made for Sutherland, allowing Leonora to develop into a truly tragic heroine occupying the opera's central ground. This performance at the Australian Opera, Sydney - and featuring a high quality cast under the baton of Richard Bonynge - was recorded by Australian Television on 2nd July 1983.
Verdi's powerful and passionate opera tells a tale of civil war and treachery. A nation and a family are torn apart as two men - adversaries in love and war - are driven to betrayal and murder by desire for the same woman. And a gypsy, bent on revenge holds the secret of the ties that binds these mortal enemies.
Dame Joan Sutherland's brilliant portrayal of Leonora, is set off magnificently by the performance of Kenneth Collins as the troubador Manrico and Jonathan Summers as the Count di Luna - the two men who love her. The striking simplicity of Elijah Moshinsky's production is enhanced by riotously colourful backdrops; the work of the eminent Australian artist, the late Sidney Nolan. Richard Bonynge conducts a performance which richly confirms the opera's reputation as one of Verdi's most fiery works.