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Theatre / Il trovatore

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The Troubadour (Il trovatore, in the original Italian) is an opera by Giuseppe Verdi. It's got your standard opera plot: the tenor and baritone fight over the soprano while the magical gypsy mezzo-soprano plans revenge. Like many operas, it ends tragically.

Classic film buffs might recognize it from The Marx Brothers' A Night at the Opera as the Brothers throw it into total chaos. The Anvil Chorus, which opens the second act, is also extremely well-known, and has been parodied at least since The Pirates of Penzance (which came out less than thirty years after the opera itself).

Tropes include:

  • All Musicals Are Adaptations: The opera is based on the play El trovador by Spanish playwright Antonio Garcia Gutierrez.
  • Burn the Witch!: The fiery execution of Azucena's mother was how it all began.
  • Cain and Abel: Subverted; Manrico and the Count Di Luna hate each other's guts, but they don't even know they're brothers.
  • Counterpoint Duet: The closing part of the big duet between the Count and Leonora - he sings about how happy he is to finally lead her to the altar and she sings about how she's going to die happily for Manrico.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Subverted - The Count isn't a villain, but he certainly isn't nice in his relentless pursuit of Leonora. She's in love with a troubadour? He's a soldier of the enemy? Kill him on the spot! She wants to enter a convent since she believes her lover is dead? Invade the place and get her back by force! However, he isn't the one to suggest that Leonora marry him to save Manrico - he keeps sending her away. And he seems intent on following through with their bargain until she dies before marrying him.
  • Downer Ending: Out of four main characters, only one survives, screaming they wish they hadn't as their final line.
  • Driven to Suicide: Leonora. She takes a slow-enough acting poison so she still gets to sing for quite a while.
  • Faint in Shock: Leonora, when Manrico rushes off to risk his life trying to save his mother.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Di Luna's actions are motivated primarily out of jealousy that Leonora, his crush, is Manrico's girlfriend instead.
  • Idiot Ball: The main characters play hot potato with it all over the place, but Leonora is the biggest offender. She agrees to marry Luna to save Manrico, but takes the poison before securing his release and, naturally, dies before getting him free.
  • Irrelevant Act Opener: Act II: Anvil Chorus, Act III: chorus drinking and gambling before the siege begins.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Inverted; Azucena tells Manrico that she isn't his birth mother.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: The story of Azucena's mother and the kidnapping of the Count's brother is told twice from two very different perspectives, first in Ferrando's aria which opens the opera (where he portrays her mother as an evil witch and her execution as completely justified), and then Azucena's monologue to Manrico in Act 2.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Azucena avenges the killing of her mother by the Count di Luna's father by kidnapping the Count's baby brother and throwing him on the fire where her mother was being burned alive. Later, she ended up raising the Count's brother as her own son, just so that years later she can either get him to kill the Count in a swordfight or trick the Count into killing his own brother.
  • Romani: Azucena. Manrico is actually not one (by blood, at least).
  • Sibling Triangle: A classic example, although Manrico and Di Luna don't even know they're brothers. It ends horribly for them both.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: It was Luna's father who began the whole thing by burning Azucena's mother.
  • Scarpia Ultimatum: Inverted as it's Leonora who offers herself.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Di Luna is a classic example of this throughout the opera.
  • Tenor Boy: Manrico, although he's quite badass for a tenor. High Cs help...
    • Played straighter in Verdi's score, which doesn't include the high Cs, which were added in by performers to make the role more dramatic.
  • Villainous BSoD: Di Luna has a major one at the end, as he realizes he has executed his long lost brother and his only love has committed suicide to escape him.
  • Villain Love Song: Di Luna's aria is one of the most lyrical love songs in all opera.
  • World of Ham: It's a pathetic, overly passionate story about love and hate.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: According to the Count Di Luna, his younger brother disappeared fifteen years ago. This logically means that Manrico should be fifteen or sixteen. But the problem is that by this time, Azucena is supposed to be an old woman, and she had a baby boy at the time of the brother's disappearance. Taking this into account, it's highly unlikely that any woman would go from childbearing age to old age in only fifteen years.
  • You Killed My Father: Actually, Your Father Killed My Mother. See Revenge Before Reason for more details.