Verdi's 'Il Trovatore': Profound or Presposterous?

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THE HIT SINGLE: "Abietta zingara"

Early in Part One, the soldier Ferrando (bass-baritone Nicolas Testé) tells the tragic story that gets the whole opera rolling, about the "abject gypsy crone" who was burned at the stake years ago after the Count's infant brother became sick -- and about the Gypsy's daughter, who took her vengeance by burning the child on the same pyre where her mother died.

THE B SIDE: "Stride la vampa!"

In Part Three, just after the famous "Anvil Chorus," Azucena (contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux) relates her own version of her tragic past, singing of the "crackling blaze," and how her mother was driven to the pyre by an angry mob, and burned alive.