Verdi's "Il trovatore"

Verdi's "Il trovatore"

The Quintessential Italian Melodrama

Martin Chusid


University of Rochester Press



The first comprehensive study of Verdi's perennially popular opera Il trovatore, written by one of the world's great Verdi authorities.
No full-length study has ever been written on Il trovatore, in his day Verdi's most successful stage work. This book by one of the world's great Verdi authorities fills that gap, providing a comprehensive look at the opera, from its genesis and structure to its early performance history and critical reception.

Starting with the background of the opera, the volume traces the origins of the original play by Antonio García Gutiérrez, El trovador, and offers a new, more credible source for the drama. In addition, it examines the evolution of the libretto, the music, and the arrangement of the narrative, revealing innovative musical and dramatic features not seen by other critics. The book also includes a discussion of contemporary reviews and a section on some of the important performers in the twentieth century (for example, Toscanini and Caruso), as well as a consideration of several of the more unusual stagings of the work mounted during the final decades of the century.

With these and other explorations, Martin Chusid offers a thorough survey of Verdi's Il trovatore and in the process deepens and enhances our encounter with one of the mainstays of the operatic reparatory.

Martin Chusid is Professor Emeritus of Music, New York University, and founding director of the American Institute for Verdi Studies.


November 2012
14 line illustrations
174 pages
9x6 in
Eastman Studies in Music
ISBN: 9781580464222
Format: Hardback
University of Rochester Press
BISAC MUS020000, MUS028000, MUS050000
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Table of Contents

The Spanish Background and the Play El trovador
Cammarano's Role in Shaping the Libretto andVerdi's Emendations
New Wine in Old Bottles: The Drama and the Music
The Scene of the "Miserere"
The Reception and Diffusion of Il trovatore


Chusid has offered us an effective analytical and conceptual introduction to one of Verdi's perennial masterpieces, and his love for Verdi's middle-period operas shines through on every page. Significant and original contributions to the canon of Verdi scholarship. JOURNAL OF MUSICOLOGICAL RESEARCH

His wide-ranging account makes for engaging and entertaining reading. Many passages from Verdi's and Cammarano's letters are translated into English here for the first time. [Chusid's book is] an essential introductory study of the opera. Cogent observations on matters of tonal structure. Valuable background about the Spanish theatrical context of the play and its operatic origins in "Scribe's libretto for Halévy's opera La juive. General readers including opera-goers and record collectors, will find it a wonderful source of valuable background information about the opera, and scholars will be able to build on it as a starting point for further research and investigation. VERDI FORUM [David Lawton]

Who could have imagined that Verdi's most popular opera, Il trovatore, would have to wait until now for a monograph in English? But Martin Chusid, with his vast experience in the world of Verdi studies and whose archive at NYU has supplied original material for his analysis, is the right person to have written it. After reading Chusid's remarks about the reception and history of Il trovatore and understanding Verdi's complex treatment of structure and tonality, no one can think any more of the opera as a "concert in costume," one that simply requires the four greatest singers in the world. --Philip Gossett, general editor, The Works of Giuseppe Verdi

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