From the Salzburg Festival: "Il Trovatore" by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901). Conductor: Daniele Gatti - Stage director: Alvis Hermanis. With Anna Netrebko (Leonora), Plácido Domingo (Il Conte di Luna), Francesco Meli (Manrico), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Azucena), Riccardo Zanellato (Ferrando). Two men, unaware that they are brothers, become embroiled in the bitterest of struggles not only on the battlefield but also for the love of the same woman, the Countess Leonora. The Count di Luna regards his noble ancestry as sufficient reason for claiming the hand of the Countess, while the other, the troubadour Manrico, has been raised by the gypsy Azucena as her own son - as the result of a series of adverse circumstances. He alone is truly in love with Leonora. Fate pursues its course... Verdi described the subject as "glorious, fantastic and full of powerful situations". The opera proved a triumph at its first performance 1853 in Rome. The second of Verdi's "trilogia popolare" (that comprises Rigoletto, Il Trovatore and La Traviata), it continues to occupy a prominent place in the composer's overall output. The opera may be seen as a historical drama set at the time of the Aragonese wars in the early 15th century, whereas it deals in fact with a crisis of religious, social and political authority typical of the 19th century.