IL TROVATORE | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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This production of Verdi's Il Trovatore, with its convoluted plot about two warring men who don't know they're brothers and who love the same woman, is filled with fantastic singing. Mezzo Dolora Zajick's portrayal of the vengeful gypsy Azucena is spellbinding from her first notes to her last glorious outburst--she moves her heavy voice with great agility and has a tremendous chest voice and a dazzling upper register. She's also a thoroughly convincing actress. Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, in the role of Leonora, has a gorgeous voice with a full, voluptuous sound; her virtuosic bel canto arias are superb, and her ability to shift a single note from fortissimo to piano is spectacular. She also does death really well, writhing around onstage while singing fabulously. Also outstanding are baritone Mark Delavan as Count di Luna and bass Andrea Silvestrelli as Ferrando. Tenor Vincenzo La Scola takes over for Walter Fraccaro in the final performances, making a slightly less tender, vocally less gripping romantic lead, but he has plenty of bite and does hit the high Cs. The Lyric Opera Chorus is magnificent, as is the orchestra under Bruno Bartoletti. See also Tuesday; the final performance will be Friday, December 8. a 7:30 PM, Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker, 312-332-2244, $42-$179.

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