I made it to the rerun of Il Trovatore in HD last night, and it turned out to be a rerun of Il Trovatore in San Francisco in 2009. The sets and costumes and even some of the cast were the same, except this was the first cast instead of the stand-ins.
And what a cast it was:
Manrico: Marcelo Alvarez
Leonora: Sondra Radvanovsky
Azucena: Dolora Zajick
Count di Luna: Dmitri Hvorostovsky
Conductor: Marco Armiliato Production: David McVicar
I agree with Renée Fleming, the hostess--to assemble such a cast is an event. There was quite a bit of excellent information in the interviews. All the performers liked the rotating set by Charles Edwards because it allowed the action to flow without stopping for set changes. All the interviewees agreed that their character is crazy.
The plot was explained by Dolora Zajick. Azucena tries to get Manrico to kill di Luna to avenge her mother's death, and when he won't, she arranges for di Luna to kill Manrico. This makes her happy. I see it now. Opera plots are so sick.
Each singer was more wonderful than the last. Sondra Radvanovsky just gets better and better. Zajick owns her role. Marcelo is the most insane troubadour I've ever seen.
But my award has to go to the incredible singing of Dmitri Hvorostovsky. It doesn't get better than this.