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Verdi: Il Trovatore (Live Recording From The Vienna State Opera 1978) [DVD] 
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'Il Trovatore' was always one of Herbert von Karajan's favourite operas. This 1978 performance is steeped in scandal. Franco Bonisolli was originally cast in the lead role but abandoned the cast during a rehearsal where the public had been admitted entry, throwing his sword at the conductor and leaving the stage in fury, to be later replaced by Placido Domingo.
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At the beginning of Act One Jose Van Dam sets the tone of what's to come with a rousing performance in the role of Fernando, Captain of the Guard telling the story of the kidnap of the Count of Luna's infant brother. Raina Kabalvanska is a convincing Lenora caught between her two lovers: Il Conte di Luna (Piero Cappuccilli) and the troubadour Manrico (Placido Domingo), both of whom give outstanding performances. In fact, the performances of all those involved are of the highest quality and Florenza Cossotto is outstanding in the role of the gipsy Azucena. The scene outside the convent, where Leonora is about to take the veil because she thinks Manrico is dead, is particularly well staged, not least in that it avoids the temptation to 'over-nun' the episode with a gratuitous procession outside the convent gates. As throughout the whole performance, the choir is superb.Read more ›
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I recommend it.