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“Mi vendica!” (“Avenge my death!”) This cry, screamed through the flames by Azucena’s mother as she burns to death, binds Azucena to a promise which ultimately leads to the tragic death of Manrico.
At the centre of the opera is the gypsy Azucena, torn between her love for adopted son Manrico and her promise to avenge her mother’s death. And, caught in an inextricable web of family ties, military duty and an illicit love, Manrico is, in spite of himself, in the middle of two separate vengeances: one with the Conte di Luna, his rival in love and war (and unbeknownst to him, his brother), and that of Azucena, the woman he has called mother his entire life.
For our hero Manrico, this is a fatal combination. Used as both an instrument of revenge and object of redemption, Azucena sets his fate in accordance with her own obsession.
Ramón Vargas as Manrico and Elza van den Heever as Leonora in in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Il Trovatore, 2012. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2012