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Manrico


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(Verdi: Il trovatore). Ten. The troubador of the title and an officer in the army of the Prince of Biscay. He regards the old gypsy Azucena as his mother. She is reputed to have thrown a baby boy, supposedly the younger son of the old Count di Luna, into her mother's blazing funeral pyre. The old Count is long since dead and his son has inherited his title and estate. Manrico is in love with the Duchess Leonora, lady-in-waiting to the Princess of Aragon, who is also loved by di Luna. Leonora loves the troubador who sings under her window. He and di Luna fight a duel, and although Manrico has the Count at his mercy, he feels unable to make the final thrust—something seems to stop him. Serving in opposing armies, he is later wounded by di Luna, and nursed back to health by Azucena. As Manrico is about to marry Leonora, news reaches him of Azucena's arrest by di Luna. His attempts to rescue her result in his being imprisoned with her. In return for Manrico's release, Leonora offers herself to di Luna, but to avoid the consequences of his acceptance, she takes poison and dies at Manrico's feet. As di Luna has Manrico executed, Azucena reveals that he was not her real son—that was the baby who was burned in the fire. Di Luna has just killed his own brother. Arias: Deserto sulla terra (‘Lonely upon the earth’); Di quella pira l'orrendo foco (‘The hideous fire of that pyre’); duet (with Leonore and chorus): Miserere—Quel suon, quelle preci solenni (‘The Miserere’—‘That sound, those solemn prayers’). There are also lovely duets for Manrico and Azucena and various ensembles in which he sings. Di quella pira has become a real showpiece in which tenors who are able to do so hold the famous high C (not in the score as written by Verdi!) until they are red in the face. The role has been sung by most of the great Italianate tenors, from Giovanni Martinelli and Enrico Caruso, through Jussi Björling, Franco Corelli, and Giuseppe de Stefano, to Luciano Pavarotti and Plácido Domingo. Created (1853) by Carlo Baucardé.

Subjects: Opera.


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